Helen Leinonen is practicing her lines to prepare for her debut as Miina Hanka during a live history reenactment at the Hanka Homestead as part of FinnFest celebrations.
In the late 1800s, the Hanka family immigrated to the scenic Copper Country from Finland, where the family patriarch, Herman Hanka, began working in the copper mines.
Leinonen said she grew up near the Hankas and describes Miina as the typical matriarch, taking care of the family.
â??They were very capable people, and they also were, maybe in a sense, you could say, reclusive,â?? recalled Leinonen. â??I heard snippets of things about the Hanka family, but we werenâ??t personally friendly with them.â??
The reenactment peers into the life of the Hankas during the 1920s. The family owned a large piece of land in Askel where they had a small farm, as well as a smoke house, and a sauna.
â??They did everything by hand,â?? Leinonen said. â??They could do things that you wouldnâ??t think that people who just lived way out in the boonies would even know how to do.â??
The reenactment will include demonstrations of the kind of work the Hankas did, like cooking and creating roof shingles.
Leinonen said this piece of history is important to remember because it doesnâ??t just describe the life of one family but of many immigrant families.
â??Nowadays, there are even younger generations who no longer remember any of that stuff, so theyâ??re not interested, and they donâ??t want to preserve it,â?? Leinonen said. â??But if we do this, Hanka Homestead presentation, people will know what they struggled for and how hard they struggled to make a start out here in the wilderness.â??
The Hanka Homestead presentation during FinnFest will take place on Friday, June 21.