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 kids obviously, but being a parent takes it to another level I feel. 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?

Arctic, Awareness, Culture, Finnmark, Heritage, Indigenous, People, Photography, Quotes, Sámi, Sápmi, Tromsø

One smile for each side

Accidentally moved this post to the trash, so posting it again 😊

Sámi and Norwegian flag in Tromsdalen last summer outside the Arctic Cathedral

The following is an exerpt from Mathilde Magga’s 38 page text The places we Exist. on the struggles of having one ethnicity and a different nationality (being Sámi in Norway). Sámis do have a cultural region called Sápmi/Saepmie, but it has been devided over four countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia (Kola peninsula).

““Honey, can you please put on your bunad first so I can take a photo? Then we can change into your gákti?” Bunad is traditional Norwegian clothing, and gákti is Sami. If an outsider saw a photo of the two, they might think they were variations of the same traditional clothing. For the ones owning the clothing, it was very different. (…)

I remember that I obediently put on one piece of clothing then the other. I remember that I smiled for one photo, and then for the other. One smile for each side of the family, for each side of me.

A city of 75, 000 inhabitants on a tiny island in between rows of beautiful snow-covered mountains in Northern Norway. A city split in two. The official name was Tromsø, but it had been named Romsa centuries ago. As a tourist visiting, you would probably not notice the split between the people living there, as the tourism industry invested time in portraying the Indigenous population as loved. What a joke. The Sami population was never loved.

Mattaráhku also told her that Nieiddažan´s dad had stopped speaking the language after the second war and that he had changed his name to try to erase the man he used to be. She told her that this was why he was hurting so bad, because he had killed the most important part of himself.

I once read the word postmemory while doing research for an assignment for my Holocaust Literature class during my first semester in college. It was a theory created by Marianne Hirsch, the daughter of Holocaust survivors. She explained how parents could pass on their own trauma to their children, which would leave children traumatized by events they had never experienced:

Children of those directly affected by collective trauma inherit a horrific, unknown and unknowable past that their parents were not meant to survive.””

Worth a read ❤ Thank you, Mathilde for writing this.

Adventure, Arctic, Awareness, Chronic illness, DIY, Everyday life, Health, Heritage, Indigenous, Jewellery, People, Photography, Pregnancy, Sámi, Sápmi, Tromsø, Uralic

A few personal thoughts before giving birth for the first time

Each day is getting closer to meeting our son. With the corona situation, we have been unfortunate in not getting the help and support we needed from the beginning, but as the birth is right around the corner, we have finally found a midwife that we can call and ask questions any time. We even got a little “tour” of the delivery room, which helped a lot. Getting a visual of where it will all happen and my options on how to deliver him. I have decided on a waterbirth (which I had no idea was an option here!), but plans may change of course.

My health has declined quite a lot the last 2-3 weeks. The neurological symptoms and the extra weight (+23 kg) has been heavy in all the meanings of the word. Here on Christmas eve celebration the 24th with our family dog Loke 🎄🎁 Notice my awesome socks! 🎅
My necklace 😊 Got baby’s name engraved on the back!

I am excited to say I am looking forward to meeting him more than I am scared now (which has been the main feeling until recently), and to witness the incredible innate power the female body posesses of giving life to another being. It’s quite amazing; my body has just grown this new human on its own, and I have done nothing actively to make him grow. I have just been fortunate to be his home for all this time, and feeling both proud and nervous to “share” him with the world.

My thoughts are the same regarding the birth itself. Body will know how to birth him with the help of contractions and surges – or waves as I like to see them 🌊🌊🌊 I cannot think of a more natural thing than birthing. I imagine it will be beyond any physical pain I have ever experienced. And I do expect both tearing and other issues. But I also imagine it will be the most empowering experience I can have as a woman, as the hormones and biology takes over, and I get to be right in the eye of that storm and join the millions and billions of mothers who have given birth before me. “All” I have to do is stay present and breathe into every sensation. Body will know what to do. It was literally built for this to happen.

Art by unknown. Please let me know if you do!

I recently learned about the Ferguson reflex (also known as the foetal ejection reflex), which is:

“The neuroendocrine reflex comprising the self-sustaining cycle of uterine contractions initiated by pressure at the cervix or vaginal walls. It is an example of positive feedback in biology. The Ferguson reflex occurs in mammals.

Upon application of pressure to the internal end of the cervix, oxytocin is released (therefore increase in contractile proteins), which stimulates uterine contractions, which in turn increases pressure on the cervix (thereby increasing oxytocin release, etc.), until the baby is delivered.”

