Opinion

A celebration of what we have in common | In Our Opinion

Viking Fest starts Friday and continues through the weekend, and you don’t have to be of Scandinavian ancestry to feel connected to the celebration.

Viking Fest commemorates Norway’s Constitution Day, but it is much more than that. It is a celebration of what we who call Poulsbo home have in common.

We are all descended from peoples who believed that government derives its authority from the people, that we all are created equal and are endowed by our Creator “with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” and that self-rule is the best way of ensuring those rights while maintaining individual freedom under the rule of law.

The writers of Norway’s Constitution were inspired by the United States Declaration of Independence and the subsequent U.S. Constitution (one deviation is the retention of a monarchy). The U.S. Constitution, in turn, was influenced by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and, as noted in a Congressional resolution in 1988, the confederacy’s “demonstration of enlightened, democratic principles of government and their example of a free association of independent Indian Nations."

In the years between the adoption of Norway’s Constitution on May 17, 1814 and the country’s independence from Sweden on June 7, 1905, more than a half million Norwegians immigrated to the U.S.

That experience continues in the 21st century.

In 2012, some 757,434 persons — 17,524 in Washington state — became naturalized U.S. citizens. Another 1 million were granted permanent legal status. They came from Mexico, the Philippines, India, the Dominican Republic, the People’s Republic of China, and other countries from every continent. Some 58,179 — 2,165 in Washington state — sought political asylum here or are here as refugees. All seek to be a part of the fabric of this land and this city, to contribute to community life, to contribute solutions to the community issues we face in common.

You’ll see the beauty of this diversification during Viking Fest. Artists from the Suquamish Tribe – the First People of this area, whose grandparents’ grandparents knew Poulsbo as tcu tcu lats – will exhibit and demonstrate their work near Viking reenactors who are carrying on the handiwork of their Scandivanian ancestors.

You’ll hear music from the marimba, an instrument that hails from Southern Mexico; people of Mexican and Central and South American ancestry now make up 9.2 percent of the city’s population, according to the U.S. Census.

Scoil Rince Slieveloughane (pronounced skole rinka shleeve lockane, Irish for Hillside Lake Dancing School), will dance the dances of their ancestors. No countries other than Ireland and Norway contributed a larger percentage of their populations to the United States.

And, of course, you’ll experience Norwegian song, dance and cuisine. Be sure and go to the Sons of Norway Lodge on Sunday, noon, for a viewing of the film, “Paper Clips –Norwegian Invention & Symbol of Resistance to Nazis.”

Velkommen til Poulsbo: Welcome to Poulsbo and its Viking Fest celebration. And to all who have ties here, welcome home.

 

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