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God's Country Open Access

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This thesis concerns aging, blindness, and deafness in the isolated Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan (UP). I investigated the effect of extreme isolation on Lauri Lappi, a 90-year-old lifelong male resident. This project was photographed and documented in Champion-Humboldt, Michigan after several interviews with the Lappi family. Available evidence included censuses of the Upper Peninsula, sparse interviews and archival photographs. I discovered and documented the economic, physical, emotional, and spiritual struggle of the Lappis to care for their patriarch as he faces his own death at home in the UP`s harsh landscape. This first documentary effort records and memorializes UP Northern Scandinavian traditions and isolation through the life of a first generation Finnish immigrant within the broader context of human aging and elder care.

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