Sparta Video

Sparta Video

Dreams are held in our ancestral lines. It is our job to heal the past.

In the late 1800s, Europeans left families, familiar culture, and security to emigrate to Northern Minnesota. They ripped rich iron ore deposits from the earth, scarring the landscape with the vast cavities that framed my childhood. Amongst these gaping wounds of the Mesabi Iron Range, my grandmother Selma Saari (1909-1935) was born to Finnish immigrants in Sparta, Minnesota. She died at 26, leaving behind grieving parents, two small boys, and generations of descendants – including me.

This piece is for her, from a granddaughter to a grandmother, from the future to the past.

Field recording from the Alan Lomax collection, Library of Congress (“Here, under this north star, is now our homeland. But on the star’s other side we’ll have a new home.”)

All environmental recordings from Sparta, MN by Sara Pajunen