Framed in 30 x 40 cm.. Starry frosty night 🌌💙💜🤍 Acrylic on canvas, silver frame, black passepartout
To be natural
“Being ”low” is being stuck in self-centered negativity. Being ”high” is being stuck in exalted states. Being expansive is being expanded in the three dimensions which is subtle but as stuck. Being ”here” is being stuck in the middle. Being ”now” is being stuck in time. To un-stuck we need to discover wakefullness that liberates all these positions. To be natural requires us to see through all habits and formations. In the end you’ll have no idea who you are and yet your stance will be as firm as all Himalayan mountains combined.” – Amrita Baba
Photo is from these past few week’s heavy snowfall ..
Photo series: Polarnight
While the safe blanket of snow covers the landscape, and the crisp cold air cradle us to sleep under the starry sky, know that spring is waiting in hibernation just like you, ready to rejoice once more.
Four positive things I noticed in 2022
1) There is a growing number of people who are getting more into healing themselves through holistic therapies and dharma, and especially trauma therapy. As humans, we ALL have trauma stored inside our bodies’ cells and aura to bigger or lesser degree. This can for example show up as a wish to not be in our own bodies, try to change the physical body with surgery or as severe anxiety, to name just a few. Feeling fundamentally safe and loved is the basis for all healing
2) I noticed a bigger trend in young people towards embracing and taking back traditional ways of living, such as farming, sewing/handcrafts and eating more non-processed foods, while taking better care of animals and land as well
3) There is a growing emphasis on the importance and magic of childbearing and motherhood. How much power and grace a woman has to actually be a portal of life/love, and how she can be in CHARGE of her own birthing process by preparing and learning from other mothers. When baby is born, Mother is also born – in many ways, they raise each other
4) Lastly, I am happy to see that there is a bit more emphasis on choosing the right partner in our society. That people are taking more time to get to know someone they fancy, having important discussions on values and on raising kids, and how they wish to choose someone healthy and emotionally stable. I think it is important to remember that when you choose a partner, you choose your child’s grandparents too. You choose your child’s genes. You choose a whole new family, and also their generational patterns, and possible future generations. Our choices have huge impact on lives and the planet. I realise that often there are situations that make it hard or even impossible to have anything to do with in-laws or that some partners don’t wish children, which is fine of course! But just to mention, I am happy to see this change, because I am not a fan of forced/rushed marriages nor of being so afraid of commitment and responsability that one chooses a life alone – those two extremes seems best avoided. We humans/mammals are not meant to live alone, we work best in a family setting, or small community setting. This is especially true for men.
Ok, that was my weird little list of things I have been thinking about and witnessing this year, and I think they were worth mentioning. I wish you all a fantastic New Year, may it be what you make it! Xx ✨️✨️✨️
November in photos
Soon we enter December and thus the last month of 2022. Hope you are all staying warm and safe, and that Christmas is not a source of stress, but a time for relaxing and magic ✨️❄️
Photo series: Arctic autumn, pt. 2
My creative energy
“Your healing journey will, of course, include a consideration and use of all the best tools modern medicine can offer you, as well as the best tools holistic healing can offer you. From a deeper perspective, illness is caused by unfulfilled longing. The deeper the illness, the deeper the longing. It is a message that somehow, somewhere, you have forgotten who you are and what your purpose is. You have forgotten and disconnected from the purpose of your creative energy from your core. Your illness is the symptom: The disease represents your unfulfilled longing. So above all else, use your illness to set yourself free to do what you have always wanted to do, to be who you have always wanted to be, to manifest and express who you already are from your deepest, broadest, and highest reality. If indeed you have discovered yourself to be ill, prepare yourself for change, expect your deepest longing to surface and to be brought to fruition. Prepare yourself to finally stop running and turn and face the tiger within you, whatever that means to you in a very personal way. I suggest the best place to start to find the meaning of your illness is to ask yourself: “What is it that I have longed for and not yet succeeded in creating in my life?”’ (From Barbara Brennan’s book Emerging Light)
Photo series: Arctic autumn, pt. 1
Autumn evening on the mountain
New painting inspired by the Arctic autumn.. Colourful landscape and a Sun that has started to set again after midnightsun season is over. This is a gift for my father, who is kind of the one who gave me art and an interest in art. 🍂🍁🌅🙌🏼
Photo series: Arctic summer, pt. 2
A thimbleful of light
“Darkness, no matter how ominous and intimidating, is not a thing or force: it is merely the absence of light. So light need not combat and overpower darkness in order to displace it – where light is, darkness is not. A thimbleful of light will therefore banish a roomful of darkness. The same is true of good and evil: evil is not a thing or force, but merely the absence or concealment of good. One need not ‘defeat’ the evil in the world; one need only bring to light its inherent goodness.”
– Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson
What that means to me
I wanted to make a post on the physical body. I have noticed in social media a trend called ‘body positivity’, and I wanted to share my own version of what that means to me:
- Knowing that my body is made from the natural elements and is a result of thousands of generations
- Reminding myself that all my cells are working hard to keep me alive every day
- Eating traditional sustainable foods that my body easily turn into energy
- Deep sleep and meditation to give body healing and vitality
- Practice prayer and mantras to help body get rid of karmic traces stored inside the cells
- Strength training to keep joints stable and posture straight
- Keeping in mind how ancestors lived, and how they treated their bodies
- Reminding myself to breathe with my belly, through nose and keeping my tongue in the roof of mouth, while jaw relaxed, as this feels most natural and it makes body relax
- Tapping into body’s innate healing powers if I feel sick
- Feeling how the body is an anchor that exists and keeps us in the present moment
Maybe I could add more later. What would you add? Thanks for reading, have a lovely day. -M
The Nganasan Shaman (Šamaan)
A Nganasan shamanic ceremony. Nganasan people are Samoyedics and part of the Uralic family 🤍
Photo series: Arctic summer, pt 1
Forgetting who we are
“From the perspective of a healer, illness is the result of imbalance. Imbalance is a result of forgetting who you are. Forgetting who you are creates thoughts and actions that lead to an unhealthy lifestyle and eventually to illness.” – Barbara Brennan, Hands of Light
Healing can occur spontaneously and over time. The spirit has an innate ability and longing for healing, health and happiness. We can all access this healing ability, we just sometimes need some help to tap into that. Never think that healing is not an option for you, or that it’s too late. We can always be reminded of who we are, where our strength lies and how strong our spirits are.
I’d like to recommend 2 books that helped me: Healing back pain: the mind-body connection by Dr. John Sarno, and Hands of Light by Barbara Brennan.
Much healing love to anyone and everyone who needs it. -M
Pictured: me at age 10 ca., on a hiking trip with my family. 🖤
The real you remains..
Emotions make us act and feel in strange ways
But the real you remains unchanged
Experiences and challenges shape us, like pots of clay on a spinning table
Still, the real you remains untouched
Illness, pain and grief chip away our vital energy
Even so, the real you remains ever so vibrant
Death arrives, entering without knocking
Yet, the real you remains.
A poem I wrote today, while contemplating impermanence. ❤️
Photo series: Cold spring
The Winter is stubborn this year, not allowing Spring to enter just yet. I don’t really mind, but also looking forward to green fields, bird song, less layers of clothing and mountain streams. Hope everyone has a great Spring, wherever you are! 🤍 All photos are taken in Arctic Troms.
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. Some have moved further south, like the Hungarians. Many of us live Arctic and sub-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 😊
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
Among my people
Do we remember
The colors and voices
Moving our instincts guiding our every moment?” 🌺
“People wearing their national dresses symbolise unity. A research conducted on this subject showed that youngsters wearing traditional clothes, irrespective of western pressure, had fewer behavioural and emotional problems. The reason being that they are in touch with their ancestral culture, religion and traditions and thus not confused about their identity or who they are.” Makes sense to me; feeling like you belong and have a community is very important. Nowadays, I think many of us feel a part of many different groups, because we live in a globalised world, and clothing can be changed, thus changing your identity. Maybe that makes our traditional and national dresses even more special? ❤
Here is the link to the study for anyone interested. It also sheds a light on the dangers of not allowing indigenous peoples to use and wear their own clothings, as we have seen happen all over the world.
