Lögberg-Heimskringla - 04.07.1963, Blaðsíða 2

Lögberg-Heimskringla - 04.07.1963, Blaðsíða 2
2 LÖGBERG-HEIMSKRINGLA, FIMMTUDAGINN 4. JÚLÍ 1963 íslendingadagsræða RæSa íluit af prófessor Lofii Bjarason þann 17. júní við samkomu Vesiur-íslendinga í Fairfax, California. Heiðraðir gestir, góðir vin- ir og landar. Þegar mér var boðið að halda ræðu hér í dag, var mér alls ekki aug- ljóst hvort ég ætti að tala á íslenzku eða á ensku. Fyrr á dögum voru slíkar ræður altaf fluttar á íslenzku. En af því að enskan er mér nú orðin miklu tamara, og af því að það leikur nokkur vafi um hvort unga fólkið hér skilur málið forfeðranna, skal ég tala á ensku. En fyrst er það mér skylda svo sem hin mesta ánægja að færa ykkur innilegar árnaðaróskir og kveðjur og óska ykkur til heilla á þessum söguríka degi, hinum 19. afmæli endurvakn- ingar lýðveldisins á Islandi og 152. afmæli fæðingardagsins Jóns Sigurðssonar, „óska- barns íslands, sóma þess, sverðs og skjaldar". Það er einmitt til að heiðra hann og hans störf að við erum hér saman komnir. far west as the Mississippi valley and maybe even farther. It is not our purpose today, however, to discuss in any detail the Icelandic explor- ation of this country during the Middle Ages. I propose to treat briefly another chap- ter of Icelandic immigration to the new world—one which, * * * When I was a boy in school, it was common knowledge that Columbus discovered America in 1492. It has now become common knowledge that Leif the Lucky discover- ed America almost 450 years before Columbus was born. If this were a gathering of the Irish instead of Icelanders I might possibly add that it now appears possible that Irish hermits had visited the shores of North America even before Leif the Lucky found it in 998. As everyone knows, the Icelanders have consider- able Irish blood in their veins and may therefore take pride in the exploits of their neigh- bors to the south. Perhaps it is not out of place to mention their explorations after all. In any event, we know that the Icelanders, sailing the stormy Atlantic in their open vessels, reached the eastern shores of this, our great continent, by about the year 1000, that they established at least one col- ony, possibly in the vicinity of present-day Boston, and that for generations the Ice- landic colony in Greenland made frequent trips to North America in order to obtain timber for building their houses and ships. If one is inclined to place credence in some of the alleged Scandinavian remains that have been dug up or come to light in the past few fears—things such as the Kensington stone, the New- port tower, the various swords and axes that have been found and the inscrip- tions discovered, he would assert that the Icelanders, or at least the Scandinavians, sent many expeditions to this country and explored it as Prófessor Loftur Bjarnason in its own way, is every bit as interesting as the events related in Eiríks saga rauða or in Vínlands saga hins góða. I propose to relate the story of how small groups of Ice- landers left Iceland after having heard of Joseph Smith and the new church which he had established, how they came to the new world, speaking a foreign language, how with no friends to aid them or to act as interpreters they made their way across the plains—many of them on foot and some pulling hand- carts behind them—, and how they established themselves in their new home, how they prospered there, and how they eventually contributed to the intellectual and cultural life of their adopted country. I propose briefly to discuss the history of the Icelandic set- tlement of Utah. I shall not do it literarily; that has been done before. I shall do it, however, sincerely and hon- estly, for it is a subject very near to my heart. My grand- father and grandmother played key roles in this great drama, and I remember seeing as a boy and becoming acquainted with many of the pioneers who bad helped to found the Icelandic com- munity of Utah. Before the curtain goes up on our drama, however, per- haps it might be well to re- view as a sort of prologue the reason for the Icelandic settlement in Utah. Everyone knows, of course, that the Mormon Church—the popular name for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints— was organized by Joseph Smith (1805-44) in the year 1830. In the years that follow- ed, a great many people were attracted to the new faith, and, under the leadership first of Joseph Smith himself and upon his death in 1844; that of Brigham Young, the new church prospered. Mis- sionaries were sent by the Church to various parts of the United States, to nearby Canada, and to more distant countries to preach the gospel. The Germans, the English, the Scandinavians, and particularly the Danes were quite receptive to this new faith. Many of them joined the Church, great numbers of them making their way to Utah soon after the middle of the century. It is precisely in Denmark that the curtain rises on our drama. Among the Icelanders liv- ing in Copenhagen in 1850 and ’51 were two young men who had left Iceland and had gone to Denmark as apprent- ices to study their trade. These two men, Thorarin Hafliðason and Guðmundur Guðmundsson, became acquainted with members of the Mormon Church who were in Denmark preaching the gospel. Neither