Making knowledges visible: Relational gathering practices and their linguistic and narrative expressions in coastal Sápmi

The project focuses on gathering practices in coastal Sámi areas in Norway. We investigate how relationships between humans and non-humans constitute knowledges, and how these knowledges are expressed in Sámi languages, narratives and place names. Our point of departure is to see meaning as inherent in peoples’ practical engagement with different environments. To study how people perceive their world, we thus need to be involved in their practices. Using a multidisciplinary approach, based on the social sciences and humanities, we ask: How are gathering practices in Lule Sámi and northern coastal Sámi communities currently done and what do they entail? 
Rather than considering nature as an external reality separated from humans, this project will explore how different natures come into being through the interaction of people with other organisms and the landscape. This practice-oriented approach is also appropriate to Sámi ways of living in the world. 
Participation in and observation of practices make it possible to explore peoples’ “tacit” knowledges. Here we aim for insights into the various relations involved in gathering practices, since practice-related knowledges and experiences may be hard to put into words in situations detached from the practice in question. In addition to participating in gathering activities on the land, interviews with women and men will be carried out both individually and in groups. Local research groups will participate in meetings and discussions and provide guidance about issues related to place names and linguistic concepts. 
By documenting, analyzing and acknowledging the Sámi practices of berry picking and egg collecting, which have so far received little academic attention, this project will provide new knowledges of relevance to Sámi society, the Norwegian majority community, as well as internationally in the context of indigenous issues. Furthermore, by explicitly emphasizing both women’s and men’s gathering practices, this study adds to the limited field of research on women’s natural resource-based activities in Sápmi.


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