Lennart Pittja and Dan Jonasson leave VisitSápmi

We have been founders and then executives at VisitSápmi for five years. Now we have come to the end of the road and leave VisitSápmi for new work. To operate VisitSápmi without some public Sámi funding has led to impossible work conditions and to loss of credibility as a Sámi tourism organization. The small and financially weak Sami tourism entrepreneurs cannot themselves financially carry the costs of a tourism organization and a quality labelling system. However much they appreciate VisitSápmi. We have for several years been trying to convince the main stake holders about the importance of adding VisitSápmi to the group of Sámi organizations supported by public funding. We have not succeeded.

We hope that Sámi stake holders in the future realise that tourism is an industry that has to be addressed in a professional manner in order to protect Sámi culture, heritage and land from tourism exploitation and misuse. Sámi tourism can be a positive force when it is integrated with responsible tourism, sustainable tourism and Sámi values. Tourism can be a partner to create a positive image of Sápmi that make it obvious we all need to protect and preserve Sápmi traditions and ways of life from exploiting industrial and other forces. These were the basics why VisitSápmi was created.

It has been a privilege to work with Sámi from all Sápmi, Sámi outside of Sápmi and people all over the world related to the Sámi and those who are great friends of Sápmi.

We thank all of you who supported us!

Lennart Pittja, who will focus on his own company.

Dan Jonasson, who has been employed as project manager at the County Tourism Board of Västerbotten.

Lennart Pittja and Dan Jonasson leave VisitSápmi

Lennart Pittja och Dan Jonasson slutar på VisitSápmi

Vi två har fungerat som grundare och verksamhetsansvariga på VisitSápmi i fem år. Nu måste vi sluta. Att driva VisitSápmi utan en viss offentlig samisk grundfinansiering innebär ingen anställningstrygghet och en förtroendekris för VisitSápmi. Organisationen blir inte en naturlig del av det samiska näringslivet och samhället. De små och ekonomiskt svaga samiska turismentreprenörerna kan inte bära kostnaden för en turismorganisation. Hur mycket de än tycker vi behövs. Vi har under flera år försökt att övertyga de viktigaste aktörerna om nyttan med att delfinansiera VisitSápmi. Men vi har inte fått gehör får våra förslag och går nu vidare i andra verksamheter. Det innebär också att vi kliver av posterna i styrelsen för VisitSápmi intresseförening.

Vi hoppas att samiska intressen i framtiden inser att turismen är en näring som man måste investera i på ett proffsigt sätt för att värna samisk kultur och för att undvika problem med turismen. VisitSápmis värdegrund för turism innebär en ansvarsfull turism, ett inkomsttillskott, den sprider en positiv bild av Sápmi och bevarar samiska traditioner och samisk gemenskap i hela Sápmi. 

 Det har varit en glädje att arbeta med samer och vänner till Sápmi från hela världen. Vi hälsar och tackar alla er som stöttat oss!

Lennart Pittja, som kommer att satsa på eget företagande.

Dan Jonasson, som blir projektledare på länsturismen i Västerbotten.

Lennart Pittja och Dan Jonasson slutar på VisitSápmi

Investigating ancestral land

The right to use land for reindeer herding has been challenged since the wealth of Sápmi land became evident – minerals, forests, energy, fish, game and recreation. The land was divided, bought and exploited with the Sámi still on it trying to adjust and claim rights. The new landowners soon enough started to question the Sámi right to their traditional land for reindeer husbandry, fishing and hunting. One method has been to dispute Sámi was on the land before the colonizers came. Archaeology has become a Sámi tool in this debate. Since Sámi language was not a written language and since Sámi by tradition left very few marks on the land it has been hard to prove indigenous rights against Sweden. The enormous raw material wealth of Northern Sweden and those capitalizing from it probably adds to Swedish reluctance to accept Sámi rights. This is a glimpse into the life of some unveiling the truth of Sámi ancestry. Text interpreted from an article By Jörgen Sundin at allehanda.se and Sameradion.

Skärmklipp fornminnen
Photo: Jörgen Sundin. Archaeologist Bernt Ove Viklund still going strong.

In Resele deep forests north of Sollefteå archaeologist Bernt Ove Viklund have found exciting remains from ancient Sámi homesteads. A team is now mapping and cataloguing the abundant findings.

  • I am always happy when I find something like this. You know, I’m not that young anymore. I am soon 65 and have been doing this for a long time. And will keep doing it as long as my legs can carry me. I’m very, very happy, said Bernt Ove Viklund. And I find something new all the time.

They have now documented close to 140 findings. One purpose is to write a map and perhaps an illustration showing how the home stead might have looked like. The Viklund discoveries does show that reindeer husbandry have existed in the area since ancient times.

– This is not an archaeological investigation. We are doing this for inventory purposes because of a planned windmill plant project. But I estimate that some of the findings originate from around 500 – 600 AD, says Viklund.

Journalist on the spot Sundin like most not familiar to findings like these find it hard discover anything walking together with Viklund. But the trained eye of Viklund sees where there may be fire hearths. With a probe he quickly and correctly locates an old hearth. The Sámi fire hearths can be distinguished by their oval shape. This together with knowledge that this is ancient reindeer herding land strengthen the old Sámi connection. A group of fire hearths on a row tell that there was probably a kåta (Sámi tentipi) built above them.

