Passing Sami fishing culture on to the next generation

“All Sami culture depends on nature, so we have to respect it.“ So says Ellacarin Blind. She works for the National association of Sámi people in Sweden (SSR) and she is in charge of the EU-funded project Golleguolli, The Gold Fish. The project, which is carried out in collaboration with Slow Food Sápmi, aims to raise awareness of traditional Sami wild-caught fishing and cooking traditions

For generations, fish were a staple in many Sami communities daily diet but today hardly any Sami fishermen live primarily off fishing. Traditional fishing faces challenges from overfishing, outdated regulations, outside competition, and – not least – climate change.

“We want to increase the interest in traditional fishing and highlight how climate change is affecting wild fishing across the world. The water is getting warmer, which means that fish such as the Arctic char, which has been an important part of the traditional Sami diet, will slowly disappear,“ Ellacarin Blind says. She adds:

“We wish to start a debate about traditional fishing and how we can protect it.”

Ellacarin Blind and her colleagues are working on a movie on the subject, which will be released at the end of 2022.

Passing on knowledge
Ellacarin Blind herself is a Sami, hailing from a reindeer herding family. Ever since childhood she learned how to respect nature.

“When I was small I learned how to be grateful for what nature gives you. We learned not to fish too much, not to take more than we needed, and we learned which lakes to fish in.”

And this is exactly what the Golleguolli project is all about:

“We wish to document the local knowledge in Sami fishing culture. How it is done, how you learn it, and how you should never fish so much in a lake that all fish will disappear. Our aim is to pass on this knowledge to the next generations.”

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