University of Oulu

Seitsonen, O., & Moshenska, G. (2021). Who owns the ‘wilderness’? In Conflict Landscapes. In: Saunders, N.J., & Cornish, P. (2021). Conflict Landscapes: Materiality and Meaning in Contested Places. (pp. 183–201). Routledge.

Who owns the ‘wilderness’? : indigenous Second World War landscapes in Sápmi, Finnish Lapland

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Author: Seitsonen, Oula1,2; Moshenska, Gabriel3
Organizations: 1Archaeology, Linnanmaa Campus, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Cultural Heritage Studies, University of Helsinki, Unioninkatu 38, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
3Institute of Archaeology, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: embargoed
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Routledge, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-12-25


Finnish Lapland lies on the northernmost shore of Europe by the Arctic Ocean. This chapter assesses the Second World War German materialities and landscapes of the Arctic front and discusses how idiosyncratic northern environmental perceptions have affected, and continues to affect, the local views on this legacy. It presents the Second World War history of Finnish Lapland and its material heritage. The chapter focuses on one prisoner of war campsite as an example to which we tie various perspectives on Second World War memory and materiality. It discusses the indigenous northern environmental perception and how it colours local understandings of the importance of wartime legacy. The chapter explores questions of heritage ownership, custodianship, and the generation of transgenerational memories, drawing on the perspectives presented to us by Sami interviewees in different parts of Sapmi, mostly in the Anar and Soadegilli areas but also in Gilbbesjavri, Eanodat.

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ISBN: 978-1-003-14955-2
ISBN Print: 978-0-367-71153-5
Pages: 183 - 201
DOI: 10.4324/9781003149552-13
Host publication: Conflict landscapes : materiality and meaning in contested places
Host publication editor: Saunders, Nicholas J.
Cornish, Paul
Type of Publication: A3 Book chapter
Field of Science: 615 History and archaeology
616 Other humanities
519 Social and economic geography
520 Other social sciences
Funding: Oula Seitsonen’s research was funded by projects ‘Lapland’s Dark Heritage’ and ‘Domestication in Action.
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. "This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Conflict Landscapes: Materiality and Meaning in Contested Place on 25 June 2021, available online: