The Sami people and journey to the LKAB’s mine in Kiruna

As I have promised now it’s time to continue my brief narration on my trip to Swedish Lappland, organized by the SI Network for Future Global Leaders. And today I’ll try to share with you some impressions on culture of native Sami people (can be also spelled as saami) and high-tech technologies in the region.

One of the parts of a program had a focus on something that can be called as ethnography. We had a unique chance to get to know culture of native people of Lappland – the sami. But honestly, we were in touch with them from the very beginning of a trip, because our guide was a sami native. He has introduced himself as Kej-Kej, and till the end of our trip we tried to guess if it was his full name or just nickname. Talking about the history of Lappland and different places he with pleasure has shared with us how the places can be called both in Swedish and Saami language, and warmly asked us to learn at least several words in Sami. I felt that it was very important for him. The Sami people are indigenous inhabitants of Arctic areas, now settled on the territories of Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. Interesting fact that famous actress Renée Zellweger has some sami ancestry.

DSCF8273Near Jukkasjärvi village there is the Center of Sami culture. We came there while it has been extremely dark even the time was only around 6 pm. However it was possible to see the shape of the church and tents. Three of four Sami people welcomed us. After we have started an incredible journey with reindeer racing. From the start I supposed that reindeers will be slow and unmanageable, as quite wild animals. But surprisingly they were running very fast (around 40 km per hour), and it was very hard to keep yourself on wooden sled fixed to reindeers. Racing happened at a kind of cross-country with many turning points, hills and hidden obstacles. It was definitely life-long experience.

DSCN5928Heated and full of impressions we entered a tent, where traditional sami dinner was already waiting for us. It was delicious and very unusual to try very high-calorie meal. I will share a photo of one of the course of the dinner. Looking fantastic, isn’t it?

The next day we have continued our program with exploring innovative progress of the region, and thanks to SI Network for Future Global Leaders we have got a chance to visit LKAB’s mine in neighborhood of Kiruna. Honestly, I didn’t know that I have a fear to being underground, but after a couple of kilometers of a road leading us to a core of a mountain I became nervous. At the point of 500 meters under ground level we had a stop in the specially constructed Visitors center.

LKAB's museum
LKAB’s museum

In a few words – LKAB is a high-tech international minerals group, world leading producer of processed iron ore products for steelmaking, and a growing supplier of mineral products for other industrial sectors. LKAB has an innovative approach towards work; they constantly develop new technologies that aim to increasing productivity and minimizing pollution. The other think that I like a lot is a responsible approach. Due to the company’s striving into the depth it may effect Kiruna, that located very near. And now they develop a plan for replacing part of a city to keep citizens on a safe ground. I warmly support responsible business.

During our stay in Kiruna, it was nice and mild weather. Yes, it was no Northern lights that I keep dreaming of, but it was undoubtedly plenty of other great impressions and useful pieces of knowledge. And I would like to express my gratitude to SI Network for Future Global Leaders for the opportunity they provided for us as SI schoolarship holders to explore Swedish Lappland.

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