Oom-Gee-No by Nelson Nelson on Haringey 1979

This piece originally appeared on the site of the Saskatchewan newspaper which took the extraordinary step of publishing a manifesto

Why a secret society?

It all began in 1966 when Oom-Gee-No was founded in Saskatoon, Sask., Canada, a founding member wrote in her journal, when the oil spill in the North Sea devastated his fishing grounds. “The oil spill … taught me that my industry was being sabotaged by children,” writes Nelson. “The discovery also made me cry about the future of mankind.”

He sketched a plan to build the world’s biggest floating island to protect the environment. This was the first of many development projects.

They designed and built a highway connecting a new city that would accommodate 70,000 people and a world-class hockey arena where the first professional season of the Saskatoon Blades was played in 1970. They built a waterpark, a nature centre, public skating areas, schools, public libraries, community centres, parks, a farmers’ market, dining halls, and community halls. They made a timeline of over 60 projects that will be built, financed and shared with their fellow Scandinavians.

In response to the fear that migrants to Scandinavia might interfere with the established culture, they built a system of shuttles and clubs for migrants to get around town safely.

Why put such effort into building up this new nation?

Nelson wrote in his journal: “The worst place to live in the whole world is one dominated by immigration or foreign people.” They fear that globalism will erode the nation-state system that has dominated global politics since the war.

Why did they hide their true names?

I once tried to enroll in Gens de la Saskatchewan in Dorset. I was chosen because my name made me look like Danish society. I assumed all of our members would be Nordic and I thought that might ease my path. That’s what Nelson taught me: that you have to be a member of a particular kind of group if you want to succeed.

The motto that is famous among Gens de la Saskatchewan: “Gens de la Saskatchewan: Our sisters are our servants”. Oom-Gee-No writes: “To our fellow Scandinavians, we say that we have come to help out.”

About how bad is the pollution of the North Sea?

In the early sixties, many of the children being seduced by Canadian culture were from Scandinavia, and sometimes they didn’t want anything to do with their fathers. “Often she caught us by surprise,” Nelson’s daughter Deborah wrote.

During the seventies, authorities brought charges against them. Nelson referred to the media attention as “weirdness” and wrote in his journal that he had been threatened with arrest. The children were so proud that their fathers had been so successful that they issued their own “commentaries”.

Oo-Go-Wee Binehag on the cover of Oom-Gee-No magazine, an anthology of how they helped people in the communities around them. Photograph: Koch Publishing Company

Are they properly inspired by the great peoples of history?

Their hope for future generations is that they can catch up with the pioneers of the past who came over the Bering Strait and established different societies and introduced new things to the world.

Nelson wrote in his journal that people in his community were often duped by the powerful from other cultures. They believed European politicians “deserved everything they got”.

The children of Scandinavian migrants, still at home, are sceptical of the European traditions. “Our parents always supported our various feminist movements and taught us to despise, scorn and hate greed,” writes Nelson’s daughter Sheila. His daughter Janet also remembered how her father encouraged new kinds of innovation. “My father used to ask where the majority of the world was headed and put me on the line,” she recalled. “He would say, ‘Who wants to go where?’”

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