My name is Trevelyan Wing, and I am currently conducting a research project in Inari, Finland, under the supervision of Dr. Nuccio Mazzullo. My fieldwork focuses on how environmental issues, related to climate change, are affecting Sámi reindeer herders and the overall institution of reindeer herding. I will be interviewing a number of herders in the coming weeks, and compiling narratives relevant to this study.
To provide some background information, I recently finished my second year of university studies at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, USA, where my major is History with a concentration in International Relations. Global climate change is among my primary areas of interest, and I have been heavily involved with stimulating dialogue on the subject across academic disciplines on campus in my capacity as Chair of the Dartmouth Council on Climate Change. These activities inspired the present research, though my overall interest in the region and exposure to Sámi culture stretches back for some years. I travelled widely through Finnmark and across Swedish and Finnish Lapland in my mid-teens, and for a time attended high school in Östersund, Sweden, a center for the study of South Sámi culture situated in the southern region of Sápmi.
I’ve been familiarizing myself with various aspects of life in the village since arriving in late July, spending hours sifting through the great wealth of information provided by the Inari Sámi Museum (Siida), attending local events with new Sámi acquaintances, and transcribing information gleaned from informal conversations with locals and other Sámi passing through.
Reflecting on my time here so far, I’ve found the Sámi people to be profoundly modern yet proud of their traditions and heritage, a duality I have come to admire and appreciate. Their friendliness and openness have been impressed upon me every day, and people have been particularly forthcoming with helpful information and insights into various aspects of Sámi culture.
I look forward to the upcoming interviews with great anticipation, and to posting further observations and findings here as the research progresses.