Will a railway across Europe’s last great wilderness create new jobs – or destroy the Sami people’s ancient way of life?
The frozen white expanse of Lake Inari stretches off towards banks of dark birch and pine trees marking the distant shore line. There is not even the faintest breeze – the sub-zero air is perfectly still and very, very cold. A delicate dusting of snowflakes has fallen in the night, a pristine layer of gleaming crystals resting on the thick sheet of snow and ice.
Jussa Seurujärvi, 22, momentarily stops helping his father, 51, and sister, 16, pull up fishing nets from holes in the ice to take in the long, slow Arctic sunrise, which glows with pastel strokes of yellows, purples and pinks. His brow furrows slightly and he says with a gentle determination: “I want to continue living from this land just as my ancestors have done for hundreds and hundreds of years. This is a way of life for us – it is not just a job.”