SDÁ 1-2-2007: Kaisa Rautio Helander

Sámi báikenamat 1700-logu eanamihtideamis – árbevieruid ja riekteipmárdusa dutkanfáddán

Kaisa Rautio Helander (Sámi allaskuvla)

Viečča artihkkala dás (pdf).

Sami place names in the 18th Century: Land surveying as a theme for researching traditions and conceptions of justice

The starting point for this article is the oldest land-surveying document (1776–1845) in the northernmost county of Norway, Finnmark. The research area is a traditional Sea Sami region in the eastern part of the fjord Álateaivuonna (Altafjorden in Norwegian) and the island Sievju (Seiland in Norwegian). The research area is called Várggonuorri, which is the name of the strait between the island and the mainland. The strait Várggonuorri is a connector, not a separator in the sense of resource use. Land was surveyed in this area between 1781 and 1783.

Sami place names, especially settlement names and names of meadows, are examined in the land surveying document from the Várggonuorri area. The use of Sami place names is connected to the use of the landscape, traditional livelihoods and the division of resource areas in Sami villages. These themes also have a clear connection with Sami conceptions of justice. Hence the purpose of the article is to research Sami place names and document and verify Sami conceptions of justice.

The Sami names of the meadows show clearly that Sami families in Várggonuorri area used many areas in the fjords and also on the island of Sievju as their meadow lands. Place name usage also demonstrates that it is typical in Várggonuorri to have shared meadow areas for many families that were called with one Sami name, such as Selge Riid (current spelling Sealgeriidi). Sealgeriidi was a meadow area for at least twelve families in the 1770’s. The functionality of using just one place name for many meadows can be understood as a conception of justice. The division of one meadow area was clearly regulated by traditional use connected with the knowledge of which part of the meadow areas belonged to which families. That is why there was no further need to differentiate between the names of the meadows in shared areas.