Both Sámis and Khantys are Uralic peoples.
The darkest, most colourful time
December went by fast, only a week left of 2021. Today is Christmas eve, and we get to celebrate it with fresh snow, but most importantly; with our son, whose first Christmas it is. Wishing you all a peaceful and magical time, with lots of rest and good meals. Xx
Like the rays of the Sun
The path to the light is dark. Silencing the mind through meditation allows us to feel and see the radiant light of our own basic goodness, basic buddha nature, where compassion and creativity flows without obstruction, like the rays of the Sun. – Monica Xx
Missing something I never had
Feeling the Sunday blues today, and felt like sharing some thoughts I have had for some time now. I hope I manage to articulate myself in a good manner, and hoping to hear others’ view on this as well 🙂
I feel it is so important to have a sense of community and identity. A tribe of sorts. In fact, we all did up until very, very recently. You could even tell what area or region people were from by their clothing. The way they proudly wore their identity and sense of community. It is so rare nowadays that tourists will literally pay thousands to witness authentic indigenous way of life.
It sounds silly, but I miss that. I have never had it, but I miss it. I miss traditional everyday dresses and stronger traditions. I miss women being more supported with raising children by their community. Not feeling alone in our experience. We are not supposed to raise kids alone. We are not supposed to not work together and to not rely on each other. When we don’t have that community around us, we get consumed by loneliness and loss of purpose. Just think about how wonderful it feels to have a good friend or a family member who truly cares. We are utterly dependent on our safety net.
The globalisation we see today has come at a great cost. Every month, the world loses indigenous languages. Every week, less natural surroundings and every day people feel more cut off from each other, and Mother Earth. Where will we end up? Even our diets are globalised, getting adviced to eat the same here in the European Arctic as they do in warm climates. That is not sustainable. That is not what have been practiced for thousands of generations, and what our bodies are used to.
I do not wish to naively say that all things were better before, because I do not believe that they were. I do, however, think we have lost something very precious along the way, at least in my part of the world. People who wish to reclaim their sense of community and identity sometimes even feel like a fraud or a fool for ‘taking back’ something they never personally had.
I believe that the trauma experienced by virtually all humans today by having our way of life so dramatically changed in such a short timespan, needs great healing. And only we can do that job ourselves; in our own hearts and minds.
Thank you for reading, may all beings be free and happy ❤ May communities heal and may we take better care of the planet 🌎
A shift in attention
“Regardless of the emotion being experienced — be it desire, anger, pride, jealousy, envy, greed, or whatever — what is really going on is a shift in attention. The mind is expressing itself in a different way. Nothing implicitly requires one to presume that this emotion has any reality in and of itself… It is just that the mind is expressing itself in a different way than it was a moment ago.” – Kalu Rinpoche
Photos from late autumn when it was still a bit warm. Woke up today to the first snowfall of the year!
Namo Isha Ja – Guided meditation
A heart opening guided meditation session led by Kim Rinpoche.
If we know our hearts and our own natural state, we will also simultaneously know how to love and care. Not only for others but for ourselves and our difficult emotions. Life is so full of difficult emotions, as we know. Compassion and forgiveness is always with you, like a silent friend.
Thank you for reading and still following my blog. It is most appreciated. My posts are very sporadic, as time flies by with the new baby. Long days but short weeks. Not enough hours to get it all done, and not enough hours to just enjoy him – this new little person that runs our lives now. Motherhood is equally hard as it is wonderful. I hope to get more painting and other artsy projects into my days again.
I will keep you safe and warm
Acrylic on mixed media paper, A4
21 photos from my summer
“I love the Arctic summer, it’s the best day of the year!” Short but sweet. How was your summer?
