News from Anár/Inari!


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.

6 thoughts on “News from Anár/Inari!

  1. Good to know that one of our new interns is getting along well. We look forward to welcoming Trevelyan at the Arctic Centre physically for a study-visit, where he will hopefully report in person from his fieldwork on the occasion of one of our afternoon coffee chats.

  2. One more contribution about Trevelyan’s characterisation of Sami as “profoundly modern yet proud of their traditions and heritage, a duality I have come to admire and appreciate”
    This came out really well in the recent adventure-documentary in the BBC series “Arctic with Bruce Parry”. Watch a small bit here There they herd reindeer with snowmobiles, helicopters, put them on ships to transport them to different pastures, etc, in the area around Tromsö. When watching this, Anna Stammler-Gossmann noticed that the image coming across of reindeer herders there is that this is a really cool job, full of adventures, action, done by good looking cool young people! This reminds us excellently that indigenous peoples are anything but remote traditional exotic marginalised poor naive noble savages – a myth created by anthropologists that still influences the public perception of livelihoods among our fieldwork partners today. Tradition and cultural heritage is not something for an old-fashioned museum. It’s about here and now, and the future!

  3. Get in touch:
    I work as a researcher in the Netherlands (Babylon – Centre for Studies of the Multicultural Society) and at Jyvaskyla University (Dept. of Languages) within the Fi.Di.Pro scheme. I am a linguist ethnographer that has written a PhD on identity construction of immigrant minority pupils in Dutch and Flemish classroom. Currently I am working on the concept of superdiversity (Vertovec 2006; 2010) and commodification of indigenous lingua-cultures, construction of indigenous authentic identities and the consequences brought by globalisation/tourism industry.
    I have carried out some fieldwork on what I have termed ‘layered multilingualism and truncated language repertoires’ in a supermarket called Kukkeli in Saariselka, Finnish Lapland. It could be constructive to exchange views and literature on the matter.


  4. Hello Max,
    thanks for introducing yourself here, and for your email. Yes, it would be nice to talk more. I imagine you would benefit most from talking to the socio-linguist in our team, Roza Laptander, but also to others. You are most welcome to visit Rovaniemi on your way to the field, and we could have a more focused talk. Immigration is definitely also a topic of high relevance in the Arctic.
    Best regards
    Florian Stammler

  5. max

    Thanks Florian. How can I get hold of Roza Laptander. We are organizing a seminar for the Sociolinguistic Symposium 19 to be held in Berlin in August 2012 (it starts on 22nd) and I am thinking/hoping that she would be interested in knowing more about it.

    The topic will be Superdiversity (Vertovec 2006; 2010) at the Margins – whether these may be geographical margins or margins within the megalopolis, or sociolinguistic margins (the use of a dialect in schooling), the use of a socially marginalised dialect in Chinese online rapping.

    Well, if you could help me getting in touch, that would be great.
    Cheers, Max

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