The Skolt village

Ä’vv Museum also serves as the information center for the Skolt Sámi Village cultural heritage site, located about 1.5 km (1 mile) away from the main building of the museum. The Skolt Sámi Village is a site of continued Skolt Sámi settlement and cultural practices since ancient times. The cast net fishing, Käpälä, is the clearest expression of continuation and preservation of Skolt Sámi culture today. There is a clear connection between the main exhibition, the Skolt Sámi Village, and St. George’s chapel, which has existed there since 1565.

Njauddâm/Neiden has been a Skolt Sámi summer settlement since ancient times. When the national border was drawn in 1826, the summer settlement in Njauddâm/Neiden was cut off from the winter settlements in the district, and the Skolt Sámi had to change their way of life. The settlement became a year-round settlement, but with only a few families. Most families ended up on the Finnish side of the border.

From the middle of the 19th century, this area saw extensive immigration from Finland. This led to conflict about land and resources, and the Skolt Sámi quickly became a minority. Time and technological changes have put further pressure on traditional way of life, and today, only one house in the village remains inhabited.

In 2019, The Skolt Sámi Village was chosen as one of 46 select agricultural heritage sites in Norway (UKL), chosen for their uniqueness and preservation value. The uniqueness of these sites is to be preserved through the continued traditional exploitation of the land. The work is carried by local youths in as traditional a way as possible, which entails cutting the grass with a scythe and hanging it on a hayrack to dry. The grass is then used as animal feed.

The Skolt Sámi Village is also protected by the Cultural Heritage Act of 2000, in order to preserve the cultural, historical and religious treasures in the area. The protection includes buildings, house foundations, graves, pits, and the Skoltefossen waterfall itself, with its holy water. There are yearly joint inspections by Ä’vv Skolt Sámi Museum and the Sámi Parliament, and the aim to highlight and preserve the 100 cultural artifacts found in the area.

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