Pirak, Anta

Pirak, Anta Image 1

Photo Ludvig Wästfelt © Ájtte museum, Jokkmokk

Anta Pavvasson Pirak, born 1873 in the Jokkmokk Municipality, who died 1951 in Jåhkågasska tjiellde, a community of mountain saami in Swedish Norrbotten, is undoubtedly one of the most important figures in Saami literature.

Pirak was educated at the teacher's seminar in Mattisudden in 1892-94 and worked temporarily as small school teacher in different Saami camps beside keeping a reindeer herd.

In the summer of 1926, the reindeer herder Pirak met with the priest Harald Grundström and the two of them decided to collaborate in noting down Pirak’s life story and his repertoire of Saami folklore. Pirak was the master storyteller, while Grundström refers to his own role as Pirak’s “secretary”. The resulting book, En nomad och hans liv, ‘A nomad and his life’, was first published in Swedish translation in 1933. The original Lule Saami text was published four years later, and was followed by an accompanying Lule Saami–Swedish–German wordlist in 1939.