Michael Loukinen

Marquette, Michigan, United States


Dr. Michael M. Loukinen joined Northern Michigan University in 1976. Michael’s ancestral culture is Sami, specifically the Northern Sami, an indigenous people living in northern Nordic nations. Some are still a seasonally nomadic group, following the reindeer herds. Michael’s relatives were the herding cooperative in the northern part of the commune of Sodankyla. The Nordic Sami Council was established in 1956 among the Sami in Finland, Norway and Sweden. The NSC has since been the formal governmental authority for all Sami in the three Nordic nations. Loukinen’s grandparents emigrated to extreme northern Michigan where his parents were born. His parents migrated to Detroit where Michael was born in 1945. His childhood was spent between Detroit and in the northern part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.), surrounded by Ojibwe and Finnish culture. Loukinen earned his PhD in Sociology from Michigan State University (MSU); and he studied oral history and the cultural anthropology of aging at the University of Michigan on a Post-doctoral fellowship. He met his wife, Elaine Foster, at MSU. She is linked through kinship to the North Carolina Cherokee. Elaine is a recently retired Lieutenant Colonel of the United States Army. Loukinen began his career publishing original research on Finnish Americans and on social support networks in rural communities. He has completed thirteen documentaries, most on ethnic traditions in the Upper Midwest including Finnish Americans, Ojibwe, Menominee, Ottawa and Serbs. He has recorded the traditional occupational cultures of trappers, loggers and commercial fishers in the U.P. He has also made four social intervention documentaries. While making his documentary, “Good Man in the Woods,” he met Coleman Trudeau, an Ojibwe/Ottawa lumber camp fiddler. Coleman hooked Loukinen on Anishinaabe spirituality and Loukinen went on to make six documentaries on different aspects of Ojibwe culture. Loukinen’s films have won state, national and international academic and artistic awards. They have been shown in libraries, museums, high schools, universities, at community screenings, film festivals, academic conferences, and on both commercial and regional PBS broadcasts. Two of his documentaries are now being shown world-wide on the internet through Folkstreams.org, a site that broadcasts the very best films on American folk culture. For the last decade he has been working on a documentary series about the Lac Vieux Desert, Michigan, Ojibwe. Website: www.upnorthfilms.com For DVD sales call 906-227-2706 weekdays.