The indigenous people's display inside and outside of Tromso Hall has grown significantly this year. Tromso Hall is part of Hstfest. It is located in the Flickertail Gardens on the State Fairgrounds.
The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, combined with the Sami from Norway, share a comparison of cultures with Hstfest visitors each day. Suprisingly, the two native peoples from the Arctic and America have many similarities, which becomes evident to those enjoying various programs and displays at Tromso Hall.
"The Sami people of the Arctic refer to themselves as the People of the Sun. We are not Laplanders," said Stina Fagertun, Norway. "Our language is quite similar to Finnish, but it is a language of its own."
The culture of the Sami is featured at Tromso Hall at Høstfest. Inside a lavvo tipi, from the left, are Catrine Pedersen, Stina Fagertun, Anita Barth-Jorgensen and Lena Paalviig-Johnson. All are from Norway.
Music is an important part of both cultures and is prominently featured at Hstfest. Lena Paalviig-Johnson, Norway, entertains visitors to the "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" village at Hstfest with music from a drum made of reindeer hide stretched over a frame of juniper.
"It is my instrument and a teaching tool," explained Paalviig-Johnson. "A drum creates a heartbeat, so the drum resonates with a lot of people. The drum has been used as a tradition, the first musical instrument of the northern hemisphere."
Paalviig-Johnson's drum delivered a soft and distinctive sound, much different from the powerful thump-thump created by drummer of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. While the sound was different, the meanings of the music and the drums had similarities for both cultures. It was part of the message of global fellowship that was evident at Tromso Hall and the accompanying village. There were similarities there, too, between the tipis of North America and the "lavvos" used in the Arctic.
"We also have a Kven lady," said Fagertun. "Each day we have Vaimo Voimaa, which means indomitable women. It is about the strong women that came from the 16th century to this day, from the Arctic to this area. It is a very, very nice performance daily in Tromso Hall."
The Metis culture is also part of the Tromso Hall exhibits. The Metis were a French-Indian people who had a strong influence on life along both sides of the U.S.-Canada border during the settling of the region. They were known for their trademark Red River carts, which they used to haul a variety of goods long distances. A Red River cart and a demonstration of its construction is part of the indigenous people's display.
Tromso Hall opens at 8 a.m. each day during Hstfest. A traditional Sami breakfast is served, accompanied by short films depicting some of the history of the remarkable people of northern Norway. A complete schedule of events of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" can be found in Tromso Hall.