Ade Adepitan spends time with the indigenous Sami people in Northern Finland to find out how tourism plays a big part in keeping their culture alive.
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Coming up on the programme this week, I am on an Arctic adventure
deep in Finnish Lapland. I hang out with a rapper who is helping to
preserve a nearly extinct Arctic language. And I get possibly too
close to a reindeer round-up. I would not want to be hit by one of
them, though. Hello and welcome to the travel show
with me. This week we are in the north of Finland. To be precise, we
are in Inari, home to the Indigenous Sami people whose culture and
language is under threat. I have come here to spend time with the
Sami people to see how tourism is saving their culture. Finnish
Lapland is as close as it gets to a winter wonderland. Over 1 million
tourists come here every year in search of the Northern lights, Santa
and his reindeer. The Sami are the Indigenous people who live in this
part of the world. From the north of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the far
north-eastern part of Russia. There are around 6000 Samis left in this
part of Finland and here they are known as the Inari because they live
around Lake Inari, 250 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. I have
never been so far north. After landing in the local town, just a
1.5 hour flight from Helsinki, I meet my first Inari friend. The!
Welcome to Finland. I am Johan. Look at your outfits! You look amazing!
Thank you. Is this our transport? Yes. It will be our transport for
this trip. We have so much planned for you. I love that hat. That is
the way forward. It is really warm. Life here must be quite difficult.
There is snow on the ground for seven monthss of the year and the
most practical way to move around is by snowmobile. So this is the best
way to get there? There is no other way to get there. OK. So this is how
I am rolling. And you will teach me? Yes. These things revolutionised
life here. We got them about 50 or 60 years ago. It made things firies
here. What did you use before these? Skis. Skis and reindeer. Old school.
Normally when you are driving you have your feet in here and your
hands on the bar and if you want to go right you pull right, left you
pull left. The break we have on the left. This is the panic button. If
something happens you just hit that one. I hit that Barton and scream?
-- button. It is so hard to believe that I am on a snowmobile going
across Lake Inari in Finland. Believe me, there is thousands and
thousands of gallons of water. It is crazy. This place is so beautiful. I
was not expecting bad! -- that! Around 30 years ago, the Inari Sami
culture was on the verge of extinction. Inevitably there has
been a drift to the city, to an easier life. Traditional cultures
experience that lost the world over. But these days, tourism is creating
jobs, allowing some young Sami to move back home. Inari Sami culture
has been under pressure for decades. In the past, this community it was
marginalised and their mother tongue banned from schools. With only 400
Sami Inari speakers, the language is still threatened. But one man is
coming to the rescue, using an unconventional method.
You are a hip-hop artist and you wrap in your native language, Inari.
Yes. Inari Sami language. Tell me about it. I love hip-hop at the last
place I would expect to find a hip-hop artist is in Lapland. Yes.
The middle of nowhere. Many people think it is quite weird doing
hip-hop gangsta rap in Inari Sami language, spoken by 400 people. That
is the way I am telling about this, this minority in a minority. I like
the sound. It is mystical, people do not know it. There are only 400
Inari Sami speakers in the world. I mean... In the case, what is the
average age of your listeners? The most people who speak Inari Sami as
their mother tongue are mostly over 50 years old. Older people. And
those older people, a day into hip-hop? I don't think so. But there
is a new generation now. OK. Can you spit some bars for us? I am pretty
sure that this will be the premiere of BBC of anyone hearing someone
wrap in Inari Sami. We are looking forward to this.
Inari Sami in the house! That is wicked! I loved it. I felt it. I was
there. My first day in Lapland is nearly over. It has been great. I
learnt to use a snowmobile which is practical and a lot of fun. Tomorrow
I head into the forest and before I go into the forest I want to get the
correct gear and I need some traditional Sami closing. I have
heard that there is someone here who can help me out with that. Fellow!
Halo! Nice to meet you. I am Stefanie. Coming in. Sami handicraft
is centuries old and dates back to a time when the Sami were far more
isolated from the outside world than they are today. What are you making?
A belt? How long does it take you? It takes me five hours but people
who have done at their whole life, it does not take them long. Move
quicker, Stefanie! Come on. Using wool, Atlas, wood and reindeer skin,
the Sami we've centuries-old patterns, each specific to a
particular area or family. Stefanie was forced to move away to look for
work but she has recently returned back to Inari and teachers
handicraft making to tourists. I got bored. Sad in Finland. And my
grandmother gave me the passion to come here and learn the language.
How important is it for you to keep the tradition going? There are very
very few handicraft makers who do this. It is very important for me.
It is light, sometimes I think, who would I be if I did not do these
things? Is a difficult? Could I have a go? I don't know... Yes, of
course. So it needs to be tight? There goes my ribs. This looks so
complicated. And that goes up? I think I need, like... Four pairs of
hands. I go through? There? Yes. And then you pull it. And then you have
to do that over and over for every row? I'm surprised it only takes
five hours. This would take me five days! It is complicated. Here are
some gloves for you. How many hours did they take you to make? Those
ones did not take me long. When you have done it for years that you can
do that with your eyes closed. Superb. How do I look? You look
supercool. Still to come: I try my hand at
rounding up the reindeer here. So, don't go away! The Travel Show, your
essential guide, wherever you're headed!