Þórarinn nor Guðmundur was uni- versity educated, nor was either of them wealthy. Both, however, were highly in- telligent, and the fact that they had the means to go abroad to study a trade in- dicates that they were by-no méans destitute. I make this point quite clear because it has been asserted by some that the early recruits to Mormonism were drawn from among the lower stratum of Icelandic society. Such a legend has little basis of fact. After some hesitation and a great deal of soul searching and careful investigation of the new faith they became converts—apparently in 1851. Our records are somewhat in- complete at this point, but it would appear that both of them returned to Iceland probably in 1852 or possibly as early as 1851. At least it is in Iceland and more pre- cisely in the Westman Islands that we find them when the next act of our drama begins, preaching the new religion to their friends and kinsmen. Here we shall leave them for a few moments while we flash back to the United States to see what has happened to the Mormons there. The problems facing Brig- ham Young when he assumed the leadership of the Church in 1844 were many and serious. There were dissen- tions within the Church on many points. The most weighty problem was what to do with the great numbers of converts who were coming to settle near the head- quarters of the Church. For several reasons the Mormons were not particularly popular with their non - Mormon neighbors. First of all, Mor- monism, then as now, was as much a new social order as it was a new theological belief. The Mormons have al- ways been taught that they must share with each other. This was true in the early days of the Church as indeed it is now. In the great de- pression of the thirties, for example, no Mormon—so it is asserted—ever went on relief. Those who had, shared with those in need. This is, of course, fine for those within the Church, but it presented serious problems for out- siders to compete. Moreover, particularly in Missouri, the Mormons were abolitionists living among slave-owners. There was constant friction, resulting finally in the murder of Joseph Smith in 1844. Brigham Young wisely decided to lead the Mormons into unsettled land west of the Mississippi and to found a new colony where the Mormons could be to them- selves. In April, 1847 he led the vanguard of what was to become a great migration from Nauvoo, Illinois, across the great plains and over the Rocky Mountains to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. On July 24th, a day that has since become a state holiday, the advance party of this intrepid band entered the valley. They were soon fol- lowed by others, man after man, wagon after wagon, company after company, the Latter Days Saints trekked across the plains, clawed their way over the rugged Wasatch Mountains, and plodded wearily into the valley. I wish I had time to tell you of the trials and tribula- tions that confronted these brave pioneers and of the dangers and the difficulties that they faced and over- came. I should like to tell you, for ex'ample, how sheer and dangerous the cliffs are in the eastern part of the Rocky mountains, how dif- ficult it was to get the wagons over those mountains, and how swift and treacherous the mountain streams are. I should also like to tell you of the groans of discouragement that were uttered when, after reaching Salt Lake valley, the men set their plows to the ground to break earth pre- paratory to seeding only to see the plows broken by the sun-baked adobe-like clay. Everyone knows the story of how in desparation they dug canals and flooded the earth with water in order to soften it sufficiently for plowing, thereby initiating the use of irrigation, the first time that Framhald á bls. 3 Kennara yantar Manitoba mun þarfnast margra nýrra kennara á hverju ári eins lengi og börnum á skólaaldri fjölgar eins og nú og að öðrum aðstæðum óbreyttum. Kennarastaðan hefir að bjóða: • Kostnaðarlágt nám • Námsstyrkir og lán veitt þeim, er þess þurfa • Alls konar kennarastöður hingað og þangað um fylkið • Hæstu grundvallarlaun, sem nokkurn tíma hafa verið boðin fullnuma kennurum • Ágæt tækifæri til að komast hærra í starfinu • Tækifæri til að láta gott af sér leiða. Námsfólki í XII. bekk og öðrum, sem hafa í hyggju barna- skólakennslu, er boðið að senda umsóknir um inngöngu fyrir 1963-64 tímabilið í Teachers College, sem hefst 9. september 1963. Umsóknareyðublöð og aðrar upplýsingar fást hjá School Inspectors, High School Principals, The Director of Teacher Training, Department of Education, 52 Legislative Building, Winnipeg 1, eða Principal, Teachers College, Tuxedo, Manitoba. Þeir, sem hafa lokið háskólaprófi og hafa áhuga fyrir kennslu í miðskólum, sendi umsóknir sínar til The Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba, Fort Garry, Manitoba, eða The Director, Faculty of Education, Brandon College, Brandon, Manitoba. Um frekari upplýsingar, gerið svo vel og skrifið Mr. H. P. Moffat, Director of Teacher Training, Room 52, Legislative Building, Telephone Number, WHitehall 6-7370. MANITOBA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AUTHORIZED BY HON. STEWART E. MclEAN, Minitter of Education, Provinco of Manitoba.



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