Happy World’s Indigenous Peoples Day
Indigenous means ‘naturally occuring’. Someone or something that ‘belongs’ to a place, and who is living in harmony with the natural surroundings. A part of the local ecosystem. The natural world belongs to us ALL, we need to treat it with respect and appreciation to be able to continue living in it sustainably. Always give more than you take, even if it is “just” gratefulness.
Where was or is your ancestors indigenous to? Do you feel as a part of the natural surroundings?
Small tip on how to feel more connected to the natural world: consciously focus and feel into the knowing of being held and supported by the Earth and gravity. See if you can completely relax into that knowing and if you can trust that you are safe and being held.
New painting: In Cod we trust
When the Sun goes down in the Arctic, we need to get our vitamins from the fish oil. It is essential during the Polar night 🐟🌬
Acrylic on mixed media paper, A4. Illustration made for a Nenets writer friend of mine. Copyright Monica Olivia Art 🎨🙏🏻
A personal painting
This is the “place” I went to in my imagination before and during giving birth. It was cold and silent, and this is where I could go in my mind to gather strength and breathe fresh crisp air. I could also clearly see our son there the whole time, sitting close by, waiting to be born 💙🧡
1 of 6 in a small series: Sky on Fire
This is # 1 of 6 in a small series I plan to make, all same size.
An open heart is the best medicine
“Practice being here until ‘now’ disappears. Dwell nowhere. Be beneficial to others, and you will lack nothing. Flash open your heart. Be a child of wonder, playing with generosity. Floating in a sea of billions of universes, whatever that is, “That” is all we are. It is as much out there, as it is in here. How amazing. Trade in all your wrongs, injustices, hurts, and fears for mercy, hope, compassion, and kindness. An open heart is the best medicine, open it a little more with every breath. Be like a little kid, running with Wonder, “What is this?” – words by Tilopa, the mahasiddha.
Photo from way back when. I used to love horses but now I must admit being a bit scared of them 😄🙈
How is your spring going?🌻 Myself, I am very busy with the new mama life. Barely time to write this post 😄🙏🏻 It’s hard, wonderful and all worth it.
Will be back with more photographies and updates soon. xx Monica
The same stillness that exists in nature, exists in you
Allow yourself to be yourself. Close your eyes and feel the stable mountain-like presence of your own being. Indestructable, isn’t it? Your own light, your own intuition. Keep returning to yourself. To home, to where you are safe and where you belong. The same stillness that exists in nature, exists in you. There is no seperation, and it cannot be taken away or destroyed. Allow yourself to come home, over and over, until there is no doubt. xx Monica
A few snowy peaks shots from beginning of May. Spring is here! Camera used: Panasonic Lumix.
Disolving the self into the Ocean
Atiyoga Instructions and Kim Rinpoche Sings Mantra. Guided meditation. Just listen ❤🌊
Our true nature
Being a mama has really opened my heart, not just for our child, but for all children. I have always loved the little new humans obviously, but being a parent takes it to another level somehow. Truly an automatic bodhicitta practice; infinite love and boundless compassion – our true nature.
Here are some beautiful motherhood art pieces I really like. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! 🥰
How has motherhood changed you? Has it opened your heart (more)?
How to relax
For the past 11 years or so, I have been teaching myself how to relax and be calm.
I have always been quite a worried person, so I feel I had to learn this in order to simply have a better life with more control. I still sometimes forget how to, but each time I remember, I do the following:
An easy quick way to instantly relax the mind and muscles, causing bloodflow to spread more evenly in the body, is to do three things simultanously: relax the jaw and eyes completely, breathe deeply into belly for at least 8 breaths and move the inner gaze/attention to the feet or ground below. Get a sense of the Earth. Notice the effect.
Another way, if you have the oppotunity, is to lay down flat, do the same with jaw and eyes, and to focus on the in and out breaths in the belly. Take deep slow breaths. Imagine them as waves ebbing on the shore.
And lastly, going into nature of course has a calming effect too, even just for 10 minutes. If you cannot go outside, perhaps painting or drawing nature is an idea.
