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news: Sami reindeer herding (NYT)

and review of Flight of the Goose by Sami journal Bake editor, Faith Fjeld

· Sami,reindeer,Inupiaq,Baiki Journal,Alaska

as the NYT writes,

"The Sami were colonized by Christian missionaries, forced to abandon their shamanistic ways and assimilate. Grim tales of Sami children being sent to boarding schools and studied by anthropologists in dehumanizing ways remain a stain on the history of the Nordic nations."

In the novel "Flight of the Goose", the two main characters (and lovers) Gretchen (Kayuqtuq) and Leif reunite at an Inupiaq reindeer herding operation inland on Seward Peninsula, where she works with her foster father Abe. It is also the site of an ancient shamanic initiation portal–– Serpentine Hotsprings.

I have a special fascination with Sami culture, as my Norwegian grandfather from Arctic Norway who came to the USA in the early 1900s proudly claimed he was of Sami heritage.

Faith Fjeld, editor of Sami magazine Baiki––who passed away in recent years––read "Flight of the Goose." I gave her copy when we met in Nome AK, where she was researching the historical collaboration of Sami and Inupiat reindeer herding. Faith wrote:

"I couldn’t put it down. Sámi scholar Rauna Kuokkanen calls shamanism 'the Indigenous paradigm' and resurrects the (Sami) word oainnádat to explain it: clear weather or a clear light that makes it possible to see things in nature. I believe the new meaning of oainnádat is to clear your ideas and thoughts in order to see properly.' Kayuqtuq does that."

~Faith Fjeld, ed. of Baiki: the International Sami Journal

Note: the photo above is in Baiki for the Alaska Reindeer Sami Project: "Rain Deer (sic) of Nome, Alaska shows reindeer herder Andy Bahr (Anderson Aslaksen Baer from Karasjok, Norway) in foreground with unidentified men and loaded sled. Reindeer were used to transport supplies and food to the miners during the gold rush. "

Photo from the collection of the Anchorage Museum of History and Art.

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