Petsamo Life

Tales of a Sámi

I am now updating my father’s stories and will be posting them to my YouTube channel.

Tales of a Sámi
updated: 2023

My father recorded some audio tapes of his life in Lapland. Here are some .mp3 file excerpts from those tapes.

I am also working on a translation of his stories. Many thanks to my brother Asko, for preserving the tapes, and to my nephew Rainer, for converting them to digital format.

My Saami grandmother

My Saami grandmother

These stories are from my childhood, from what I remember of stories that my Aiti told me. Aiti was born in Vesisaari, Norway, behind Vesisaari, Anni Joki. When Aiti (Maria Dahl) was small girl she was brought to Petsamo. At that time there were 3 Lapp families living there. Matti, Panko, Piera Hans, Maripik Mari Larssen, who was called Poro Kuningatar (reindeer queen).

She was raised with this woman from a small child until she grew up. As a child growing up, she traveled with her adoptive mother, throughout the shores of Petsamo. She took care of the reindeer in winter, chopped wood and herded the reindeer home. She did all the women’s and men’s chores as well, as there were no men in the family. Her adopted mother was elderly and also quite ill.

Around the age of 20 she went to Norway in the spring to work in the fishing camps. She met a Finnish fishermen and married him. In the fall after fishing was over, they moved back to Kola, Russia, where he was from.

Isa was a kirves mies (carpenter) and worked as a boat builder in the winter. One time, when he had 7 sons and 1 daughter he got very sick. He had a cut on his hand, and with the lack of doctors, he got sick and died.

He died at 3 am and 3 hours later at 6 am I was born, 2 weeks prematurely. Oct. 20, 1906.

When I was 1 1/2 years old, Aiti moved us back to Petsamo.