Edit Blog Post
Published: August 1st 2014
Sodankyla in Lapland to Karasjok in Norway 28 July 2014
Today was a soaking of northern Finland/Lapland culture, experiences and scenery. The day was warm but mixed with blue skies as well as very overcast and showering rain. We learned so much about the Sami group of people.
After leaving Sodankyla camping site, which was our overnight stay, we headed north for Tankavaara where we had read that there was an excellent Gold Museum. It was in 2 major section, one telling the story of the local regional gold rush and the other building told the global gold story. The latter of course included a model of the 'Welcome Stranger' gold nugget that was discovered in Ballarat....and that was it on Australia..very poor. It was however, very interesting to read about the hard lives of gold panners who very rarely made their fortune - a more of a lifestyle that a successful income.
The museum also had an open air section with examples of a Sami Village.
From there, we drove through Ivalo where we had lunch, to Inari which is the seat of the Finnish Sami people. It is where their Parliament house is also,
along with a Sami-language library and music archives. Inari has a population of 550 people. The town sits on the shores of Lake Inarijarvi which has 3000 islands scattered throughout its 1153-sq-km area.
We visited the very impressive SIIDA, the Sami Museum & Nature Centre. Here we became familiar with Sami history and culture and the nature of the northern part of Sapmi. Genuine objects and buildings, beautiful photography and a diverse sound world provided us with an unforgettable experience and information package on the past and present of the Sami and on Arctic nature.
The Sami have had many struggles throughout the ages, pulled from one country to the other. In the 1990s, they received their independence and position in the parliamentary systems of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia, but mostly in an advisory position. After the Ice Age, Sami lived in Russia in the area spanning form Norway's Arctic Coast to the Kola Peninsula by hunting reindeer (Sapmi region). The struggle for land rights, cultural choices, language, religion, traditional livelihood as a minority group continue. They are however, very connected to the environment and an addition to their struggle is to sustain existing environmental status against
development such as mining and other extraction industries. Sounds very familiar to me!!!
We then made arrangements to travel 17 kms NW to a reindeer farm. We met a very interesting lady who was 2nd generation on the property, next to a large lake. They only had 14 reindeer but we learned all about how to look after them, their calving schedule, eating (we helped to feed them grass, green pellets and mushrooms which they loved), and general information. Some of them had become pets to the family but they would all end up on the dinner plate, despite being pets. They were not afraid of us. There was one big de-sexed male that was pretty demanding when it came to hand feeding.
Swedish people love their saunas. Most properties had at least one sauna built and they use them frequently. The reindeer property we visited had a sauna that her father built in 1945 and is used at least twice weekly by the family. They also roll in the soft snow during winter before they jump into the sauna - great for their health and wellbeing! It was an interesting hour.
It was then
off to Karasjok which is back in Norway.
Tot: 0.144s; Tpl: 0.059s; cc: 12; qc: 36; dbt: 0.0208s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.3mb