On Friday, August 31, the Nordic Heritage Museum will open a “multilayered exhibition” that will feature the history and culture of the Sámi, the indigenous population of northern Europe.
Photograph by Birgitte Aarestrup
The exhibit, titled “Eight Seasons in Sápmi, the Land of the Sámi People,” is a collaborative effort among Danish-American photographer Birgitte Aarestrup; Ájtte, the Swedish Mountain and Sami Museum; and Sámi Duodji, the Sámi Handicraft Foundation; both institutions located in Jokkmokk, Sweden, according to Erin Schadt from the Nordic Heritage Museum. In addition to the exhibit, the museum will have lectures and learning opportunities that will feature Sámi culture.
The exhibit includes nearly 40 photographs taken by Birgitte Aarestrup during a journey among the Sámi. “Aarestrup’s photographs capture her experiences when she lived with the Sámi reindeer herders, listened to their stories around the fire in their traditional kåta tents, traveled to the 400-year-old Winter Market, and visited the homes of well-known artisans still creating arts and crafts in the way of their ancestors,” Schadt writes.
Sámi people are from Sápmi, which extends across Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia, encompassing a vast area of mountainous and forested country, tundra, and wetlands, according to Schadt.
The earliest traces of Sámi culture are 8,000 years old and go back to a hunting, fishing, and gathering culture, which later shifted to reindeer husbandry. Reindeer are so important to Sámi culture, in fact, that the Sámi year is divided into eight seasons, each relating to the changing nature so important for the traditional life-style and for the reindeer. The upcoming exhibition at the NordicHeritage Museum will tell today’s stories about traditional Sámi reindeer herding life and handicraft.
Here is a list of upcoming Sámi programs at the museum:
Wednesday, August 29
Lectures: Sámi Culture & Religion, with Mari-Ann Nutti and Anna Westman Kuhmunen
Tuesday, September 4
Education: Sámi Family Program
Thursday, October 11
Lecture: An Account of the Sámi: 100 Years Later, with Thomas DuBois
Tuesday, October 23
Film Screening: Suddenly Sámi