Sunday, May 10, 2009

Here in Guovdageiadnu

Hello everyone,
So, I arrived in Alta at 11am today and Kaisa met us at the airport. Turns out Nobuhle was on the same flight. From the airport, we drove around town - got a feel for their housing. They have ladders on their roof, which are there to give easy access to chimney sweeps since a lot of their winter heating comes from firewood. There are also these metal bars which are laid sideways on the edge of the roof, usually above a doorway, which keeps the snow and/or melting snow from falling down over the door and blocking it. Indigenous, huh?

Then, we went to the Alta Museum and looked around at the exhibits. They had a reconstructed sealskin boat, a wooden boat, "traditional" 18th century sledges, plus models of traditional Sami settlements, etc. Also, out on the grounds, they had petroflyphs - rock art - mostly of reindeer, but there were also beers, fishing boats and nets. Pretty cool stuff! The rock art was on boulders from a glacial moraines (I think they call it).

Afterwards, we headed south to Guovdageiadnu/Kautokeino (believe it or not, when you hear the two words pronounced side by side, you can tell that Kautokeino is the Norwegianization of Guovdageiadnu). We went up through a narrow river valley, on a narrow road, and saw waterfalls throughout, even waterfalls flowing over frozen waterfalls. That was cool. Once we got to the top of the plain, we eventually passed through some Sami villages - one village was the site of a very long protest against the building of a hydroelectric dam. I'll get you the name later. Then, we arrived in Guovdageiadnu and after esting and sending messages, I had dinner and a long conversation with Renee, Kaisa, and Puju. Renee is from Hawaii, Kaisa is our hostess, and Puju is from Greenland. Our conversation ranged from place names, to personal naming practices, to religions, to weather and climate change, to the history of colonization of indigenous peoples, to movies and websites, kids, etc.

All in all, a good day. A full day. I just talked to Eddie on the phone . . . he got into a little bit of trouble for talking too loud and cried. Made me feel guilty that I won't see him for a week (sigh). I do miss him and I wish that he and Scott could be here to experience this place with me.

We are planning to hold a conference here in Guovdageiadnu in 2010. Gonna start saving up for that so that they can join me. I'll keep you all updated as the week goes on!

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