Don’t Miss This Exhibit

Reindeer milking bowl

Last night, we got a sneak preview of the “Eight Seasons in Sápmi” exhibit at the Nordic Heritage Museum. I will be returning tonight for the Member’s Preview, and no doubt several times after, to enjoy it at leisure (the show closes November 4, 2012). The artifacts include items from the Ajtte Museum, displayed in three rooms on the second floor. The items in the hallway are from the Nordic Heritage Museum’s archives, gathered by donations over the years, and not, to my knowledge, exhibited before.

Before the preview, about fifty of us were treated to lectures and slideshows presented by Mari Ann Nutti (director of the Duodji Association) and Anna Westman Kuhmunen (director of Ajtte). It was great to see so many familiar faces in the crowd! (Several people said they came because of our emailed invitation just a few hours earlier, which goes to show you never know which outreach is going to hit its target.)

Mari-Ann (whose surname Nutti is Sámi) wore her beautiful summer gakti from the Jokkmokk area, where her family is still active in reindeer herding. She gave us an overview of Sámi handicrafts, the natural materials from which they are made, and their many uses. Included in the exhibit are knives, drums, cups, spoons, jewelry, baskets, bags, and clothing, as well as some videos on autoplay that I am eager to watch tonight.

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Meeting in Seattle, Good and Bad

Our little group has been warmly welcomed by the Swedish Cultural Center in Seattle, which is housed in a fabulous “Mad Men”-era building overlooking Lake Union, and staffed by the friendliest people in town. The director, Kristine Leander, is top-notch, and there is constant activity at SCC, with dancing, music, language classes, free genealogy help, dinners, weddings, you name it. It has a beautiful lounge, a library, and a film screening room. It’s a happenin’ place.


Lingonberries, pancakes, ham, coffee . . . and Renee’s reindeer skin bag from Jokkmokk!

The center has been flying the Sápmi colors for seven years, the only official building in Seattle to do so, as far as I know. For this fact alone, I am a dues-paying member (the lingonberry discount is nice, too).

The last Sunday of each month there is a Swedish Pancake breakfast, and PSS has used that occasion to meet, watch movies, and celebrate Sámi National Day (February 6, the date of the first Sámi congress was held in 1917 in Trondheim). The center is conveniently located near a waterfront park, perfect for post-event loitering.

This is “a good way to meet.”

Hanging out at Lake Union.

Not so good? Hanging out at the Folklife Festival when a passerby gets shot. Yes, this actually happened. Noreen and her entourage (aka children), Kent, Ilmari, Renee, Lynn, and I were blithely touring the Chihuly Glass Garden below the Space Needle at Seattle Center when shots rang out. Just yards away, on the other side of a hedge, a guy had opened fire after being pummeled with a skateboard, hitting a bystander in the leg, not his intended target. The shooter took off into the center grounds, the wounded guy was quickly given first aid. I gave a report to an officer, then called my husband (who was meandering around inside the grounds) and said, let’s vamoose. (Such a wimp!) The rest of the gang continued on their merry way, up to the top of the Space Needle. The gunman was quickly apprehended, and I missed out on a terrific evening with friends.

That is not a good way to meet.


Not actually a shooting victim, just somebody goofing around. (Minutes before the actual gunfire!)

Today I am playing tour guide to our visitors from Sápmi. If we end up at the Space Needle, I’ll try not to mention the shooting.

Bures, bures!

Meeting up at “Suddenly Sámi” movie

Hello, people! While up-to-the-minute event information is best found on the Pacific Sami Searvi Facebook page, this will be a resource for articles, photos, and other items that merit a longer shelf-life.

Let me start with a brief outline of the searvi’s genesis. In the beginning was…the Seattle International Film Festival. Specifically a showing of the film “Suddenly Sámi.” A few of us who had been chatting on Facebook decided to go analog and (gasp) meet each other. We saw the film, which was terrific, went out to lunch afterward, and decided we had (1) enjoyed each other adequately, and (2) could stand to repeat the whole thing.

Thus was born the group.

On subsequent meetings, we talked about naming ourselves. Lynn and Renee met up with Ilmari and Kent in Portland, and came back calling it the Odd Squad. Lynn offered other amusing options that were, for some reason, abandoned. I suggested Pacific Siida as it would cover anyone within shouting distance of the ocean, with the nice touch of pacific meaning “peaceful.”

Troy suggested “searvi,” a perfectly good Sámi word for association.

Ergo, Pacific Sámi Searvi. Or PSS for short.

Next up: gunshots at one of our outings!

Reading material at the pancake breakfast