Hope this helps! I truly believe knowing how to relax and calm our selves is an important skill. Getting carried away by the storm can be both painful and result in regrets.
How do you find peace in midst of chaos? I like to go into nature, it never fails us. Especially in the cold there is crisp silence and aliveness.
How is/was your March? 💛
An eventful, colourful January
It’s the last day of a very eventful January, and I am spending it curled up on our big sleeping couch with our newborn baby boy who is about 2 weeks old now, in his little baby nest and my partner who is sitting on the other end writing away on the computer. Outside, it’s already dark again. Polar night is officially over here but I have not seen the Sun yet. I am not outside so much, hardly at all as all time and energy is spent adjusting and taking care of this new amazing creation. I did however manage our first little walk with the pram!
Life is new and different and surreal as parents. Giving birth was intense and hard work, and unfortunately not how I envisioned, but nontheless a very powerful experience. A rite of passage of sorts.. At one point during delivery I felt like I connected with all other Mothers giving birth naturally, experiencing the same pain at the exact same time. When he was born, there was an incredible silence and love that I have not experienced before 🤱🏻
January is also my birthday month, and this year I celebrated at home with my little family and my friend Katharina. 29; last year in my twenties, first year as a mama! 🎉✨
How was your January?
The Copper Coloured Mountain: Pure land
The copper coloured mountain is also known as Zangdok Palri; Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava’s non-physical pure land.
Be more of an amateur!
“An amateur (literally means ‘lover [of something]’) is generally considered a person who persues a particular activity or field of study independently from their source of income/does not persue it professionally or with an eye to gain.” 🎨
#amare #amateur #amour ❤
Be more of an amateur this year ✨
First painting of the year finished
First painting of the year finished!🌟🌟🌟
Visited the beach in Sandvika twice in oct and nov before polar night; once to take the photograph and once to try and paint outdoors, but it started raining so finished it finally now in the first day of January 😁
Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 24 cm 🌅
Colours used: blue, yellow, orange, purple, gold and white. Varnished with waterproof UV protection spray.
Ei strime av lys over tindan
“No sløkkes en dag som så vidt rakk å gråne
og vise fram landet ei skjømmingsblå stund
og gjømt attom fjellan i aust står en måne
som snart skal strø sølv over fjorda og sund.
I sør ligg ei strime av lys over tindan
der dagen blør ut før han slokne førr godt
og vi står igjen med oss sjøl og med minnan
i mørketidslyset der allting blir blått.
Så kom og vær nær meg – vær sol i desember
når midtvinterstanka tar rom i mitt sinn
førr året må føle sin kurs og kalender
og stian blir tungtrødd når lyset førsvinn.
Men hold meg i handa og lær meg å vente
på solkvervingstimen då allting skal snu.
I mørketidslyset e varme å hente
førr den som har mot tel å trosse og tru.
Ja, streif mine strenga og løys i meg tonen
tel landet som kvile ved midtvinterstid
la mørketids-tankan og haust-depresjonen
få vike førr strofe av blå poesi.
Vi leve med rest av en sommar i minne
i lengting mot daga vi ikkje har fått
men kjem du meg nær skal vi solvarmen finne
i mørketidslyset der allting blir blått.” – Helge Stangnes 💙💛🧡
Litt mørketidspoesi nu når sola ‘har snudd’ 🤓
Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas ✨
2020 in paintings
“Art is for everyone” 💜🧡💛💚🎨
“We should try to avoid thinking of ourselves as worthless persons – we are naturally free and unconditioned. We are intrinsically enlightened and lack nothing. When engaging in meditation practice, we should feel it to be as natural as eating, breathing and defecating. It should not become a specialized or formal event, bloated with seriousness and solemnity.”
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche 🧡📿
(The buddhist shawl I am wearing is an outer sign of my inner commitment to the vajrayana buddhist path)
Family portraits from 138 years ago
Wanted to share these amazing old family portraits from our family tree 😊🎄 Taken in 1882. Exactly 110 years before I was born 😄 Six generations back in time.*
This is one of the many reasons I love photography 🙌🏻 Colourised and brought to life by Per Ivar Somby recently. (Not the best quality because I took with my phone).
