The migration, settlement and ethnic relations of Finland-Swedes in Canada
Roinila, Mika Petri-Olavi
The purpose of this dissertation is to address the lack of research dealing with minor ethnolinguistic immigrant groups in Canada. More specifically, this dissertation examines the Finland-Swedish population in Canada. This ethnolinguistic group is approached in two ways. The first half of the dissertation focuses on a historical-interpretative (hermeneutics) analysis of the Finland-Swedish population in Canada. Data were collected from numerous archives, church membership records, historic documentations and interviews in Canada and abroad. Much of the Finland-Swedish immigration pre-dates, albeit slightly, the Finnish-speaking immigration in many regions across the country. The social, cultural and economic impact of the Finland-Swedes in the Canadian multicultural society is recognized. A desire to keep up a distinct Finland-Swedish culture and heritage exists through a small number of fraternal and religious organizations in the regions with the highest Finland-Swedish population. The second half of thedissertation undertakes an analysis of a detailed survey of Finland-Swedish respondents in Canada, which provides data for a quantitative (empirical-analytic) approach and focuses on the shifting identities and attitudes. Generational and regional differences for both variables are shown to vary. This gives rise to a three stage model of shifting identities, which follows three distinct time periods of immigration to Canada. These three periods are characterized by Swedish, Finland-Swedish and Finnish self-identities amongst the respondents. Comparisons between attitudes held by Finland-Swedes towards outgroup members--including the Finns--are also possible from this dissertation and a previous study conducted in Finland by McRae, Bennett and Miljan (1988). The dissertation is based on an interdisciplinary approach using theories and methodologies of cultural, historical, and behavioural geography combined with theories from sociology, social psychology, and cross-cultural psychology. This dissertation provides a stepping stone to additional research which can focus on inter-ethnic relations between the Finland-Swedes and Finns, along with other groups. By so doing, it is hoped that the dissertation makes a significant contribution to the knowledge of Canada's multicultural society and the part Finland-Swedes have played in the settlement and assimilation process.