Sustainability from the Perspective of Reindeer – pt 3

So, back to sustainability. I keep asking myself, what’s the most important thing that I can give you – who read?
And the answer is: the holistic perspective.

To be able to see things clearly in relation to sustainability. Being able to answer the question of “what’s best for the reindeer”, I would need to keep myself very well informed. Making my decision based on the best available knowledge without being driven by money. Both climate scientists and UNs climate change experts have stated that the best available knowledge is science together with indigenous knowledge.

Then how do we practically do this?
I would start with the easy way- follow the new science. Maintaining your mind well informed and capable of learning new things. Listen to the news to understand the different forces driving policies. Our world sees no boundaries.

Then comes the more difficult part. Indigenous knowledge. The knowledge of how to be observant. Noticing how she is feeling, our mother. How she is responding. Listen to those who knows her, and who spends time with her. Never be afraid to ask questions. Spend time with her yourself. Knowing you are a part of her too.

I take note of the day when the snow sparrows arrived. When did the sallow show its first bud of the year. Remember to gather spruce this spring. Knowing that in some places it takes a while for them to show. Noticing the perfect spot for collecting those long, roots that aren’t too difficult to get hold of. The shallow once living in long time fallen trees. They are good for making containers keeping the salt dry. Remembering the need to find a new place to gather sweetgrass for our shoes. The old place where she enjoyed living has dried up, and looking at the old place-names of the area is no good.  Deforestation has altered her home too much, she has disappeared. Such a punishment for our crime. Recognising the smell of old damp snow. Created mold in the bottom. Do you know how fresh lichen taste? How did the liver look on the last reindeer we received for food, and where did the grouse live last year? Leaving the food to silence me. Wondering why the moose have moved into my dreams. What date was it now again, when the swans left? Counting how many times the wind decided to change yesterday. No one would have been able to navigate in the deep forest by then. Exciting to have a look at the lake, to see how much water has left the ice. Its said that we can learn the future in the fish stomach. I don’t really know much about that. But suspect it has to do with a certain fish, sure of that its not the first one caught during fall time. That one is going back to the lake. It’s not ours.

Carefully *respectfully* I’m putting salt on the pieces of meat, that eventually will be hung to dry. Summerfood. Closely together they go. Its best in the wooden barrel. Its possible to do it in plastic as well. But the price will be payed in the taste. Nature loves nature. The barrel is suppose to be completely air-dry, and to fix that -I’m gifted the lungs. Or the diaphragm if the barrel is close to full. Air-tight. Back home in Dalarna we are hanging it to dry after a month in the salt. Up here i Jåhkkåmåhke they like to smoke the meat first. The air is damper here. Maybe that too will change.

Indigenous knowledge is informative, a practice, observant and responding. As ever changing as need be, when nature is changing. Since they are one.

To live a sustainable life and making sustainable decisions, It’s not a simple task. But maybe that’s how its suppose to be. When is the easy way the best way? There are so many lessons to be thought.
Do one really need to make decisions based on what’s best for all creations?

Unfortunately. Yes.

We are all answering to nature. And to our own spirit.

At the end of the day its our spirit who is paying the real price of our decisions. That’s something we can’t outrun.

Im convinced that if all were to make decision based in the best available knowledge. Based in both science and indigenous knowledge in relation to our surroundings – we would be heading in a better direction than we are currently. Climate change wise.

Lastly. To our indigenous youth: follow the path of our ancestors. The tracks are still there. They can be found in our now living elders. Even if its sometimes feels like too much have been lost. Forgotten. Know that the knowledge is still there. It can’t be undone. Its only resting. Since she herself is the keeper. We just need to learn how to listen. Again.

What is she showing you in your dreams.

Where is the place where you accept her gift and give back?

Blogtext by Jannie Staffansson
Photos: Private