The Saami People are the Indigenous peoples in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia, also known as first people, aboriginal people, native people, or autochthonous people or just Laplanders.
Who came first to Lapland?
In the 1600s came the first scriptures out with theories of Saami origin. Now today in year 2017 is the Saami origin a controversial issue in northern Scandinavia. Mainly the debate about Saami origin has very much to do with international law.
The Saami origin has become a hot issuein the newspapers of northern Sweden
Saami origin has in the 2000s become a hot issue in the newspapers of northern Sweden. Regularly there are letters to the editor questioning if the Saami were the first in Lapland and when they immigrated to “Sweden”. Quite often the debate about the origin of the Saami People in Sweden has a racist content. The debate about Saami origin is based only on assumptions and speculations without facts.
The Saami as an indigenous people
Now it should be mentioned that the term “indigenous peoples” in international law has nothing to do with where an indigenous peoples came from, their origin or who came first! However, the new concept of “indigenous people” in international law has started a hot discussion of Saami origin.
“Indigenous” is a legal concept in international law and essentially means that a people existed in a nation-state before the national boundaries of the state were drawn up. Those who wish to challenge the Saami as an indigenous people must therefore question whether there was Saami before Sweden’s oldest land border in 1752. Believe it or not? However, there are those who do it! Just open the pages of letters to the editor in newspapers in northern Sweden and you are surprised regularly. Question is if the education system and schools failed in the education of who the Saami is? The information about the Saami is very limited in Swedish schools?
An official definition of “indigenous” has not been adopted by the UN system due to the diversity of the world’s indigenous peoples. Instead, a modern and inclusive understanding of “indigenous” has been developed and includes peoples who:
Identify themselves and are recognized and accepted by their community as indigenous.
Demonstrate historical continuity with pre-colonial and/or pre-settler societies.
Have strong links to territories and surrounding natural resources.
Have distinct social, economic or political systems.
Maintain distinct languages, cultures and beliefs.
Form non-dominant groups of society.
Resolve to maintain and reproduce their ancestral environments and systems as distinctive peoples and communities.
The English words “Indigenous People” in ILO Convention 169 and the UN Declaration of Indigenous People has by the Swedish Foreign Ministry initially translated with the word “Urbefolkning” (Indigenous Population) and then later to “Urfolk” (Indigenous People). Something that increased the confusion. (The word “Ur” or “Ursprunglig) in Swedish is related to the English word “Orginal” or “first”). So, the problem is also a translation problem.
The Saami as a national minority
The Convention of Council of Europe on National Minorities has nothing of minority origin to do. National minorities in Sweden, according to the parliamentary decision, are the ethnic groups that existed in Sweden before World War II. Those who wish to challenge Saami as a national minority have therefore to prove whether it was Saami in Sweden before World War II, ie before 1940, or not!
Blog Question –Can racism be met with knowledge?
In this blog I will try to address ignorance about the Saami history with knowledge. Or maybe it is not possible to face the ignorance with knowledge when we talk about racism?
Saami origin has interested scientists since since the time of John Schefferus in the 1600s. However, still several hundred years after Schefferus time remains Saami origin a controversial issue.
Saami origin has become a hot issue
Saami origin has also become a hot issue in the growing Swedish nationalism. On nationalist forums and sites on internet questions are raised if Saami People can be Swedish citizens, late immigrants from Mongolia, if Saami People should be deported to Asia and much more. The debate about Saami origin is based only on assumptions and speculations without facts.
Nationalist on internet and Saami origin
On the Swedish nationalist places for debate like www.nordfront.se it is possible to read “The Saami would be Sweden’s indigenous people is propaganda that our enemies use and which, unfortunately, is strongly rooted among many Swedes. Sweden has only been populated from south of the Germanic tribes” … and on www.nordisk.nu “Lapps came later than the Germanic tribes proved by archaeological research”. Similar comments can be found at www.patriot.nu and other nationalist internet sites.
Saami origin and confusion
“Indigenous” is a new concept in international law and established in the new international instruments such as ILO Convention 169, (adopted by the International Labor Organization in 1989), and the UN Declaration on indigenous people, (adopted by the United Nations in 2007). The concept of indigenous people is alegal conceptand does notmean the same thing as a people’s origin.
