Rolf Morten, a member of the Sami culture group, plays his drum at a cross country skiing event at Skyview High School on Friday.
Photo By Aaron Yankey
This year marks just the second time the Sami people have participated in the Arctic Winter Games and it likely won’t be their last if team spirit and the 16 Ulusfour of them Goldas of Thursday, is any indication.
Sami people call northern Scandinavia home and may live in Sweden, Norway, Finland or Russia. Their first appearance was at the Games held in Wood Buffalo, Canada.
This year they competed in sports such as cross country skiing, snowshoeing and biathlon. As they did at the 2004 Games, they sent along a cultural group this year as well.
The Sami culture group was at Skyview High School on Friday in Soldotna to cheer on their skiers. As their skiers passed the crowd, the group would drum and chant something only their athletes would understand.
“It’s very nice and fun to be here,” said Rolf Morten, one of the Sami drummers. “I get to meet nice people.”
Morten likes all the different people here and said “The Greenlanders are very nice; we live in the same room.”
Lill Therese, also in the Sami cultural group, participated in the last Games and says she can appreciate this one more because she’s older.
The housing situation is different here than it was in Wood Buffalo since they are living with other cultural contingents and can interact with them at Kenai Central High School.
“It’s nice because we get to meet all the other culture groups,” she said.
The Sami may only have 41 participants in the Games but that doesn’t stop them from showing off tremendous amounts of team spirit and winning Ulus, too.
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