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1 March 2016 Reconstructing Food Ways: Role of Skolt Sami Cultural Revitalization Programs in Local Plant Use
Natalia Magnani
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Cultural programs, such as revitalization forums, support community goals of resilience, whether by conserving and recreating particular plant uses, or by fostering dynamic traditions marked by innovation and adoption of new wild food uses and ideologies. This paper explores the significance of traditional plant revitalization forums for the Sevettijärvi-Näätämö community, located in northern Finland in close proximity to Norwegian and Russian borders. Along with Finns and other Sami groups, this region comprises a significant Skolt Sami population present in the area since relocation from Petsamo (in particular Suenjel sijd) after World War II. The unique history of the region and past marginalization and assimilation pressures have stimulated current revitalization initiatives, which seek to celebrate Skolt Sami culture and revitalize traditional skills and knowledge, including food traditions. The study compares food tradition presentations during a summer cultural festival with ethnographic data on wild food use in Sevettijärvi-Näätämö. This comparison explores selection of knowledge for revitalization forums, and the potential impact of this selection on wild food use. Results show that the types of plant and fungi uses (in particular Inonotus obliquus and the inner bark of Pinus sylvestris) presented in revitalization forums reflect a blend of historical and recent nutritional influences. These plants and fungi may be well-known and recorded anthropologically or commercialized and commonly available. On the other hand, cultural programs focus on food traditions while excluding medicinal plants. Data on local plant use demonstrates that the degree to which revitalization forums impact plant use may depend on opportunities for acquiring skills through other avenues.

© 2016 Society of Ethnobiology
Natalia Magnani "Reconstructing Food Ways: Role of Skolt Sami Cultural Revitalization Programs in Local Plant Use," Journal of Ethnobiology 36(1), 85-104, (1 March 2016).
Published: 1 March 2016
chaga mushroom
consumption trends
cultural revitalization
Scots pine inner bark
wild plants
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