A Major National Prize Given to Eastern Sámi Atlas

The Kalevala Association, the most important organisation in Finland devoted to the study and understanding of traditional culture in Finland has decided to give this years ”Kekrinpäiväpalkinto 2011”“Best National Work on Traditions 2011″ to Tero and Kaisu Mustonen from the Snowchange Cooperative based on the work of Eastern Sámi Atlas which was released in February 2011. The IPCCA Grant for 2010 to the Eastern Sámi made the publication of this Atlas possible. The Award is 1000 Euros. Coinciding with the Prize will be large media coverage and this annual Prize is considered a very powerful statement in society, it has been given out since 1965. This unique publication tells the stories of the Eastern Sámi Peoples. The book is the result of eleven years of research in Kola Peninsula. Its aim is to provide a clear view of the histories, land use and occupancy on the lives of the Indigenous societies and peoples in the Eastern part of Sápmi homelands and also share their contemporary views. It provides an important and unique basis for discussions and processes related to Indigenous uses of the land. Included are artworks, unique photos, poems, songs and other cultural reflections of this region. No such book has ever been published about the Eastern Sámi with the Eastern Sámi.

This is a social and cultural atlas that highlights the historical situation of the Nations of the region and documents the changes and events of Soviet rule leading up to the contemporary post-Soviet context. Materials are drawn from early historical and ethnographic documents, explorer accounts, oral histories of the Sámi themselves and contemporary views. Materials here have been collected and produced since 1999. Most of them have never been published before. Over 65 maps drawn and redrawn from several sources portray the region in a clear manner. The Eastern Sámi communities who took part in the work during 1999-2010 have been able to influence the process at all stages of the project, from early contacts for documentation of oral histories to writing the manuscript of the atlas. Using these mechanisms the Sámi have been co-researchers owning their own knowledge. No such book has ever been published about Finnish or Russian Indigenous Peoples.

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