High North

Post written by Michael Adams

Linnaeus in Sámi dress, portrait by Martin Hoffman, 1737.

Linnaeus in Sámi dress, portrait by Martin Hoffman, 1737.

Two hundred and eighty years ago, the founder of modern taxonomy, Carl Linnaeus, travelled from Luleå to Jokkmokk, both towns in northern Sweden, and connected by the Lule River (jokkmokk, or in the Lule Sami language, Jåhkåmåhkke, means ‘bend in the river’). Linnaeus was on his ‘journey to Lapland’ documenting the ethnobiology of Sami reindeer herders in their ancestral home, Sápmi. I have just returned to Australia after retracing part of his trip.

Lesley’s blog from Gothenburg explored some interesting issues around naming, and the power of names was part of the discussions on my Sweden visit. American environmental historian Karl Jacoby, Maori lawyer Jacinta Ruru, and myself were invited as keynote speakers for a specialized conference on ‘Sami Customary Rights in Modern Landscapes’ developed from a joint research project of Umeå University, (including the Centre for Sami Studies) and Luleå UniversityContinue reading