Endangered and extinct: Sámi languages today
The nine remaining Sámi languages are spoken here in the north of Europe (see map and gallery below) in a cross-border region which includes Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. This region is generally called Sápmi – mostly by Sámis, and is sometimes referred to as Lapland. Laponia in Swedish Lapland is the World’s largest unmodified UNESCO nature area still cultured by natives. Sámis are indigenous to Sápmi and Northern Europe, our heritage and ancestry traces back to Ural mountains, Siberia.
Sámi languages speakers estimate:
Southern Sámi 300 – 500 speakers
Ume Sámi – less than 20 speakers
Lule Sámi 2 000 – 3 000 speakers
Pite Sámi – less than 20 speakers
Northern Sámi – 20-30 000 speakers. There are three main North Sámi dialects.
Northern Sámi is the most accessible language, both in terms of literature, news broadcasts, and other material for those who want to learn a Sámi language as a foreign language.*
Kemi Sámi – extinct
Inari Sámi 300 – 500 speakers
Akkala Sámi – considered mostly extinct since 2003*
Kildin Sámi 300 – 700 speakers
Skolt Sámi 300 – 500 speakers in Finland, fewer than 20 speakers in Russia
Ter Sámi – less than 5 speakers left, all elderly
Out of the 11 historically attested Sámi languages, 9 are still spoken/used.
Today we are around 90 000 Sámis, but as you can see from the numbers they do not match up to speakers of Sámi languages. Roughly 4/10 Sámis speak and use Sámi today.
Why is this so?
To avoid humiliation and to give their children “better chances in life”, indigenous and minority parents often decide to speak a dominant or official language with their children. Sámi parents have not been an exception to this rule, especially in the very near past.
For the sake of how long this post would be in order to include all four countries’ history with the Sámi people, I will mainly focus on Norway.
Up to the 17th century, Sámi society lived pretty much its own life, with little interference from the outside. But with the new borders of the Nordic countries, interference was inevitable. Historically, the language situation can be divided into three distinct periods: a missionary phase; a harsh assimilation phase; and the present phase, with potential for integration and revitalisation.
The 17th and 18th centuries characterise the beginning of missionary activities, with some very positive projects for the benefit of the Sámi languages: teaching was conducted through the medium of Sámi and religious texts were translated into Sámi. From the middle of the 19th century however, a new policy based on national romanticism and ‘vulgar Darwinist ideas’ led to a harsh suppression of Sámi and the languages. The Norwegian Parliament and government pursued overtly a policy aiming at assimilating the whole Sámi population in Norway in the course of one generation.
The “dark century,” 1870 to 1970 ca, had detrimental effects which can still be felt on both the languages themselves and on their status and speakers. In the coastal areas of Norway (and elsewhere), negative attitudes were transmitted by the Sámi themselves as a result of the policies, and inter-generational transfer of the language ceased in only a few generations.
New efforts in maintaining the languages were revived in the 1970s and still continues to this day. However, one of the most striking failures of the Sámi strategies is that the smaller Sámi languages (in numbers of speakers as listed above) have not seen success in improving their situation or even in defending their previous position. This failure is partly due to the fact that most speakers live apart from the larger Sámi groups. Dispersed among Norwegians, Swedes, Finns, and Russians, they do not have the demographic concentration that would enable them to use their language in the workplace and in official situations, including schools.
A language’s development, aging, and dying was considered “natural,” out of human reach. Languages were not killed, they “died of old age.” This agentless “model” for the prediction of the future of languages is still found among politicians, and legitimates their way of treating minority languages.
In Norway, many municipalities with a Sámi population had developed procedures to give the Sámi some local linguistic rights. Yet, when the Sámi language law (in force since 1992) designated certain areas as belonging to the Sámi administrative districts, many of the municipalities left outside these official districts – often municipalities where the speakers of the smaller Sámi languages lived – withdrew services in Sámi, claiming that the law did not require them. Even today, there is strong resilience towards using official Sámi names in for example Norwegian towns and municipalities.
