Protecting the sacred in the Finnish Sápmi: Settings and challenges

Antje Neumann, Eija Ojanlatva

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


    As for many other indigenous peoples too, sacred sites mean for Sámi much more than just a description of a piece of land or a certain position of it in the landscape. They were part of their pre-Christian conception of the world, with a strong belief in the presence of ancestors and other spiritual beings. Although through Christian oppression and destruction of Sámi religion, including items and
    practices connected with Sámi religion, the traditional knowledge connected to a sacred site has been erased sometimes; in many cases, however, essential knowledge towards Sámi sacred places and burial sites, the myths and legends, as well as the tradition of healing and the existence of the sacred and sacrificial places themselves, including burial sites, is still alive (Schanche 1994, 122). Today, they are still of strong emotional significance for Sámi people in Finland (Mulk 1994, 130). Some Sámi still have the knowledge of old Sámi popular beliefs, some of them still practising as medicine-men (Ibid). Many Sámi are also familiar with the sacrificial places of their ancestors and know who or what family was using what sacrificial sites or places (Ibid). Thus, sacred sites play an important role for Sámi culture and
    their identity in our time.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationExperiencing and protecting sacred natural sites of Sámi and other indigenous peoples
    Subtitle of host publicationThe sacred arctic
    EditorsLeena Heinämäki, Thora Martina Herrmann
    PublisherSpringer International
    Number of pages15
    ISBN (Electronic)ISSN 2510-0483
    ISBN (Print)ISBN 978-3-319-48068-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Publication series

    NameSpringer Polar Sciences


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