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Ecological Sustainability in Traditional Sámi Beliefs and Rituals


Mardoeke Boekraad

The book gives a detailed overview of relevant traditional indigenous Sámi myths, beliefs and rituals based on empirical findings. The author inquires whether and how they are related to an ecologically sustainable use of the natural environment. Her main sources are ancient missionary texts, writings by Sámi and contemporary interviews with Sámi individuals. The traditional value system included ecological sustainability as a survival strategy. Beliefs and rituals, transmitted via stories, incorporated these values and transmitted a feeling of a round life, despite the strict rules for right behavior and punishment for transgressions. The term round symbolized a sense of safety, interconnectedness, reliance on mutual help and respect, identification and empathy with all living beings.
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Appendix to Chapter 5


Asking Permission of the Underground People When Building the Sámi High School

Translation of the Norwegian Broadcasting Company (NRK) article

May Brit Utsi was rector at the Sámi high school when the building project started and she is of the opinion that everything was done the right way. Before one starts the building process, it is ancient Sámi tradition to ask the underground people for permission. That we did, says Utsi, and when the state building company came and wished to start constructing the Diehtosiida, she put up a lavvo on the building site. She spent the night together with some employees of the state building company.

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