*Currently, education, official documents and the media use Northern Sámi almost exclusively. This variant is used as a de facto “official language” and the most significant efforts have gone into the development of this particular language, to the detriment of other Sámi languages.
Opinions also differ on whether the different versions of Sámi are actual languages or dialects, and how to designate their speakers. “The Song of the Sámi Family” is the official Sámi anthem. To demonstrate the differences among the Sámi languages, here is how the Sámi anthem titles look in Northern Sámi: “Sámi Soga Lávlla,” in Inari Sámi: “Säämi suuvâ laavlâ,” and in Skolt Sámi: “Sää´msooǥǥ laull.” In Finnish, the title would be the somewhat similar; “Saamen suvun laulu.”
Most Sámis today speak either Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Russian, or even English as their everyday tongue (some migrated to the USA). Many are bilingual as well. Another factor is that some Sámis do not identify as Sámi or even know that they are due to the assimilation in the past. They do not have any relationship with the language(s).
**Akkala Sámi is the most endangered Eastern Sámi language. On December 29, 2003, Maria Sergina – the last remaining fluent native speaker of Akkala Sámi – died. However, as of 2011 there were at least two people, both aged 70, with some minor knowledge of Akkala Sámi.
Norway, Sweden and Finland was in 2019 urged by the UN to increase public funding of Sámi parliaments as a response to the dire state of the disappearing languages. But even if the situation seems dire for many languages, it is still possible to revitalise them and start using them more often. Which languages survive and which do not ultimately seems to be a question of human will, not of any rules of nature.
I know that languages and cultures come and go, but I do feel it a great loss to lose what has been native for Sápmi and Lapland for literally thousands of years, in only a few generations, when it can be perserved. I am happy that some schools and institutions are giving sámi language courses to anyone who wishes to learn it (although this is mostly in Northern sámi), and I do also secretly wish that my children will learn it, which I never did due to the Norwegianization process in Finnmark. Language is a huge part of culture and when it’s taken away, people get confused about their own community and sense of belonging, and even turn on each other as a result of feeling alienated.
Thanks for reading! xx
Sources and texts used in this post:
Pastel coloured skies
You know how you need to pretend to sleep in order to fall asleep? And at some point it just happens. Maybe it’s the same with other areas of life. Fake it till you make it, kind of, not in a bad way – just a dedicated one. I have noticed at least that the same applies to yoga and meditation sometimes. If I feel stressed, anxious and restless, I force myself to do the practice anyway. And at some level it still does its magic, of that I am 100% sure. In between the sleepless thoughts and rough emotions – they become like clouds in the pastel coloured sky.
Wishing all a lovely calm Polar night, and remember that it’s in darkness you shine the brightest 🌌✨🎆
One of my paintings inspired by the icy landscape:
“Away, away,—to the mountains away,
Where the pine trees murmur and sway,
And the foamy waterfalls sing and spring
Over the boulders gray.
Blue and green hills, near and far,
The farther they lie, the better they are.
The near ones I can climb and see
But the beautiful far ones call to me”
Some beautiful autumn colours from october 🍂📸 Had my coffee outside that day ☕
Photos taken with Panasonic lumix camera
Kjøpte noen kjempesøte små trehjerter på Flying Tiger for en ukes tid siden. De er vel egentlig for å bruke som gavelapper, men de funker også tydeligvis bra til å male på 😁🙌🏻🎨🎄❄
Magic Monday // My art exhibition
Come see my little exhibition of 13 paintings at Magic Ice Tromsø ❄ Most paintings are for sale 🙏🏻 They also have the cosiest tiny coffee place there, an impressive ice sculpture gallery by Lithuanian artists and a cocktail bar – all ice, even the glasses ☃️🥂🌌
Late october sky
Where the glorious mountains laid
Their heads on the breast of the sky
And slept while the wind sang by,—
There my hurrying feet were stayed.
