The Snowchange Archives are designed to be a living tool for stakeholders in the work of preserving and using the voices from the communities. 2000-2005 as well as 2005-2018 documentation materials have been archived. In January 2018 we opened the Snowchange Northern Visual Histories web platform that will house many of the community materials from the past and on-going work.
In early 2011 all Saami materials from Snowchange were stored through repatriation process into Siida Saami Museum in Inari. However, Snowchange will continue to serve requests of this material too so the archives will be shared between the Saami families, Snowchange and Siida.
The Snowchange Cooperative works closely with Digital Library for Indigenous Science Resources at the Tapestry Institute, USA to conduct this work. Thanks to their help the digitalisation and archival has been expanded and quickened.
Despite growing recognition of the importance of traditional knowledge, and awareness of the danger of such knowledge vanishing in a rapidly changing world, very little has actually been done in the way of scientific work and systematic preservation.
The collection and recording of the traditional, local knowledge, and making this accessible to researchers, students and the public through the construction of an “Snowchange archive”, using electronic referencing and web access, will have the following advantages:
Educational: The participation of students and researchers in the construction of the archive and in the collection of materials to be archived will in itself constitute a valuable educational experience. For others, the archive will serve as a valuable educational resource for teaching in anthropology, human geography, ethnography, ethnology, environmental science, history, social and economic development, urban and rural studies, and many other subjects, with special attention to the local situation.
The archive will allow future generations to trace on-going community development and to experience real accounts by real people who are vehicles of the traditional knowledge. In addition to supporting the academic component of learning, the stories and real skills of the people can stimulate a re-traditionalization of life and a relearning of skills which have in the past supported Arctic cultures (and which may continue to do so, even in the future).
Scientific: The Snowchange Project will provide a resource through which to study social and environmental changes in specific local contexts through long-term observation and documentation.
Traditional knowledge is of scientific interest as a (largely unexplored) example of knowledge acquisition and transmission, a medium of social cohesion, and a set of human strategies for coping with social and natural environments. The archive will thus make available a set of valuable materials for scientific study.
Cultural: Traditional, local knowledge is a hidden, but important, consitutent of a culture, which is important to the maintainance of social and personal identity. It contributes to the preservation of the basic social fabric in a period of rapid and de-stabilizing change.
It adds to the richness and diversity of experience no less than other cultural components such as art, literature or music. Like these other components, it deserves to be available to the public, but unlike the others, it is very difficult to display.
Practical: The traditional knowledge developed within local communities or elsewhere, is grounded in the close interaction between people and their local ecosystems over periods of hundreds, or even thousands, of years.
It normally reflects subtle strategies for maintaining social cohesion and for making wise use of renewable natural resources in ways that are inherently sustainable. It also provides insights into ways of coping with social and natural environments. Although the strategies and insights of traditional knowledge may become in various ways obsolete when the matrix surrounding human life undergoes rapid and drastic change, they may in many other cases be of help in understanding and adjusting to change and novelty.
Traditional knowledge provides culturally specific tools which enable people to adapt strange and unexpected influences to local. The availability of such knowledge through a searchable and accessible archive will thus provide advantages for the conduct of social life.
In the 2010s, a Oral History and Traditional Knowledge Archive is planned to be housed in Selkie, North Karelia, Finland. Check our publications for the ways the communities have wished to share their materials through books.
If you have a question or a request regarding the Snowchange Archives, please send an email to