Icelander group coming to Blaine

Published on Wed, Aug 22, 2012
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A group of 35 Icelanders will be arriving in Seattle on Monday, August 27, and will visit Blaine two days later. The group consists mostly of members of an Oddfellow lodge in Reykjavík named Thorkell Mani (the name of an early settler of Iceland in the 10th century).

 The leader of the group is Almar Grímsson, who is a past president of the Icelandic National League in Iceland. Almar was also founder of the Snorri Program, which started in 1999. He has traveled to most Icelandic communities in North America and leads many tours aiming at strengthening relations between Iceland and people of Icelandic descent in North America.

Members of this group started touring North America in 2010 when they visited the Icelandic settlements in the midwest, Minnesota, North Dakota and Manitoba. In 2011 the group visited Ontario and Quebec, and they continue their activities this year by visiting Icelandic settlements on the Pacific coast and in the Rockies. The tour ends in Calgary after 12 days of active visits.

Almar has referred to such visits as “people meet people” tours, since the main thrust is connecting with people of Icelandic descent. Quite often relatives meet during such visits, which is logical in light of the fact that around one-fifth of Iceland’s population emigrated between 1870-1914.

One of the members of the Oddfellow lodge, Karl Jeppesen, will be holding interviews and filming. This is an important initiative since no film documentaries about the Icelandic settlements on the Pacific coast have ever been made before.