Arctic, Beauty, Chronic illness, Culture, Dharma, Finnmark, Health, Indigenous, Neurological, People, Photography, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Self portrait, Spirituality, Uralic

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. 🖤

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, Culture, Everyday life, Finnmark, Heritage, Indigenous, People, Sápmi, Tromsø, Uralic

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.

A wedding photo from my family tree, many generations ago in Finnmark.

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 🌎

Anthropology, Arctic, Beauty, Culture, Finnmark, Genealogy, Heritage, Indigenous, People, Photography, Uralic

Happy World’s Indigenous Peoples Day

Yesterday was World Indigenous peoples day, so I share this wonderful portrait of my relative Johannes from 6 generations ago. Wearing a pesk/finnmudd. I think we have the same nose, and eyebrows. I look forward to teach our son about his ancestors. It was a black-white photo by S. Trombolt but Per I. Somby colorised it. #ArcticPeople #Uralic

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.

Adventure, Animals, Arctic, Dharma, Dzogchen, Everyday life, Finnmark, People, Photography, Quotes, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Self portrait, Uralic

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

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)?

Arctic, Beauty, Culture, Finnmark, Genealogy, Heritage, Indigenous, People, Photography, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Uralic

Family portraits from 138 years ago

Ellen
Johan (he went to Usa)
Brita and Anne
Johannes
Mikkel

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).

*