Lögberg-Heimskringla - 03.06.2005, Blaðsíða 12

Lögberg-Heimskringla - 03.06.2005, Blaðsíða 12
-ögberg-Heimskringla • Friday 3 June 2005 Getting the community in involved Jón Sigurdsson Chapter I.O.D.E., Frón Club seek more participation for June 17 David Jón Fuller Winnipeg, MB How do you follow up a 60th anniversary? This is the question the Jón Sigurdsson Chapter of the I.O.D.E. and the Icelandic Canadian Frón hope to answer this June 17. Last year, Iceland celebrat- ed 60 years of independence on June 17, its national holiday. The day was also celebrated in Icelandic communities across North America, and Winnipeg was no exception. The tradi- tional wreath-laying ceremony at the statue of Jón Sigurðsson on the grounds of Manitoba's Legislative Building was fol- lowed by the world premiere of a play by Böðvar Guðmunds- son, which earned a standing ovation. The celebration of June 17 has a long history in Winnipeg, though regular celebrations of the day only began in 1983, according to Erla Wankling, President of the Jón Sigurdsson Chapter. (An earlier tradition of celebrating Iceland had been in place following the unveiling of the statue in 1921, but it did not continue past 1928.) The Jón Sigurdsson Chapter was responsible for the wreath- laying ceremony starting in 1983, and for the 40th anniver- sary of Iceland's independence in 1984, Frón also took part. "It became larger with the millennium celebrations, and with the Consul General, Sva- var[Gestsson], here," says Erla. "And since then the Consul has been involved with bringing either entertainment or a speak- er." This year the speaker will be Icelandic member of Parlia- ment Steingrímur Sigfússon. Following the ceremo- ny, Frón, in conjunction with the Icelandic consulate, has organized a" concert at the Winnipeg Art Gallery by Hamrahlíðarkórinn, a 70-mem- ber choir from Reykjavík. This year, there will be two additional components to June 17 — an open house welcom- ing the public to the new offices of Lögberg-Heimskringla from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., and the for- mal launch of the Future Fund Capital Campaign, a fundrais- ing initiative to support the newspaper. Both Erla Wankling and Serena Goebel, President of the Icelandic Canadian Frón, hope attendance continues to increase at the annual event. "Adding in the choir, we're go- ing to have defínitely over 100 at the statue," says Serena. "I Betel Home Foundation GlMLI Selkirk GaMncj, m CeUlttatmcj. 89 ifeaM- of Gantuutaui Gane. lijiilíin. ike- Gammu+ut/j, PHOTO: DAVID JÓN FULLER Serena Goebel (Ieft) and Erla Wankling would iike to raise the profile of the annual June 17 celebration in Winnipeg. Last year róughly 300 people attended. think last year we had close to 50 or 60 people at the statue and then 300 at the art gallery for the performance. So I would say that we're going to meet, if not surpass, those numbers." The wreath-laying cer- emony at the statue has special significance for Winnipeggers of Icelandic descent. Erla notes that when Iceland was .still struggling for independence, the Icelandic community in Winnipeg donated money to- wards Iceland having a statue of Jón Sigurðsson. The Icelanders were so moved by this generos- ity that they paid to have an ex- act replica built and donated to Winnipeg. Serena says she feels June 17 still has too low a profile among the Icelandic commu- nity in Manitoba.- "We need to involve more people of Ice- landic descent. We know there are thousands and thousands of them, but they're not active in the community... they don't even know about [events such as this]." She feels that this is a problem in Manitoba particu- larly, because people take the Icelandic presence in the prov- ince for granted. Clubs in Saskatchewan, Al- berta and Ontario, for example, boast membership numbers in the hundreds. The two INL chapters in Winnipeg combined have fewer than 100 members. "The sense of keeping your roots when you're outside of the community is stronger," she says. "At least, that's my theory." For both Serena and Erla, real interest in their Icelandic heritage went hand in hand with their involvement in the com- munity. Serena first attended June 17 festivities in 2002. She took part in Frón's Icelandic lan- guage classes, joined the club and became president of the club in March 2004. Last Au- gust she went to Iceland for the first time as part of the Snorri Plus Program. She says she's very proud of her Icelandic heritage, that it is an important part of her iden- tity. Likewise, Erla became in- volved in the Jón Sigurdsson Chapter five years ago. "My daughter received a scholarship from the I.O.D.E. 20 years ago and we're very grateful for the work of the I.O.D.E. and I felt that I would like to, once I re- tired, contribute to the organiza- tion." The I.O.D.E. has been awarding scholarships since 1937; last year it gave out $5,900 in scholarships. Erla says her Icelandic heri- tage has come to mean more to her in recent years. She visited Iceland for the first time in the 1990s, and says her awareness of Icelandic culture increased enormously once she got more involved in the community. "It makes you feel part of a larger family, I guess, the whole Icelandic family," she says. "You're not just one small Ice- landic family out in the country somewhere." For more information on June 17 celebrations, see the Calendar ofEvents. Krave's Candy Co. 45 Durand Road Wpg, MB R2J 3T1 Phonf: (204) 654-1361 TOU. Frfk: I (800) 357-6867 Laxry Finnson ChrisEmery INL/XND VJilh over 40 years afexperlence Inland ensures that customers receive quoiity products and servkes for all types ofconstruction and developmem projects. HEIDELBERGCEMENTGroup Cements and Flyash Phone: 1-800-252-9304 Fax: (204) 334-5900 HEIDELBERGŒMENTGraup Aggregates Phone: (204) 224-4255 Fax: (204) 224-3431 Concrete Pipe Products Phone: (204) 339-9213 Fax: (204) 334-7957 "Working Together to Build Our Communities" Visit us on the web at http://www.lh-inc.ca

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