The very first time when my father brought me to this village 20 years ago, I got to know this one special local family. They looked different than people back in south and spoke strange language to each others. Later I learned that they are Skolt Sámi people. They are a minority within the Sámi minority. Europes only indigenous people. These days this village, Näätämö, is my home and visiting that family, feels like going to see grandparents.
Skolts are short, dark haired people who have found ways to survive in this northern district. Fishing, hunting, berry picking and reindeer herding have been their main ways to make living, but these days tourism is taking over here as well. And not everyone are so happy about it.
Times change and old traditions in their lives are not needed anymore, but something had to be done to save their culture and language. Skolts had this tradition to gather in same place after summer to face the freezing winter, share knowledge and together prepare for becoming summers challenges in hunting and fishing so that they can make it over next winter. Based on this Täʹlvvsijdd tradition, they are making something great!
Skolt Sámi people in my neighbor village Sevettijärvi, have started this Winter village project to build a place where they can all gather up again and share their knowledge in language and culture. When I heard about this, I wanted to support such a awesome and important project. They were happy to hear that I wanted to do something and sent me big package that included warm mittens, kettleholder so that my hands don’t get too warm and lots of literary so that I can study their ways. So excited about this Winter village project! It is possible to donate funds for these people to make their dream come true. Even the smallest donates matter. Here is only 1000 Skolt Sámi left in the world. Lets help them!