Reporter Sundin also met Sámi Thomas Kroik Kristoffersson and Lena Kroik from Voernese Sámi community who are partners in the project.

  • This is traditional land our reindeer graze in the winter. We Sámi have it in our culture not to leave traces in nature. Therefore, it can be difficult to find proof of our presence here a long time ago, says Lena Kroik. Archaeology can help us with this.

Food for thought. If you travel from Resele 15 km south-east along River Ångermanälven  you come to Nämforsen. Here a huge amount of rock art have been found dating 6 000 years back. Moose is the dominant animal in these carvings but there is also an abundance of different objects, humans and animals. The moose as the reindeer is an important part of Sámi mythology as with other indigenous peoples in the Arctic.

Food for thought. A reason for these archaeological investigations to be conducted is the fact that a windmill park is planned for the area. That will get you funding to investigate.

Read more about Sámi history at our NatGeo Stories site – klick on ”South Sámi of Scandinavia”. Also learn more at ”Sámi and myths from the Arctic”.

Food for thought. My great grandmother and great grandfather fell in love somewhere around here. She Sámi and he railroad worker and lumber jack from Småland in the south.

By,

Dan Jonasson

 

 

 

 

Investigating ancestral land

Go hiking in Sámi culture and nature – the Ammarnäs way

Middle of June people in village Ammarnäs – the most northen part of South Sápmi – will celebrate opening of a sustainable trail system for all breeds of hikers.

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Photo: Ewa Ljungdahl

 

200 km of looped trails that start and end in Ammarnäs and 70 km of trails exploring from Ammarnäs and beyond will allow the hiker to experience Sámi and Nordic landscapes and culture in a variety of ways – on foot. Trails have been created that both show and protect natural and cultural heritage – and take care reindeer won’t be stressed by hikers. This makes it possible for the hiker to tailor a hike that include special interests, time at disposal and stamina.

One of the locals behind this hiking system is Oswald Jonsson, reindeer herder and owner of Sápmi Experience company Fjällhästen.

Check out our map and locate Ammarnäs: Sápmi map

 

For more information:

Ann-Kristine Vinka Marknadsansvarig

Destination Ammarnäs

Phone + 46 (0)952-60 000

info@visitammarnas.se

Go hiking in Sámi culture and nature – the Ammarnäs way

Vandringar för alla i Ammarnäs

Den 12  juni är det invigning av 7 mil nya vandringsleder och 20 mil loopar (ringleder) i Ammarnäs!

ammarnäs måne nr
Foto: Neil Rogers

 

För att möta nya trender och tillfredsställa kunskapsinriktade besökare har Destination Ammarnäs och bl.a. samiska partners satsat på att tillgängliggöra Vindelfjällen, ett av Europas största naturskyddade område, på ett hållbart och ansvarsfullt sätt. Utbyggnaden av närlederna är ett första steg!

Under invigningsdagen den 12 juni bjuds det på en försmak av vad området har att erbjuda, följt av middag, aktiviteter och konsert med lokala och samiska artister. Invigningen sker i anslutning till den årliga ”lapphelgen” som går av stapeln den 12-14 juni, ett fint tillfälle att besöka Ammarnäs!

På VisitSápmi har vi länge följt det här arbetet och vet att Sápmi Experience märkta företaget Fjällhästen genom renskötare Oswald Jonsson varit en stark kraft för att få till dessa vandringsleder. Vandraren kommer att kunna skräddarsy sin vandringstur utifrån intressen, ork och hur länge man vill vara på tur.

Värdar under invigningsdagarna är bland annat Destination Ammarnäs och Ammarnäs Sameförening. Om du vill vara med om invigningen läs mer här: http://visitammarnas.se/?page_id=946

 

För mer information:

Ann-Kristine Vinka, Marknadsansvarig

Destination Ammarnäs

Telefon: + 46 (0)952-60 000

info@visitammarnas.se

Visitammarnas.se

 

Vandringar för alla i Ammarnäs

South Sámi of Scandinavia

”We have always been here”. This is often the spontaneous answer you get if you ask a South Sámi how long they have been in central Scandinavia. Researchers have come up with different theories during different eras. Today most lean towards the Sámi being right.

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Photo: Ewa Ljungdahl

The south Sámi is a distinct cultural group of Sámi that differ from those further north. Their language is different, handicraft and design differ as well as some traditions and ways of life. The south Sámi are very keen to keep their Sámi culture alive which is a struggle being a minority. They are few in an already rather weak Sámi population. Most Sámi live further north and particularly in Northern Norway.

Read about the South Sámi on VisitSápmi NatGeostories: klick the link to South Sámi of Scandinavia and let cursor guide you over the photographs to different stories by archeologist Ewa Ljungdahl at Gaaltije South Sámi Culture and Information Centre in Östersund.

If you read your NatGeo Stories well you will learn what the strange hole is in the photograph above.

 

South Sámi of Scandinavia