Unspoiled nature like this is often described as wilderness. It’s not! People have lived here for thousands of years. My people. My family. We have herd the reindeer here. Hunted ptarmigan and moose. Picked berries and caught the fish in the river. People have lived their lives here, one generation following the generation before. Child feet have stumbled over the rocks here. And tired reindeer herdsmen have finally got some rest for the night in the shelter of the traditional Sámi house, well hidden in the forest along the river.
Life here has been close to nature, leaving nothing else but footprints behind. There’s an immense amount of wisdom and knowledge behind the thousands of years of Sámi life here.
I want to share this little story with you. I have been working for more than 20 years in tourism, and I often see examples of how Sámi culture is reduced, simplified and described with stereotypes that don’t make my culture and the Sámi land – Sápmi – justice. Last night I saw yet another nice photo over part of Sápmi and the captioning described the land as “unspoiled wilderness”. The photo was posted by the national tourism board in one of their channels of social media. But it could be the Municipality. A museum. A journalist or anyone else for that matter.
There are other ways to tell the story of Sweden, Swedish Lapland and Sápmi. Instead of using simplification and stereotypes – one can learn more and try to share a more interesting and inspiring story.
I have been working together with Swedish Lapland Tourism Board a lot in the recent years. Swedish Lapland has all the channels in the social media too. Every day they share stories, photos and films from this area and inspire people to travel here. They do it with a deep understanding for Sápmi and Sámi life and culture. So Swedish Lapland’s post on Instagram is something else than unspoiled wilderness.
And in my opinion (ok, I’m a bit biased) this is so much more interesting and inspiring.
I’m full of admiration for the endless work Swedish Lapland Visitors Board do to inspire people to learn more about this part of the world! This is only an Instagram post – but it shows that it’s possible to move away from stereotypes! And it makes me happy and proud. So I want to share my gratitude for people who makes a difference – thanks Håkan, Maria, Johanna, Anna, Erika, Anna, Emma, Petronella, Anna (again!), Camilla, Cecilia, Dan, Anna-Maria, Einar – I hope I didn’t forget anyone…
Imagine what an Instagram post can do – at least it generated a post on Sápmi Nature website and lots of gratitude to a great team of awesome people!