Wanted to make a small post on this day, although we are just “celebrating” at home drinking coffee and watching a new five part documentary called “From Sápmi to Alaska”. It is about the Sámi reindeer herders who went from here in the late 1800s to help teach the natives living there about herding. Many stayed, some returned.
A very chill corona friendly celebration you could say 😊
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.
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.
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 🌌✨🎆
Did you know there is a reason why orange+blue and yellow+purple work together so well? 🧡💙💛💜 They are considered complementary colours! “Complementary colours are pairs of colours which, when combined or mixed, cancel each other out by producing a grayscale colour like white or black. When placed next to each other, they create the strongest contrast for those two colors. Complementary colours may also be called ‘opposite colours’.”
You don’t need to be vegetarian or vegan to be buddhist. I am not. Tantric buddhists have historically not been. We always pray for the animals (say mantras), and dedicate the merit.
You don’t need to be able to handle cold well or have any knowledge about reindeers to be sámi. I don’t. The old ways of life are changing, and only around 10% are herders today. Also, traditionally, sámis have been both fisherpeople, farmers, etc.
You don’t need to be eccentric to be a painter. I am not. I just like making art.
You don’t need to be good at maths or into technology to be autistic. I am not. In fact, I am so terrible at math I got extra tutoring.
You don’t need to have “everything in order” before becoming a parent. I don’t. Who does?
You don’t need to be scared to call yourself disabled if you have a chronic illness which limits you. It’s not a bad word, it’s just an explanation of your lived reality.
I am all these things and labels, but just mostly myself ❤ Or at least trying to be most of the time.
Sommeren er på hell, og jeg ser tilbake på en begivenhetsrik sommer, til tross for at jeg har vært mest hjemme. Vært heldig med været i juli, nå er det august og kveldene er mørke igjen, midnattssola er borte og det er på tide på finne frem stearinlysene.
Go towards the people that see you for who you truly are, in all your colours. For your badass kindness and fierce compassion. How we treat others reaches far beyond outer beauty and appearances; touching someone elses’ heart and helping them feel free and loved unconditionally is a gift that will never stop giving.
“The kīla is one of many iconographic representations of divine “symbolic attributes” ofVajrayānaandHindudeities. When consecrated and bound for usage,the kīla is anirmanakayamanifestation of Vajrakīlaya. He is embodied in the kīla as a means of destroying (in the sense of finalising and then freeing) violence, hatred, and aggression by tying them to the blade of the kīla and then transmuting them with its tip.”
En enkel d.i.y som jeg ladge for masse år siden; sydde et lite hårtørkle/pannebånd ut av et sjal med fint fargerikt blomstermønster. På midten av båndet er det et lite tøystykke som klemmer det sammen og gir sånn fin fasong. Enkel dobbelknute i nakken ✌ Nå som jeg begynner å få hår igjen (holdt det på 7 mm en god stund), så er det gøy å leke med litt farger, frisyrer og diverse hårpynt. Også må jeg innrømme at min naturlige hårfarge ikke er så verst, er nok ferdig med å farge det.
Handmade traditional form fitted sámi silk shawl for my Sea Sámi kofte made with Asian brocade fabric traditionally used in buddhism. Lotus and vajra pattern in yellow and gold 😊 Turned out so nice, very happy with the result, it’s glowing in the sunlight 🙌 My kofte (gákti) is green, which will look amazing with the yellow 💛
What is authenticity, as in being authentic? I have been thinking about this lately, although I can barely spell the word. Is is being completely transparent and honest all the time? Is it being open about your struggles, hopes and dreams? Or is it to be so in touch with your true nature & your personality that you simply cannot be anything else?
I think it might be a combination of all these, as honesty, openness and personality all seem to shine forth automatically when one is resting in one’s natural state. My goal would at least be to try and live in such a way that I am not fooling myself or those around me. I find it difficult though. By fooling, I mean that I don’t always speak my mind when I should. Sometimes I choose holding onto resentment. Sometimes I even nod along to things I don’t agree with. Sometimes I dress differently than I would like to, just to fit in.
