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Linguist Leif Rantala’s Important Collection of Sámi Artifacts to Siida

Sep 30, 2015 10:10 AM

Kim Rantala donates the collection of his late father, linguist Leif Rantala (1947–2015), to the Sámi Museum Siida and its artifact collections. Rantala’s collection contains objects from the Sámi areas of Finland and Russia, as well as artifacts of other indigenous peoples of Russia.

– It’s an honour to incorporate Leif Rantala’s solid collection into the artifact collections of the Sámi Museum Siida and, thus, preserve the valuable items saved by Rantala for future generations, too, so that they can both see and study them, Siida’s museum director Sari Valkonen says.

– As a representative of the minority of the Swedish-speaking Finns himself, my father understood the significance of maintaining minority cultures; this is why he, in addition to doing his actual work, collected and stored both Sámi and other indigenous artifacts in his study and later in his home. These items range from beautiful handicrafts to off-track skis, says Leif Rantala’s son Kim Rantala.

Leif Rantala was a specialist in the Sámi language with great expertise in the Sámi languages, cultures and history of the Kola Peninsula. Rantala was the first permanent lecturer of Sámi language and culture at the University of Lapland, a position he held until his retirement. As a researcher, he especially focused on the history of Kola and Petchenga, making many trips to Russia to collect material. Rantala was engaged in many projects as a writer and worked as an editor and translator; as he mastered many languages, he also worked as an interpreter.

On his trips, Leif Rantala gathered an extensive artifact collection that covers a range of periods. Approximately 300 items of this collection have now been donated to the Sámi Museum Siida. The collection is of great cultural historical value both in terms of the items and their contextual data as well as because of who the collector was. The first opportunity for the public to see artifacts from Rantala’s collection will be at the exhibition Adventures in Siberia, which will be opened in Siida on 8 October. The exhibition introduces the audience to photographs of Kai Donner, a researcher of Siberian languages and cultures, taken on his expeditions between 1911 and 1914. Later, Rantala’s collection of items will be displayed more fully at Siida.

Further information:

Sari Valkonen, Museum Director, Sámi Museum Siida, tel. +358 40 767 1052, sari.valkonen(a)samimuseum.fi

Kim Rantala, kimnrantala(a)gmail.com

Sámi museum, Siida, Inarintie 46, FI-99870 Inari, tel. +358 (0)400 898 212, siida@samimuseum.fi, www.siida.fi

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