The Sámi cultural landscape lacks solid, visible boundaries. Traces of human activity are subtle and blend into the landscape. For those who can interpret the signs and understand the traces, and know the names and remember the tales, the landscape is apparent. For the uninitiated, the message is invisible and inaccessible.
The purpose of this text is to provide a glimpse into a landscape built on the experience of earlier generations. This knowledge provides the occasional visitor to Vindelfjällen with a better understanding of the landscape. One should also be aware that everyone, irrespective of one’s origin, possesses an inner map that builds on one’s own and earlier experiences. Understanding place names improves one’s own inner map. Several village residents’ associations now document the local dialectal terms for various places: fields, fishing and hunting sites, paths etc with special names.
It is not unusual for natural objects, such as large boulders, strangely formed mountains, waterfalls and so on to have tales associated with them. Names for natural features reflect how the landscape and its features are appreciated. Places with religious or mystical associations have names; Bassevarre and Ahkavarre are holy mountains. Siejddegavva is also a holy place.
Most of Vindelfjällen belongs to the Ume Sámi language area. Ume Sámi is a transitory form between Lule Sámi and South Sámi. Here we provide a number of Ume Sámi landscape terms.
Learn some of the many landscape words that are part of the Sámi cultural landscape.
Ájtenjasse small building for storage
Aphe large mire
Bákttie Steep cliff
Bertejaure björksjön Biertiejávrrie = the lake on the edge of the mountain
Biergienas take care alone in the mountain
Bissitjs probably from bissie=holy
Dalevárdduo Low mountain in the shape of a box for meat storage
Gautsträsk Geävttsjávrrie the lake skålsjön
Tjåhke mountain top
Jávrátje small lake
Juhkegasske between streams
Gájsátje high mountain
Gájssie steep mountain
Gieråjvvie head of a grouse
Lijbuojávrrie flat stone lake
Lihpuojávrrie same as Lijbuo
Lusspie were a river runs out of a lake
Njierievbeäjvvie low mountain with flat landscape beside