Meahcci – the place we live
How can we investigate relational connections to the land? How can we do it within relational contexts from a Sámi perspective? There are multiple ways of thinking about, talking about and focusing on Indigenous connections to land. In this presentation I will focus on relational contexts that refer to the interaction between human and the land itself, as a mutual interaction. The word báiki – place, is an environment that is shared by humans and non-humans. It does also mean the place where one lives, where your house is. Meahcci, the place that forms part of the title of this presentation, has many meanings, such as pastureland, open country, waste country and wilderness. To illustrate the use and connection to meahcci, I will do a short investigation of stories connected to the use of meahcci, to the ancient Sámi yoik tradition, and introduce a glimpse into Sámi written literature. Relational contexts must somehow mean that we human beings need to see the land as an actor, and that we need to act according to the terms of the land. What does this require of us, of our human interactions? Can árbemáhttu, which can be translated as “inherited knowledge based on trust”, teach us how to act and establish a place for thought when new times are coming? The relational contexts reveal that árbemáhttu is vital to the use and understanding of meahcci. Árbemáhttu contains a deep meaning of knowledge transfer between generations. It gives us some impressions of what árbemáhttu means in a contemporary life, and how it can contribute to living relations also in the future.
Lill Tove Fredriksen is from Porsanger, in Northern Norway. She is Associate Professor of Sámi Literature at UiT the Arctic University of Norway, which is located in the city of Tromso, in Northern Norway. She has published widely in the Sámi language, and in Norwegian and English, on coping skills and traditional knowledge in Sámi literature. She also participates in the public debate concerning Sámi issues. Her latest article is: “The art of hinting and allusions in Sámi literature: A reading of Jovnna-Ánde Vest’s novel trilogy Árbbolaččat” (in AlterNative, VOL 17, Issue 1, 2021).
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