– Ruby Archer
This leaf survived in my bag for weeks, on planes and buses (from some travels in february, I hope to find time to share some photos with you soon!) Only a bit broken in the edges 💜💙💚 Turned out great as canvas for a little landscape painting🎨🍁
Hvordan takler/liker du mørketida?
Wishing all a lovely end of autumn 🍂🍁
Framed in sunlight
Ancient DNA shows the Sámi and Finns share identical Siberian genes
“The first study on the DNA of the ancient inhabitants of Finland has been published, with results indicating that an abundance of genes reached Finland all the way from Siberia.
The genetic samples compared in the study were collected from human bones found in a 3,500-year-old burial place in the Kola Peninsula and the 1,500-year-old lake burial site at Levänluhta in South Ostrobothnia, Finland. All of the samples contained identical Siberian genes.
Siberian origin remains perceptible
The ancient DNA has also been compared to modern populations. Siberian origins are still visible in the Sámi, Finns and other populations of the Finno-Ugric language family.
“However, it has been mixed up with the European genome. Of all European populations, modern Sámi are the most evident representatives of the Siberian genome. As for the title of the modern people with the largest Siberian genetic component, that privilege goes to the Nganasan people living in northern Siberia,” says Päivi Onkamo, head of the SUGRIGE project at the Universities of Helsinki and Turku.
The project succeeded in mapping out the entire genome from the bones of eleven individuals. From the Kola Peninsula, the bones of six individuals were collected from a 3,500-year-old burial place, while those of two individuals were found from another location dating back to the 18th and 19th century. In the case of the bones found in the Levänluhta site in South Ostrobothnia, the entire genome was mapped for three individuals.”
You can go to HERE to read the full article.
Some other Uralic/Finno-ugric peoples with roots from Ural mountains, Siberia are the Nenets (previously called the Samoyeds), the Khanty, the Mansi, the Selkup and the Mari people. We also have very similar traditional costumes and of course traditionally being nomadic, following the reindeers, and sharing same langauge family. Maybe I will write a post on our traditional dresses.
These findings also makes sense with my own FamilyTreeDNA results, although commercial DNA test kits are not super accurate:
Liker å pynte stua med egne maleri 💙🧡💛💜 #myart
Things that are yours to keep
Some things I truly believe are yours to keep, that no one can take from you:
Your spiritual practice. In my case, it is vajrayana buddhism. It has saved my life in many ways – both in dealing with chronic illness, but also the normal existential stuff like finding purpose and joy 🙂🙏🏼📿
Your ambitions and dreams (if they come from a place of pure motivation and love). In my case now, it has been starting a little family with children 💜🤱
Your ethnicity and ancestry, no matter how lost or scattered it is in this modern world. In my case from my personal experience, I feel very connected to my home in the Arctic and being uralic/finno-ugric. I didn’t as a kid and teenager, at all, but now as I am older, I feel like I can “own” it more. I don’t speak any of the uralic languages, and feel a sadness about this. A disconnection from my own culture. And a feeling of not belonging to a community, when they can’t speak to me. I hope my son will not feel as disconnected. But I have found other ways to express this – primarily through art and duodji. Not all languages are of verbal nature, but are equally important, I think. 🎨
Your creativity. Not necessarily arts, but anything you find a solution to that involves stepping out of the habitual intellectual mind and into a state of spontaneity and flow.🌊
Your struggles. This sounds negative, but for me I mean that my struggles are valid. I have a body that has its big share of physical problems, and I don’t mean to whine. At all! 🙂 Just to express that this is my reality, and that chronic (perhaps invisible to others) illness can happen to anyone, any time in life.💙
Your love. This one sounds cheesy but I think we all can feel love and that we have love as a basic human need. To receive it and give it. And we all have different ways of showing it. I like giving gifts for example.. but am not so good verbally expressing how I feel. I like receiving kind loving deeds, but not to be smothered. So understanding how we show it differently is important too. I also believe that as humans we have the capacity to love many at the same time. Whether it is friends or partners, plural. Romantic, familial or platonic.❤