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In memory: Faith Fjeld, Saami woman

My friend and mentor, Faith - her legacy

Faith passed away in October, leaving a profound legacy for Saami and indigenous and non-indigenous people the world over (as she would say, "we are all indigenous, somewhere, at some point in time, in some areas of our souls).
She was an integral part of a Saami Renaissance or Re-awakening, when people came out of the closet or discovered who their grandparents really were. 
Faith didn't always know she was Saami (in spite of that marvelous face that gave it away ).  That is true of many of us descendants of Saami who were forced to assimilate and conceal their cultural roots in Scandinavia. So many - especially in Arctic Norway where my Grandfather came from -  changed their names, never told their kids what they were, whispered their language or forgot it, and hid their shamanic drums which the dominant Lutheran culture called "witch drums". 
Faith told me was "recovering from civilization." I hope wherever she is now she is enjoying things. 
We met when she was working on the history of Saami and Inupiaq reindeer herding in Alaska. I was so glad to be her friend and to have her enjoy and respect my novel. She wrote 
"Flight of the Goose is an incredible book. I read it when I was living in Nome — Inupiaq country. I couldn’t put it down — couldn’t stop thinking about it and I am happy to say I met Lesley while I was there."
In her journal Baiki she wrote
"I couldn’t put it down. Sámi scholar Rauna Kuokkanen calls shamanism 'the Indigenous paradigm' and resurrects the word oainnádat to explain it '(It) describes the Sami paradigm or special point of view. It means clear weather or a clear light that makes it possible to see things in nature. I believe the new meaning of oainnádat is to clear your ideas and thoughts in order to see properly.' Kayuqtuq does that."
Thank you, Faith, and may you fly with the birds and flying reindeer. 
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