Anthropology, Arctic, Awareness, Culture, Duodji, Finnmark, Genealogy, Landscape, People, Photography, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Sewing, Spirituality, Tromsø, Uralic

We Are Uralic

Who are Uralians and Ugrians? We are different peoples with unique cultures and common linguistic roots, stretching from Russia, over Siberia and the Ural mountains, into Scandinavia. Many of us live Arctic lives and livelihoods. Many of us also have lost our traditional cultures and language.

We are Sámis, Kvens, Finns, Karelians, Khantys, Maris, Mansis, Nganasans, Nenets, Komis, Tornedalians, Selkups, and many more. I tried to add a small variety of photos from our community below.

Uralic clothing vary from boys and girls/men and women, and is usually made just to fit the climate. Sewing patterns are often kept within the family and only used by the ethnic group and not outsiders. Summers can get pretty warm, and winters of course get extremely cold, so there are different garments for the seasons. More text and a poem below 😊

The Arctic circle and some coastal settlements. Uralians live mainly in Europe and Eurasia.
Nganasan womens pants and shoes. (C) Bryan and Cherry Alexander, Arcticphoto.com
A group of two Nganasan men and three women in traditional dress outside a hut at a camp on the Kheta River. Taimyr, Northern Siberia, Russia. 2004. © Bryan & Cherry Alexander Photography. Arcticphoto.com
Mansi girls in traditional clothing and shawls. Credit: unknown.
Rita Morokova, a young Selkup woman, at a summer camp in the taiga. Krasnoselkup, Yamal, Western Siberia, Russia
© Bryan & Cherry Alexander Photography. Arcticphoto.com
Nora Ollila in traditional Kven dress. Kvens are Finns who emigrated to Finnmark, Arctic Norway. Very few speak Kven nowadays. Three out of my eight great grandparents were Kven.
Nenets women with pelt clothing and head scarfs.
Traditional Karelian dress from Republic of Karelia. Located between Finland and Russia.
Anne Bull in a pesk made from reindeer hide, and silver jewellery. Sámi woman.
Skolt Sámi headdress for married woman to the left. I took this photo at Ä’vv skolt sami museum in Neiden, Arctic Norway. There are different headdresses depending on your marital status.
Tundra summer life. Nenet women and toddlers.
Khanty women in traditional dress at a Spring festival in the village of Pitlyar. Yamal, Western Siberia, Russia© Bryan & Cherry Alexander Photography. Arcticphoto.com
Vassilly Longortov, an elderly Khanty man, out fishing in his boat on the Synya River. Yamal, Western Siberia, Russia. © Bryan & Cherry Alexander Photography. Arcticphoto.com
Mari children, photographed by Dima Komarov. See full photo series here.
Sámi men in Guovdageaidnu, Arctic Norway. Wearing pesk/finnmudd/beaska. Blue wool gákti on the 4th man. The four pointed hat is Northern Sámi. Photo by Sophus Tromholt.
Mikkel Gaup in pelt clothing. Sámi. From the classic movie The Pathfinder, one of my favourite movies.
Mikkel Josefsen Näkkälä. Reindeer herder. Colorised by Per Ivar Somby. Photo by Sophus Tromholt.
Nganasan toddlers and women in traditional clothes. Nganasans are Uralics from the Samoyedic branch, native to Taimyr, Siberia.
Guovdageaidnu Sámis, Norway. Gáktis and pesks. Women wear chest silver risku for protection. Gáktis are Sámi dresses that vary from each region. The more colour, the better.
Duodji handcraft by Hilde Marie Lund. Coffee bag with The Shaman with Drum symbol. The small mug is a miniature version of a guksi. Duodji can be translated to “beautiful things made practical”.
Shot from Kautokeino-opprøret. Wearing pesks and reindeer gákti. Arctic Norway.
Sámi languages/tribes. This map shows part of Scandinavia, Finland and Western Russia.
Siberian child at the Ä’vv skolt Sámi museum in Neiden i visited in 2018.
Arctic languages. Uralic in orange. Great map. For more high resolution map go here. Also, they are looking to complete the map with more information on dialects, please let them know on the link too if you have somehing to add!
Komse/giekta for baby.
Komi women in winter clothing.
Nenet woman in reindeer clothing with traditional decor. Reindeer sled.
Nenet man and women in traditional winter clothing.
Nenet girls/young women hairstyle called ta’ne.
Mansi woman in traditional clothing. The chest piece and shoe decor is beaded.
Credit: khanty_mansi_mir on instagram
My skaller/nuvttohat sewn by a friend of my grandmother for me when i was little. They are so well used, but taken care of except one small whole i need to fix.. They are made from reindeer hide and leather. Wool insides.. Very warm, only for dry snow use, but too small for me now… Time to pass them on to our son ❤💙💛🧡

Usually, if not always, ethnic European and Eastern/Eurasian (Arctic) clothing has specific designs for women, men, girls and boys. Practical, warm and distinguishable; usually a bit, or vastly, different for each region. Often bright colours and intrinsic details. Made from the immediate surroundings; wool and animals. Sometimes silk. Giving the wearer a place and belonging; need only look at a persons clothes to know where they, or where their parents are from. Sewing patterns are often kept within the family only. Nowadays however, many native outfits are only used a few times a year for special occasions due to many people moving into the city and/or the boarding schools, and designs are evolving with the new creative youth, creating new ideas and identities, which is normal and expected. But traditional sewing skills are sadly not being taught that much from early age.

Clothing is important. No store bought garment sewn by a machine can measure with an outfit that contains your ancestry and history in every stitch. Many nowadays are also lucky to have more than one ancestry and thus more wardrobe options! Many have lost their native language(s) and feel like a “poser” if they use them or sew them, perhaps scared of getting strange looks or be called names, but I will forever argue that we should wear it like our own skin, because it is a birthright of sorts.

Every two weeks a language dies with its last speaker, 50 to 90 percent of them are predicted to disappear by the next century (source for the statistic: National Geographic). For example; 35 out of 38 Uralic languages are endangered or critically endangered due to assimilation and globalisation. Many Uralics live Arctic lives and livelihood in Europe and Eurasia. Herding, fishing and hunting. Linguistics say there used to be at least (!) 31 000 languages in the human history, now we are down to around 6000, and it is declining every fortnight. This makes sewing and using our traditional dresses even more important.

Keep sewing and keep teaching children traditional skills. They will thank you down the line, I am sure of that.

Thank for reading. I will end this post with a poem by Ingrid Mollenkopf from her book ‘Between Sleeps: Uralic Poetry’:

“Petals do fall on the grass beneath my feet

Do they remember their days among the branches?

Do they remember

All the world’s sweet breezes

Brushing their fibers

Carrying their good scent afloat?

As I remember

My youth

Among my people

Do we remember

The colors and voices

Moving our instincts guiding our every moment?” 🌺

Beauty, Culture, Duodji, Everyday life, Finnmark, Indigenous, Outfit, People, Photography, Photoshoot, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Tromsø, Uralic

Lihkku beivviin – Happy National Day

Me, our son and my friend and relative ❤ Láhppigákti. Coastal Sámi.
💙💛❤
Hat and traditional shawl made by me ❤💛
Traditional knit by his father’s mother. Belt is supposed to be on hips, but not easy when he is moving like a little maggot 🪱😄

Today, we celebrated the Sámi National Day, Feb 6th.

I have Kven/Finnish, Norwegian and Sámi heritage, and love to celebrate what I can while I can. I am deeply thankful for my connection to my heritage and my own heart, and wish you all the best 2022 possible.

May all beings be free ✨