Lapland in Transformation: Impacts on the Cultural Well-Being of the Older Population, with Special Reference to Indigenous Residents

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Protecting and promoting culture in Lapland are important for sustaining the cultural well-being of the region’s older people. This population includes many Sámi, members of an Indigenous people living throughout northern Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Russia. The people have a distinctive culture and traditional way of life that have sprung from their natural surroundings and together form a unique cultural identity. Today, Lapland is in the midst of a sweeping transformation, sparked by climate change, increased mining activities, changes in sources of livelihood, the advance of digitalization, and shifts in demography. This chapter analyzes the impact of these developments on the cultural well-being of older people in the region, with a special focus on older Sámi. The study draws on interviews conducted by the author in Finnish and Swedish Lapland in 2011 and 2017. Complementing these observations are publications and media reports on Indigenous issues, as well as references to acts, conventions, policies, laws, and regulations related to the protection of Sámi culture. The challenges to traditional life in the region posed by the ongoing transformation threaten the culture and cultural identity of the individuals who call it home. The physical and mental well-being of older persons in Lapland is highly dependent on their culture and surroundings, the sustainability of which relies on the recently elaborated concept of the age-friendly environment. The results of this study will promote the well-being of aging Indigenous and other older people in Lapland.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Aspects of Aging in Indigenous Communities
EditorsJordan P. Lewis, Tuula Heinonen
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9780197677216
ISBN (Print)9780197677230
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


  • Sami
  • aging
  • well-being
  • climate change
  • cultural identity

Field of science

  • Social and Culture Antropology
  • Social policy


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