It’s great to know about this innate reflex. It works almost like a vomiting reflex, ejecting baby out. So, in any case, baby will come out one way or another, no matter the approach I choose. It is and has been a bit like navigating a jungle trying to find out how I wish to do my own personal pregnancy, and it will be a challenge to go with the flow during delivery.

I have been very adamant that I will use and need an epidural, if being in water will not work for me. I think it would be of great help to deal with the pain. But the downsides of this drug is bugging me a lot lately. It will make me quite immobile, have me on my back working against gravity and I will need a midwife/nurse to tell when to push. Which will also increase my risk of tearing as I will not feel anything. Being upright in a squatting position makes more sense to me, and it will maybe make it easier for him to find his way out. But again, we will see when the day comes! 🙂 One thing is for certain though, I want to try the gas and air (nitrous oxide) they offer 😄✌🏻

Have you given birth? What was your experience, and would you do it again?

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 Nilsen/Kitti/Tornensis/Kemi/Hætta/Nango 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).

Area these names come from/are native to: Kautokeino, Karasjok, Øksfjord/botn (Loppa/Alta), Tornedalen, Kittilä and Kemi. Probably more areas as the generations have passed.

*
Anthropology, Arctic, Awareness, Culture, Genealogy, Heritage, Indigenous, List, Outfit, People, Photography, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Uralic

Endangered and extinct: Sámi languages today

Photo coloured by Per Ivar Somby. In the photo: Brita Somby, wearing traditional dress (gakti) with traditional wool shawl.


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.

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.

Title: Samiske barn undervises i norsk / Sámi children learning norwegian
Opphaver: Fotograf Sverre A. Børretzen
Rettighetshaver: Leverandør NTB scanpix


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.

Approx distribution of the languages/dialects today. The biggest blue area is mainly Troms and Finnmark.

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.

Sámi name for Bodø not welcome, 2011.

*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.”

Sápmi flag by artist Astrid Båhl from Skibotn, Troms. Photo: Ørjan Bertelsen


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.

Unlike the Indo-European languages spoken in most of Europe, the Sámi languages belong to the Uralic language family, and are most closely related to the Baltic-Finnic branch, which includes Finnish, Hungarian and Estonian, although opinions vary as to the closeness of the relationship.
Photo I took at the main square in Tromsø 2019. Demonstration against violence and discrimination towards sámi.

Sámi women and a man in Sweden. Colourised photo by Per Ivar Somby.
Many young Sámis today use the traditional handwoven wool shawl as an everyday garment in a more urban way in order to still show our Sámi identity, and belonging. I think it’s a small yet beautiful act. Wool shawls like this are however sold commercially many places as well. (Photo by NatGeo of Jokkmokk Sámi Ella-Li Spik, herder).

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.

Me keeping warm and optimistic about the future of the languages and culture.



Thanks for reading! xx


Sources and texts used in this post:

https://site.uit.no/sagastallamin/

http://www.sorosoro.org/en/sami-languages/#:~:text=Yes.,beginning%20of%20the%2021st%20century.

https://blogs.loc.gov/international-collections/2019/12/will-the-sami-languages-disappear/

https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/saami-languages-present-and-future

Arctic, Culture, DIY, Everyday life, Food, Health, Heritage, Indigenous, Knitting, Outfit, People, Photography, Pregnancy, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi

Vinterbaby, part 2

Gleder meg ihjel til å kle mini-me’en i de gamle klærne ho bestemor laga til oss da vi var små ❤ Mine gamle lobber i grå og blå.
Fikk et nydelig marinoullpledd fra mamma og søster. Samt andre babyting med dyretema fra venninner 🙌🏻 Selen kjøpte jeg helt ærlig til meg selv 😅 Kjempemyk og søt!
Kan brukes som pute og sofapynt 😄 Kan hende beiben får låne den 😉
Viktig å spille litt musikk for han 😁🎧
Har også brukt en del tid på å se gjennom gamle baby -og barnebilder av meg selv og min barndom. Det er kanskje sånn som skjer automatisk når man er gravid 😄❄ Blir nok ikke å legge ut noen bilder offentlig av podden, men gøy å dele tiden fram til han kommer ☺
Ble overraska av de beste jentene jeg vet om med babyshower 💎 Helt fantastisk.. de greide til og med å lure meg! En av de desidert største høydepunktene i 2020. Tusen takk! Tenk å ha slike venner.
De hadde til og med laga bleiekake – helt selv fra scratch. Med lamabamse 🤩
Må også dele bilde fra noen uker siden da jeg fant ut at antrekket mitt ligna litt for mye på en viss kar 🙄
Min største gravid-craving så langt 🥝
Ikke så mange uker igjen nå, syns ukene og månedene har gått ekstremt fort. Kommer til å savne å se ut som mummitrollet 😛