An Account of the Sámi
translated by Thomas A. DuBois
The year 1910 marked a milestone in Sámi cultural and literary history. In that year, the Sámi wolf hunter and reindeer herder Johan Turi produced his Muitalus Samiid birra, the first secular book ever published in a Sámi language. Turi’s work – an eloquent, at times poignant exploration of Sámi history, livelihoods, and culture – aimed at making state authorities in Sweden and Norway aware of the intricacies and value of the indigenous culture of the Sámi. With the aid of Danish artist/ethnographer Emilie Demant Hatt, Turi’s book reached a Nordic public in both its Sámi original and in Danish translation.
Muitalus today stands as a fascinating statement of one man’s sociopolitical aims at the opening of the twentieth century and an unmatched source of information regarding traditional Sámi lifeways of a century ago.
An Account of the Sámi is the first direct translation of this work into English, presented here with translator's notes and the original illustrations which Turi produced to clarify and supplement his text.
Translated by Thomas A. DuBois.