My dear family!
My beloved pappa Nils passed away on Sunday, 20 May 2012, about seven o'clock in the evening Norwegian time, at the regional hospital in Tromsř, Norway.
More than an academic, he was known among us Sámi as a figure of importance in maintaining Sámi language and culture, and encouraging young Sámi to be proud of their Sámi heritage and their own Sámi identity. He was very active in Sámi social and cultural political discussion, he was a member of the Nordic Sámi parliament (with representation by Sámi from Norway, Finland, and Sweden), and he was for some time a part of the Norwegian government's commission on Sámi legal rights (Samerettsutvalget), which covered topics such as land use rights in the Sámi regions, rights to education in the Sámi language, interpretation for Sámi embroiled in the court system, and so on.
For many years he lead, and then continued to participate in, the translation of the Bible into the Sámi language - first the Old Testament, later followed by the New Testament. His research in linguistics was instrumental in preserving the Sámi language and promoting it as a vibrant living means of both daily and formal communication. In particular he researched many local Sámi dialects, many of which would otherwise have simply evaporated into the fog of history without so much as a trace left behind. In so doing, he would also collect records of the local history of many Sámi individuals, places, families / clans, and societies. His contributions to preserving the incredibly rich tapestry of Sámi oral history and folklore, forever flowing like so many intertwining rivers and watersheds, could not possibly be overstated. We owe him for learning about where we came from, and with that also about where we might be going.
He was a wonderful father, I and my four sisters had a wonderful childhood with him and our equally wonderful mamma (& his wife) Laila. My blessed childhood will forever live with me as he goes on that eternal fishing trip in the sky. We had many of those while he was still here with us.
Most of all, Pappa, I just miss you terribly. All the love of your little sřnnik.