The concept of indigenous peoples, however, has been interpreted in nationalist forums like who came first and started a heated debate about the Saami origin.
Nationalism itself can have positive, pleasant and harmless forms of expression for example in sports contexts when people cheering on their own team or nation.
However, nationalism can also take other forms of expression with fatal consequences or lead to conflicts between ethnic groups.
Nationalism is a system of thought based on the idea of a special community within the nation’s borders. Nowadays, we talk about different types of nationalism. The various nationalisms are based on different basic assumptions about national community and therefore can manifest itself in different ways.
Today, researchers Benedict Anderson and other researchers has questioned the nationalismas real communities and instead use the term “imagined communities”. Depending on the conception of the nationality grounds and nations will the function of nationalism also take different forms.
Some Swedish nationalists have notion of the Swedish nation historically belong to, or contains only a certain race or a certain ethnic group. In such instances, the argumentation that Saami may not have a historical basis in the territory forming the nation Sweden. Swedish nationalists argue that the Saami came later to the country Sweden than Swedes themselves and should therefore no legal rights in Sweden In this blog I will show with facts that the nationalists’ argument is based only on fantasies!
In this blog I will try to address ignorance about the Saami history with knowledge. Is it possible to face the ignorance with knowledge?
“Saami origin” is the theme that opens this blog and I will highlight both from historical documents to the latest in DNA research.
You will not receive a answere to a specific place where the Saami people are from. The issue is more complicated than that and contains a variety of other questions that may never be answered?
We are all unique
We all come from Africa. But, over time we have been formed to became different and spread out over Earth. Over thousands of years’ time has shaped each person to a unique blend and composition of who you are and made only you. Likewise, every People on earth are a unique blend and composition shaped during a very long time and formed an ethnicity that exists right now. A People existing right now and with a ethnicity of today has not existed before and may be not exist in future.
When did the Saami became Saami?
Somewhere on man’s journey from Africa to Lapland arise the ethnic group Saami. But, when and where did a people became a people? For the Saami – When in time and where did the Saami People became the Saami People? When in time and where did the Saami People became the Saami People with the ethnicity of today?
When was the Saami language a Saami language?
However, Saami origin is more complicated than that. When and how did the language arise we all define as a Saami language? Moreover, one can ask whether Saami language is one or several languages. Each Saami language group uses its own alphabet, their own orthography, their own pronunciation, and the need, in some cases, to use an interpreter or a third language to understand each other. Maybe it is question of the definition of what a language is. Anyway, the Saami languages include secrets codes that no one has yet been able to solve and which have to do with the Saami origin. Theories about the Saami language or languages origin have set linguists to a war against each other, linguists against social anthropologists and most recently; linguists and social anthropologists against DNA researchers. Was it so that Saami had another euripean language from scratch and changed the language because of a Finno-Ugric immigration and majority? Or is it the other way around as some DNA researchers argue? DNA research has shown that, for example, Finnish language group, not so long ago was very small and that Saami could very well have been the majority of the people. Has Saami languages been loaning words from the Baltic and Germanic languages or is it vice versa? Anyway, there are several scientific theories about the Saami languages or the Saami language.
Historical perspective – Swedes are a young people and Saami an old people
If the Saami had a young language that was formed relatively recently, it had been easier to crack the Saami language codes. But, it is because of the old age of the Saami language or languages that makes it difficult. In order to get a historical perspective may be I should mentioned that the Swedish language occurred about 800 years A.C., while scientists argue about which millennium B.C. the Saami language arised!
To complicate it further about the Saami origin there are additional code or codes to crack about Saami settlement area. We know that the Swedish language emerged in year 800, and kingdom of Sweden emerged a few hundred years later. Likewise, we know where Lapland is today. But, where did the Saami lives for 200 years ago, 500 years ago and not to talk about 2000 years or 3000 years ago?
Saami western and northern borders
It is easy to determine the boarder of Saamiland to the westbecause of the Atlantic Oceanand to the north because of the Arctic Ocean.
