Frequently asked questions
On this page, I collect questions, situations and comments that often come across in relation to my work or that are otherwise useful to make visible to everyone.
What does "Samekki" mean?
The original company, founded by my parents in 1984, was Samek ky (ky = limited partnership). Samek came from the Finnish word for Sámi handicraft (saamenkäsityö). Samek ky soon became Samekki in people's mouths. My father Petteri Laiti used the name "Samekki" as a marketing name for three decades and I finally decided to make it official as the name of my own company when my father retired in 2015. -Sami
Who made this brooch?
Look at the stamp and refer to the picture below. My father has had helping hands over the decades, so it's hard to say for sure. At least for the time being (2023), brooches bearing the stamp "SAMEKKI" have been made by me, Sami Laiti. All products have been checked for meeting Samekki's quality standards. Name stamps are registered by Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) and they indicate the responsible party for the precious metal product.
What does Sámi Duodji mean?
Before industrialization, the Sámi people lived largely self-sufficiently and produced most of their clothing and household items themselves. Especially well-made winter clothes are an absolute requirement in everyday life in the Arctic. Probably for this reason, craftsmanship has always been highly valued among the Sámi.
The skillfully made objects carried by an user have told - not only about the ability to survive - but also about the ability to thrive in the midst of harsh nature.
For centuries, travelers have wanted to buy Sami handicrafts to take home with them. For this reason, today's Sámi handicraft, or duodji, can be said to have partially developed into an art form. Another - still important aspect for us Sámi - are items related to traditional clothing, such as suits, belts, laces and dress jewelry. Their designs and patterns tell about the user, such as where they come from or what specific Sámi language they might speak. In some cases the marital status is also revealed.
Sámi crafts are each individual works of art, made within the limits and possibilities of natural materials. It is not enough that the object is beautiful. It must primarily serve its intended purpose well. For example, losing a knife in the wilderness would be a great loss. For this reason, knives are made to snap into their sheaths. This produces a clicking sound, signalling that the knife is secured into its sheath.
Can non-Sámi people also use these?
This is unfortunately a common question these days. The individual positions of some Sámi people have played their part in creating this perception, but basically it is a misunderstanding in the discussion related to cultural appropriation and the rights of the Sámi people.
The 'solju' (Northern Sámi) or 'risku' (Finnish) is a brooch. Brooches have been used in all Nordic cultures. Today, risku has become a symbol of cultural identification for the Sámi. Especially in the cities, the Sámi may use just a solju as a sign of their identity, especially on occasions they don't want to wear a full Sámi dress for whatever reason. It is good for the user of the solju to understand that it may be seen as a signal of being Sámi or at least belonging to a Sámi family. Some consider Sámi style earrings also part of the Sámi dress. However, they do not have as prominent position in Sámi culture.
These are matters of opinion and clear, mutually agreed guidelines are not yet available. Every time you buy products made by a Sámi, you are at the same time supporting their livelihood and the continuation of Sámi craftsmanship. That's not a matter of opinion.