History of the Välimaa Sámi Farm

Välimaa is a fine example of an old Sámi farm, where fishing and cattle husbandry were the main sources of livelihood. The farmyard of this old Sámi farm on a grassland platform by the River Teno is home to historic buildings and the old foundations of Lapp huts.

An Ancient Base for Hunting and Fishing

The Välimaa Farm has long been used as a base for dwelling and fishing. Some fishermen who arrived to enjoy the bounty of the River Teno stayed at the site where Välimaa Farm now stands. Proof of this is provided on the Välimaa farmyard by several foundations remaining from Lapp huts, or depressions left by dwellings. Although dating these remains is guesswork, the site has probably been inhabited since at least the 1600s, and possibly even since the Stone Age.

Life Close to Nature

Turf hut and the restored sauna. Photo: Pasi NivasaloVälimaa Farm was established in the Nuorgam village in Utsjoki in 1858, as a result of the declaration on the settlement of northernmost Lapland. The Swedish Crown reigned over the area as early as the 1700s, encouraging settlers to move to Lapland. During Russia's reign over Finland, the farm system that prevailed in other parts of the country spread to Lapland.

The Välimaa Farm was founded by Sámi fisherman Antti Jouninpoika Warsi near his father's meadows and traditional fishing waters. The farm's livelihood was based on fishing and the tending of livestock, mostly sheep. The barren natural conditions of the north did not support crop farming.

The buildings on the homestead represent the traditional building methods of the river Sámi people, being reminiscent of their ancient way of life close to nature. The fenced in farmyard contains a two-room house, a turf hut, a woodshed, a meat storage shed, a fish storage shed, a shed for fishing and hunting gear, a storage platform shed and a draw-well. Most buildings are made from timber, with a traditional turf or plank roof.

An Abandoned Farm Becomes a Landmark of Sámi Culture

The Warsi family lived on the Välimaa Farm until the 1970s. In 1981, the National Board of Antiquities bought the farm for preservation as a memorial introducing visitors to the river Sámi culture. Some of the buildings had already deteriorated due to being uninhabited, but have been repaired since. The site is now administered and managed by Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland.

Hay rack. Photo: Pasi Nivasalo