My second day back, after a full day celebrating Menningarnótt and nine hours of deep sleep, I joined Ásta Sól and the Snorri Plus group for the annual convention of Þjóðræknisfélag Íslendinga, AKA The Icelandic National League of Iceland. I attended part of the program last year with Ásta, and I must say, I experienced such a soaring joy and warm and fuzzy feeling of reward when I realized how much more I understood this year than last. I didn’t catch each and every word, but I was able to follow along well with each presentation.
A quick summary of the program:
US Ambassador Rob Barber showed up to address the attendees and make some remarks about the importance of strong relations between Iceland and North America.
Unfortunately, Canadian Ambassador Stewart Wheeler was abroad, but a member of his staff came on his behalf.
Almar Grímsson gave a presentation on North Dakota poet K.N. Júlíus (AKA Káinn). Káinn was a gifted satirical poet, born in Akureyri, who lived most of his adult life in the Thingvalla area of North Dakota, where he worked as a laborer and grave digger. It has become a custom for visitors to his gravesite to toast his life and achievements with a shot of Brennivín poured over his headstone. You can read more about Káinn on my friend Sunna’s website Icelandic Roots.
The 2015 Snorri West participants shared about their four-week West Coast adventure. They visited the Icelandic settlement areas in Vancouver, Victoria, and Nanaimo, British Columbia.; and Blaine, Point Roberts, and Seattle, Washington. I’ve gotten to talk to a few Snorri West participants over the last couple years, and it’s always interesting to hear how it’s just as rewarding for them to visit Icelandic settlement areas in North America as it is for those of us of Icelandic descent to visit our homeland.
A researcher named Katelin Parsons discussed her work with the Árni Magnússon Institute cataloguing Icelandic heritage manuscripts from North America. This presentation really resonated with me, as the sort of work Katelin and her team are doing is something I could envision doing myself some day.
The Snorri Plus participants introduced themselves briefly. I have to say, they were troopers for sitting through the three-hour-long program. The speakers did make an effort to summarize things in English, but by and large the program was in Icelandic. Still, the Snorris seemed to take something away from the experience.
Genealogist, speaker, lover of all things Iceland, all-around wonder woman, and dear friend Sunna Pam Furstenau gave a presentation about the work she and her team at Icelandic Roots are doing – researching genealogy, helping people discover their family histories, providing scholarships to Snorris and others studying in Iceland, and so much more. Sunna’s love of her work is abundantly evident whenever she talks about it, so listening to her is always a joy.
For whatever reason, I took a photo of Rob Barber toward the beginning of the conference and then never took out my camera again, so words will have to suffice.
Takk fyrir daginn, vinir og félagar!