Memory of the World

Finland - Skolt Sámi village of Suonjel Suenjel

The archive of the Skolt Sámi village of Suonjel Suenjel in the Pechenga region forms a unique body of documentation of an indigenous community. Preserved for centuries, the archive consists of documents joined together with glue made from bones, eventually forming a nine metre-long scroll. The scroll was kept inside a casing carved from a tree trunk and stored in a secret location known only to three trusted men, who all came from different families. The documents are official edicts issued by the Russian Emperor and the Imperial Government (gramota), which confirmed the rights of the Skolt Sámi community to their fishing and reindeer herding territories.

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