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 ✨

Animals, Anthropology, Arctic, Art, Awareness, DIY, Duodji, Finnmark, Heritage, Indigenous, People, Photography, Photoshoot, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Uralic

More special?

“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.

Sámi man in gákti with reindeer pants and mittens. The shoes are nuvttohat, skaller, nutukas.. many names for same shoe. Different languages and dialects. Photo by Lola A. Akerström
Kautokeino Sámis. Guovdageaidnu in Northern Sámi language. Wearing pesks and gáktis. With traditional shawls, belts, mittens and hats. Northern Lapland/Sápmi.
Khanty woman Kristina Neva and baby in reindeer clothing with decor. Summer on the Arctic tundra. Photo by Bryan and Cherry Alexander.

Both Sámis and Khantys are Uralic peoples.

Acrylic painting, Arctic, Art, Beauty, Culture, DIY, Duodji, Everyday life, Finnmark, Heritage, Indigenous, Jewellery, Knitting, Landscape, Outfit, People, Photography, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Self portrait, Tromsø

The darkest, most colourful time

My latest painting 🤍❄
A little hare lives close by…🐇
2021 in paintings 💙
My winter solstice and Christmas outfit. An Alta/Loppa/Kvænangen-kofteinspirered Sami dress. Sewn by Nadezda Johnsen, colours and fabric chosen by me 💙❤🧡💛
“New” wall decor.. My old sweater made by my grandma for me when I was little, and my old skaller.
Knits also by my grandma. This was before the polar night.
Amazing mosaic by Marit Bockelie in Tromsø.
A few sunrays below the horizon. Midday 💙🧡💛
Lights in the city.

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

Arctic, Art, Beauty, Duodji, Everyday life, Finnmark, Heritage, Indigenous, People, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Uralic

Our true nature

Our sweet little boy 🖤 My wool sweater knitted by grandma.

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! 🥰

Art by Germaine Arnaktauyok, “Quiet Time”, 2005
Art by Mayoreak Ashoona, “Matching braids”, 1991
Art by Emily Kewageshig
Art by Alanah Jewell

How has motherhood changed you? Has it opened your heart (more)?

Art, DIY, Duodji, Everyday life, Heritage, Indigenous, Pregnancy, Sámi, Self portrait

Traditional Sámi bracelet

Was so lucky to receive this traditional Sámi bracelet from my partner’s mum as a gift “for giving her the greatest gift” (our son, her grandson) 🖤

It is made from black leather, reindeer antler button and decoration, and the braids are traditional tinwire used in duodji/daidda. It is made by @tinntraadfruen on instagram if you want to see her work 💫

What was a gift you received that had a nice meaning behind it?