Festival of Hope 1 / 30 April 2020

Poems by Nils-Aslak Valkeapää


















From Eanni, eannážan The Earth, My Mother, DAT 2017. Translated by Lars Nordström, Harald Gaski and Ralph Salisbury

ja áiggit mannet

 olmmošbuolvvat, álbmogatnai


                   inge imaštala jus jearat,


                                                       jus oainnát sevdnjes suoivvaniid


ale bala unna vieljaš

                                     bala baicca

jus boahtá áigi

ahte dákkár gažaldagat 

eai oba bohčásivččege olbmo millii 

ahte olmmoš vajálduhtášii ahte lea oassi 

dušše oassi






and time pass

 generations, peoples too


                   and I do not marvel if you should ask


                                                       if you should see dark shadows


do not be afraid little brother

                                     fear rather

that there will come a time

when such questions do not

even crop up in thoughts

if people forget that

we are a part

                   of nature

                          of live



From Ritnoaivi ja nieguid oaidni. Noh teaterčájálmas-teaksta , The Frost-haired and the Dream-seer, DAT 2020. Translated by Roy Eriksen and Harald Gaski

The Lásságámmi Foundation
Lásságámmi was Nils-Aslak Valkeapää’s own name for the house he had built on the lot he got as a fiftieth birthday present from Storfjord municipality. The lot lies on a sloping rock, and the house was intended to resemble a large turf hut – hence, the name that literally translated means “the sloping rock turf hut.” Lásságámmi is also the name of the foundation that administers the rights to his creative output. The foundation was established in 2004 and is owned by the Sámi Parliament in Norway, Storfjord municipality, the county of Troms and the University of Tromsø.
The foundation’s purpose is to administer the legacy of Nils-Aslak Valkeapää in the spirit and philosophy that comes to light in his works and publications. When Nils-Aslak died, the county of Troms and the Norwegian Ministry of Culture provided the means for the newly established foundation to buy Lásságámmi, and begin the work of turning it into a residence for researchers and artists. The foundation manages the rights to Valkeapää’s artistic production. By allowing selected persons to live and work on their own art and research projects in Nils-Aslak’s house, the foundation wants to encourage the occupants to carry on in their professional and artistic development. The dwelling is in principle kept as Nils-Aslak Valkeapää left it. In between these periods, the house will be open for visits by the public at specific times.

Text: Harald Gaski


Nils-Aslak Valkeapää

Nils-Aslak Valkeapää (1943 - 2001), with the artist name Áillohaš, was and is one of the most prominent and influential Sami artists of all time.

Nils-Aslak Valkeapää received his foremost recognition as an outstanding poet when he was awarded Nordic Council’s (Nordisk Råd’s) prize in 1991 for the book The Sun, My Father. His poetry has been translated into a number of languages. It is described as close to nature and genuine, and his poetry is often referred to as an expression of indigenous people’s thinking and worldview. Valkeapää published all of his poetry books in Sámi. Several of them have not yet been translated into other languages. Besides The Sun, My Father two other central works are Pathways of the Wind and The Earth, My Mother.

Portait photo by Seppo Paakkunainen