valkonena and valkonena on sámi and nature


Jarno Valkonena and Sanna Valkonena, ‘Contesting the Nature Relations of Sámi Culture’, Acta Borealia: A Nordic Journal of Circumpolar Societies. Published online: 14 Apr 2014

Sámi culture is said to be characterized by a very close relationship to nature, regardless of time and place. However, the human–nature relation is a complex, multidimensional issue. Before we can make any substantive claims about the Sámi relationship to nature, we need first of all to define the “nature” to which the Sámi relate themselves. We study presentations of the Sámi nature relation and compare them to empirical research. We argue that there are in fact two different nature relations, which we describe as practical and discursive. It seems that on the one hand, the “special” nature relation of the Sámi refers to local habits and areas and therefore is not generalizable. On the other hand, there are political and performative constructions of indigenous Sámi identity that are tied to notions of nature relations.

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