People and nature

Sámi tradition makes no great distinction between culture (man-made) and nature (not man-made).

People and human activities are perceived as part of nature. For instance, the Sámi have no word for “wilderness”. That people are an equal part of nature is a concept we find among many of the world’s indigenous peoples.

The Sámi’s journeys through nature have traditionally been connected with usefulness. “Going for a walk” has not been a normal activity. People went out to fish, hunt, tend the herds of reindeer or to see whether the cloudberry plants had started to blossom. While they were out they had to consider the many gods and forces which existed in nature. Many places were holy and had to be treated with respect. For some people this is still a living tradition.