Indigeneity, Language and Authenticity

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There is a lake – jaevrie – I was raised
less than half a day from it and the mountain
– vaartoe – hovering above its ice-covered waters.
Now, back then we used to say that it had been left there,
in a great hurry, by the giant’s daughter, the saajvoe,
the one who married one of our young men, and whose
shadow – soejvene – had turned into the lake as they fled.

Aye, we used to say that the giant’s daughter,
once she’d been proposed to, had stolen her
father’s herd of reindeer – ealoe – and set off with her
human lover, a mad dash across our land – maadtoe –
that we’ve lived in since time immemorial to
escape the wrath of the monster – staaloe –
and each time he’d been close, this was long ago,
she’d thrown a piece of clothing
or silver behind her that would
turn into valleys, mountains
and rivers that her father
would never be able to cross.

And that’s how our land was born.
Numhtie lij såårneme dan bïjre.




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