I have been trying lately to be more open about what my experience is, it feels a bit dishonest and lonely to not do so. From a relative point of view, I have lots of labels on myself, and I try to speak openly about these matters, both in conversations and on social media. I don’t feel like hiding these aspects of me. They are useful to relate to other people and for me to navigate myself in the world, and find meaningful relations. I am all of these things and that’s okay 🙂
From an absolute point of view, I guess none of these labels matter. But I am still trying to understand the absolute, so I think maybe I should not write too much about what I still need to learn and live first hand.
Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and has a Happy new year! ❤
Påska har så langt vært ganske chill for min del, har stort sett vært hjemme å slappa av, lada opp. Spist godteri. Tatt tvangs-selfies med kattene. Prøvd meg på litt hjernetrim i form av kryssord. Blitt sint fordi jeg ikke er noe flink på kryssord. Drukket litt for mye kaffe, og hørt veldig mye på Lord Huron. Legger ved en fin sang av dem! Ser ikke ut til at det blir så mye skitur eller sol i år, da vi har snødd ned her oppi nord, men håper alle har en nydelig påske læll ❤
Har lenge tenkt på å gjøre en cover-up av den tatoveringen jeg har på høyre overarm som jeg dessverre ikke er så fornøyd med, og har bestemt meg for å bare gjøre halve armen helt svart. Har alltid elsket blackwork, syns det ser utrolig kult ut. I går satt jeg tre timer og fikk gjort ferdig et svart bånd nederst, resten blir nok å ta noen timer til 🙂 Regner med å bli helt ferdig i løpet av neste år en gang!
Nydelig novemberlys ute, forresten. Sola har takket for seg for i år her i nord, men av en eller annen grunn så liker jeg mørketida. Nordlys og stearinlys. Hvitt på bakken og nakne trær.
Sommeren kom så plutselig på – over natta var det blitt grønt og opp mot 30 varmegrader. Det kan jeg like. Så da var det innafor å investere i et par uteblomster; to blodamaranter og en lavendellilla sak jeg ikke husker navnet på 😉 Sommeren i nord er kort, men herlig, og noe av det beste jeg vet er midnattsola. Er egentlig en ihuga tilhenger av å legge meg før midnatt, men det er vanskelig på sommeren, når det er så lyst og fint her. I går kveld var det ekstra fint; gul/lilla himmel og perfekt lys til å ta noen bilder 🙂
De var jammen meg kul i svart/hvitt også! Håper alle har en fin, kreativ og avslappende sommer ❤ Selv har jeg vært litt lite produktiv på den kreative fronten; jeg har noen maleriprosjekter på gang som jeg ikke har blitt ferdig med, men håper å komme i gang igjen til uka.
Etterhvert som jeg har vaska håret, ser det ut til å bli mer og mer lilla enn blått (som det opprinnelig var), noe som egentlig ikke gjør noe, da jeg også er nokså glad i lilla. Har fremdeles ganske mye hårfarge igjen og tenker å freshe det opp så snart jeg får dreadsene mine i posten (har bestilt sånne håndlagde syntetiske dreads – igjen)!
Idag var jeg i en tur i byen for å handle litt og kom over en veldig fin mørk blå kajal med glitter samt en blå øyenskygge. Vanligvis kjøper jeg kun sminke på salg, fordi jeg syns alt er overprisa, og idag var intet unntak. Kajalen kosta 10,- og øyeskyggen 20,- – på salg på H&M 🙂 Så da jeg kom hjem måtte jeg prøve de sammen med en lilla matte lipgloss jeg fikk i bursdagsgave. Syns det ble en fin look så tok ‘noen’ bilder. Mini photoshoot med Kali💙💚💜
Made some more jewellery lately. Love the colors. All jewellery is made with glass or crystal beads, and either nickle free metal or sterling silver. Pine cones and shells are from the local nature. Will put it in the shop asap! 🙂