Untouched Wilderness

Untouched wilderness is often perceived as a void place without any human activity. A place that has not been touched by human hands or has not been seen by human eyes. In other words, there is nothing or no-one whose culture or cultural practices need to be taken into consideration. This way of thinking fades out local communities into invisibility in their own home environment. The very environment where travellers are only visiting. In the three Sámi languages spoken in Finland, there is no word for wilderness. What may be ‘wilderness’ for a visitor, is home for the local Sámi people, and for many, also a source of livelihood or subsistence economy unconnected to tourism. While there may be no visible signs of human presence in nature, there is not a single place or area in Sámi Homeland that does not have a Sámi name and that has no cultural use or significance related to a season. The concept of nature held by visitors from other cultures may differ significantly from that of the Sámi. Hence, it is good to find out as much information as possible before one’s visit about the region to be visited, its natural conditions as well as traditional use and other cultural practices of the land. Especially when it comes to the Finnish customary law of ‘Everyman’s Rights’, it is good to understand them through responsible conduct in nature, the limitations to these rights, and the importance of leaving no traces behind.