Saami southernmost border in Sweden and Norway?
But, where was the Saami’s southernmost border in Sweden and Norway? Saami traces have been found in southern Norway and central Sweden in the form of name of places, written documents and some archaeological findings. There is an additional problem that archaeologists in southern Sweden and Norway are not looking for Saami tracks. They are traditionally looking for typical Swedish or Norwegian tracks. If you’re not looking for something you will probably not find it?
Saamiland southernmost boarder at the European continent?
But, where was the Saami area southernmost boarder at the European continent?Today, all researchers agreed that earlier the Saami area was extended to the continent, ie on the other side of the Baltic Sea. But, how far to the south was the southernmost boarder of Saamiland? Some written documents after the birth of Christ are talking about somewhere in Poland or the north of Poland. A government commission of historians believed that Saami southernmost boundary was somewhere in the Baltics (Latvia). Ancient findings, which have become tourist attractions, speaks of at least the lake Ladoga in Russia. Most recently DNA scientists claim that the Saami came from the western European continent and immigrated to Scandinavia from the south and east. Then we have the language researchers with their questions about the German, Baltic, and old Norse loanwords in Saami languages.
Eastern boarder of Saamiland?
But, where was the Saami’s eastern frontier on the continent? A memorial stone made by Russian monks from the 1500s says there were only Saami when the monks arrived. The memorial stone is quite unknown to Saami historian. No wonder? The memorial stone is placed so far east and across the White Sea in Arkhangelsk, Russia. However, there are also Saami objects found and preserved in a museum in Arkhangelsk County. In addition, Russian researchers have difficult to explain names of villages along the river Dvina. Russian scientist Alexander Davidov has argued that it must be names of Saami origin.
Language researchers have in addition other issues that complicate it with the Saami peoples and Saami language origin. If the Saami language belongs to the Finno-Ugric language family, and the Finno-Ugric language family originates from the Urals in Siberia, why did the Finno-Ugrian only spread to the west? Why not to the east? Is it not more logical that a language spread like ripples on the water – to all directions? Can it be that the Finno-Ugric languages spread from the west to the east? In addition, the Saami language most eastern relatives is the languages of the peoples of Khanty and Mansi in Western Siberia. However, they have very low genetic similarities with Saami people according to DNA researchers. In addition, to complicated it more, Finnish language has been a very small language group according to DNA researchers?
Circumpolar ethnic group?
In this context it should be mentioned that there also emerged a new circumpolar theory, ie, that all peoples of Actic, the Saami, Inuit (Eskimos) and Native Americans, have a common origin. Proponents of the theory have a lot of arguments against today’s DNA-researchers?
Today the Saami people lives in four countries in Scandinavia, northern Finland and north eastern Russia. However, it must be assumed that the Saami area during the course of history has changed with the Saami’s own migrations.
Blog with trekking through the era
This blog about Saami history starts from the beginning and ends with the Saami situation of today.
The theme that starts the blog is “Saami origin”. The origin of the Saami People will raises more questions than answers. In the blog you will be a travel through several thousands of years and which I will take up documents, records and historical traces of the Saami people. It will be documents, records and historical traces of the Saami People that you will not find in history books of the Saami People.
In the blog’s first theme “Saami origin” I will also take up the bizarre theories of Saami origin, for example; One of Sweden’s most famoust historians in his time believed that all people of the world emigrated from Lapland, another professor that the Saami People is a part of the people of Israel, Saami own lost “Atlantis,” Artefacts of Saami found far away from Lapland and available on a local unknown museum, a professor of history suggested that the island Åland in the Baltic sea have been inhabited by the Saami, a former500 year unknown monumentthat speak of the Saami as a sea people, ancient Saami words that should not exist and much more.
History and Law
They are few people in the world, as the Saami People, where law, rights and history are so interwoven. Different views on the Saami in different times have changed the legislation concerning the Saami. The historical development has gone hand in hand with the development of law. Therefore Saami lawyers also become historians. Interestingly, even historians of the Saami people become lawyers or legal historians. It shows how the subjects of history and rights are so closely linked concerning the Saami People!