Life in Laponia
People have lived in the area which now forms Laponia World Heritage Site ever since the last of the inland ice cap disappeared. Every stream, forest, hill, rock, and lake has a name. People, animals and plants have adapted to extreme contrasts of wind and calm, bare ground and snow, light and dark, warmth and cold. Knowledge of how to live off nature without overexploiting its riches has been handed down from generation to generation.
“Allávárre means a lot to me. This is where I grew up and where my roots are. Today the village is deserted. In the winter I am alone here for days without seeing a car.” Rikard Åström, Allávárre. “It makes you happy to hear grunting. There are calves, there are cows and bull reindeer. This year turned out all right too. They survived. It makes you incredibly happy to experience this.” Helena Länta, Jåhkågaska tjiellde “Back then we hardly had anything. We didn’t have cars or anything else. And we were used to getting by with very little. Now when there is a road and everybody has a car it is a whole different world.” Per Suorra, Viedás “This was my parents’ greatest gift to me, the summers at Dievssa. Life there was all about managing everything yourself, even as a child.” Lena Viltok “Forest Sámi wishes for warmth and plenty of mosquitoes. The mosquito is our most faithful servant and our best friend. And they are cheap to run,” says Per-Erik Kemi, who receives help from the mosquitoes in rounding up the reindeer. “Since dad didn’t have any sons he brought me and my sister. If you take your children along, they’ll become interested. And we’re both interested in hunting. Both my sister and I.” Titti Bergman about being in Sjávnja “Thanks to the road and the dam construction on Siidasjávri, moving to the mountains became easier. Women and children started coming along. It became easier to move with the reindeer across rivers and further west, to Njunjis. But the road and the dam did not only bring advantages, there was much more traffic on the road and many tourists, anglers and small game hunters started coming here.” Per Gustav Nutti, Baste čearru “Having grown up with reindeer herding, it was quite natural for me to start working with reindeer. You’re free, but you’re not. It’s largely the reindeer, the weather and the seasons that are my employers. You don’t get rich moneywise, but you live a happy life.” Jessica Länta, Jåhkågaska tjiellde