Now, back to my adventure with the Indigenous people here in northern
Finland. It's -13 Celsius, and guess what my friends have got lined up
for me? We going to go fishing today. You've been fishing before?
I've never been fishing before. Well, I have, I've been to the
supermarket and looked for different fish on different shelves. A really
important question, do I get to use the snowmobile again? Guess is! Oh,
yes! Lets rock 'n' roll -- Yes! The Indigenous people have lived in
harmony with nature here for thousands of years. The wilderness
around Lake Nari is virtually on unspoiled, unlike the rest of
Europe, which has been largely harmed by companies. Fishing is one
of the most popular sports for both tourists and locals. Their's a real
emphasis on low impact tourism here, playing a big part in protecting
this fragile Arctic ecosystem. There are not many places to work around
here, not everybody can be a reindeer herd. Other people are
interested in the lifestyle we have. It gives the possibility to earn
money and make a living out of tourism. How important is it to you
that the Saami lifestyle continues and that you can pass it on from one
generation to another? I think about the future, I wonder what I will do
when I am grown up, or what my children will do. I like to have
this lifestyle, to remain here. So, fish and potatoes on Monday,
potatoes and fished on Tuesday... Wednesday, maybe reindeer bits? Then
back to fish and potatoes on Thursday. It's a great way to keep
warm! The real thrill here is trying to catch fish with a rod. Can I have
a go? There are fish below us, swimming under one metre of ice. I'm
keeping warm! Well done, well done. It's getting tough! Their's layers
under here. See, I did all the hard work! -- There's. The next thing to
do is to find out if there are fishes. You could tell me anything
and I believe you! Is at freshwater? , -- oh, that's good -- it. With
only a handful of shops around, most fish still have to be caught rather
than purchased, otherwise nobody would eat. Take care of that one, if
you see it running, grab it. It's always good to have something to
drink with you when you're out here. I need to improve my technique. But
I'm multitasking! Multiple chances to get fish. Cheers. Cheers. Cheers.
At the moment, nothing is biting, so I am leaving them behind in the hope
that they catch something while I go to find an animal that captures the
name of everyone who comes to this land. Now, this is something I've
been looking for two ever since I got here. Oh, this feels really
revoked. We are deep in the forest. I've come here because I'm going to
meet a traditional Saami reindeer herd. He's going to give me just a
little experience of the traditional Saami lifestyle. Hello! Nice to meet
you. Nice to meet you. Welcome. What have you got here? I have got some
last two, that is how we catch the reindeer. -- lassoo. We may be here
for some time! Here we go. OK, Mr reindeer. Yes! Well done. -- lasoo.
Like many herdsmen here, Petri supplement his income with tourism.
He takes tourists into the forest to experience living like a herd for a
day. I can't even the reindeer, I can't imagine how had it must be to
survive in these conditions. But the Saami have been doing this for
hundreds of thousands of years -- herder. There are more reindeer than
people here. Reindeer needs of large areas of unspoiled forest to find
the little food that is buried under the Snow. Is difficult in the
winter. They get their own food in the forest. They did in the snow,
they like it on the land. They are coming down, they know you're here!
The semi- regional parliament looks after not just their heritage but
also their rights to land and natural resources -- Saami. If
someone come here and offered me a good job in the big city, told me,
you'd get $1 million every year, I would say, you can take it.
Fantastic! You're not a millionaire, but you're a happy man because
you've got the perfect office. Let's rock and roll. Reindeer herding is
in his blood. These animals have been crucial to his family for
survival for generations, providing food, clothing and transport. We are
surrounded by reindeer. This is so beautiful. Look at them!
how many reindeer do you have? How much money in the bank do you have?
OK, I won't ask how many! It's incredible to think that these
animals find any food in these windswept and frozen woods. Most
reindeer rely on lichen as a food source in winter. Petri supplement
their diet to increase their chances of survival until the springtime.
So, how cold does it get out here? Now, it's only -5. Only! Three weeks
ago, it was -40 four. There is one weekend where it was -50 one. Oh my
god. It must be impossible to work... No, no. You have the right
clothes!. It's not bad weather, it is the bad clothes! Are we going to
build a fire? Yes. Cool! It's a bit hairy, at times you think they're
going to hit you with their antlers. But they avoid you. They're only
interested in the food and each other. I wouldn't want to get hit by
one of them though. -- them, though. Well, I've had an amazing time here
in Finnish Lapland. And this place just gets to you, it has a real
rugged beauty. It is the furthest north that I'd ever been to. It
feels like I'm at one with nature. It's been such a privilege to spend
time with the Saami people. Well, that's it for this week. Join us
next week when... As India celebrates its 70th Independence
anniversary, we set off on a mammoth 2-part journey from the West to the
east. I'm on a quest to find out how history, religion and politics have
shaped India. And also meet the people who call this intriguing, and
sometimes overwhelming country, home. It's going to be an amazing
journey. That's next week. If you want to see what we are getting up
to between now and then, why not sign up to our social media feeds?
All the details should be on your screens right now. But for right
now, be in the huskies here in Finnish Lapland and all the Travel
Show team, it's goodbye -- from me and the huskies.
It's a pretty quiet weather story really into the weekend
One thing's for certain, it's going to be pretty mild.
I think Saturday looks like the driest day of the weekend
Ade Adepitan is spending time with the indigenous Sami people in Northern Finland to find out how tourism is playing a big part in keeping their traditions and culture alive.