“No one has heard that the Saami People would have come from somewhere.The Saami People has been an ancient people from time immemorial everywhere here in Lapland. When Saami People, in old times, lived at the seacoast there was not a single other inhabitants, and then it was good to be a Saami. In old times the Saami People lived everywhere on the Swedish side.At that time there were no farmers;The Saami People did not know that there were other people than themselves.” (Johan Turi “Muitalus sámiid birra”,“A book about Saami life” 1910)
Saami comes from Lapland according Johan Turi
Johan Turi explains Saami origin that they always lived in Lapland and all other ethnic groups have recently immigrated to Lapland.
Saami origin questioned annually
However, Johan Turi’s declaration of Saami origin is not shared by all. Saami origin has long been a debated issue … and it still is. Every year we read letters to the editor in the northern press, on various blogs and on different forums on internet that Saami should go home to China and Mongolia, they immigrated to Sweden recently from east, or that they are not an indigenous people in Sweden (see previous blog post about Internet addresses on different posts on Saami origin).
Johan Turi has a score of Saami origin
Johan Turi’s explanation is not so stupid. Among historians and the scientific community it is widespread agreement that the Saami have been in Scandinavia and north-western Russia at least for several thousand years.
However, Saami origin is more complicated if one goes back more than 3000 years in time and the time before that. To understand the time horizon we could relate, for example, to the Swedish language which emerged 2,000 years later than the Saami language, ie around the year 800. This was a time before the Old Norse, Gothic, Lombard and other older Germanic languages emerged. We are talking about the time when pro-Germanic was a speaking language in Eorope to come to the time when it is difficult to understand the origin of the Saami people and Saami language.
I will go into more detail about Saami origin in future blog posts, different theories and facts.
Have each ethnic group a pipeline back to the Ice Age?
Ethnicity is actually an intellectual construction that also changes over time and develops in the area of contact between the different groups. Today’s ethnic map might not be transferred 10,000 years back in time or can it?
Anders Fjellner created, as it must be understodd, the mythological epic “Sun and Moon’s sons and daughters” about Sami origin. Fjellner himself said that it was recorded from an older Saami yoik in Kemi Lapland, Finland/Sweden. (See previous posts on this blog).
Fjellner himself was convinced that the Saami People were the first people who came to inhabit Scandinavia. According to Fjellner the Saami People had immigrated from the south to Scandinavia from the European continent. It appears from another epic of Anders Fjellner on Sami origin. According to Fjellner this another epic was also recorded in writing from an old Sami legend.
Who was Anders Fjellner
Anders Fjellner was born in September 18, 1795, according to church records, at the stone of shereiff at the mountain Rutfjället, near Tänndalen in County of Härjedalen, Sweden, under the name Anders Thomasson. He grew up in a reindeer herding family. His father’s name was Thomas Jonsson and his mother Marta Andersdotter. They moved between summer pastures in Norway and winter pasture at Hede in Sweden annually.
However, at the age of 9 Anders Fjellner lost his father in the year 1804. He was therefore taken care of by close relatives and learning by those to read.
Primary Studies at the Swedish School of assimilation
The year after his father passed away, ie in 1805, Anders Fjellner was sent by relatives to an boarding school in the “big” town of Östersund, County of Jämtland. There he begin his studies at Frösö Trivial school. The studies would change his life from a prospective career as a reindeer herder to the theologian and poet.
Frösö Trivial school (High school in three subjects)
In year 1561 the Swedish church adopted the first approach to public school charter to replace the previously missing Catholic schools from the Middle Ages. 1561 years Church order was followed by regulations in year 1575 that a school should be located in every city. The basic school education was divided into a simpler “Trivial school” with teaching in the “Trivium” (teaching in the three subjects), and a “Gymnasium”. Trivial school was therefore a simple educational institution with tuition in three subjects; grammar, dialectic (logic) and rhetoric. Trivium comes from Latin and means where three roads meet ( “tri” which is three and the “via” a way). Just like it sounds led the Common Schools often to the training of priests. So, would also occur with Anders Fjellner.
to assimilate the Saami in Sweden the training of Saami priests were an additional tool, in addition to primary schools, according to the Swedish government’s colonization policy.
The Norwegiansand Saami would become Swedish through primary school
Frösö Trivial School was a primary school and opened to students for the first time in 1679. The decision to establish the school was already made in 1674 as a political tool to make Norwegians and the Saami people Swedish in the area. The County of Jämtland and Härjedalen had long before been a Norwegian province. That is perhaps why the memorial stone of Frösö Trivial school at Stocke in the Western island of Frösön has the text “Hinc lumens ortum Jemtlandiam illustravit” (From here, shining light over the County of Jämtland). What is left of the school buildings is the so-called Zetterströmska library from 1833 and which is now a museum.
From Anders Thomasson Anders Fjellner
Meanwhile at Frösö Trivial School Anders Thomasson replacing his name to Anders Fjellner. In some documents appearing named Anders Thomasson Fjellner.
High school with Lars-Levi Laestadius and long hikes
After Frösö Trivial School in Östersund Anders Fjellner continued his studies at Härnösands gymnasium. The studies were conducted in winter and every summer Anders Fjellner was walking on foot from the City of Härnösand to the County of Härjedalen to visit his mother and helping siblings in reindeer herding.
The years 1816-1818 were also the famoust priest Lars Levi Læstadius a student at Härnösands gymnasium. Lars Levi Læstadius was Saami from Jäckvik, Arjeplog, County of Norrbotten. During this time Fjellner for the first time Læstadius. Læstadius started later on a new Saami Christian religion “Læstadianism”. It is a very orthodox Christian religion.
My great great-grandfather Lars P. Tjonk Lasko (1788-1855) took care of reindeers belonging to Lars Levi Læstadius father Carl Læstadius (1746-1832) and his family’s reindeer (Taking care of reindeer per year for money) until Sunday, September 9, 1827. Lars-Levi Læstadius father Carl Læstadius had a total of 105 reindeer at the care of Lars Lasko, ie a relatively large herd of reindeer at the time. The annual fee to Lars Lasko for taking care of Carl Læstadius reindeer was at the time 4 Riksdaler Banco per year. In addition, Lars Lasko received exemptions from both the state tax as municipal tax for this. The annual fee of 4 Riksdaler Banco per year was a fairly small amount. The annual fee for taking care of other peoples reindeer in the forest Sami area in 1827 was normal in 12 Riksdaler Banco per year. (See Peter Laestadius Journal p. 448).
Higher studiesat University of Uppsala
Fjellner started his study at University of Uppsala on April 3, 1818. However, Fjellner interrupted his studies in 1820 and was not becoming a priest until much later.
Missionary in northern Sweden
Anders Fjellner was appointed in 1821 as a temporary missionary in Jukkasjärvi and Karesuando “Lapland district” as it was called.
Fjellner was appointed as a priest on August 23 in 1828 in the City of Härnösand.
New services in church
Anders Fjellner was appointed to vacancy-preacher in northern Sweden at Jukkasjärvi and to handle church affairs, (Curam gerens).
Fjellner was also a vacancy-preacher in Karesuando in northern Sweden from 1 May 1838 to December 1841. Lars Levi Laestadius was ordinary priest in May 1, 1826 at Karesuando after being vacancy-preacher at the birth of the home parish of Arjeplog and missionary one year among the Saami in Piteå Lappmark . Lars Levi Laestadius had not applied for the vacancy, but the application was filed in with Læstadius name without his knowledge by Bishop Erik Abraham Almquist. Interestingly, Anders Fjellner not seems to have been influenced by Læstadius and never mentions the revival preacher in his works and writings.
Language skills and interpreter in court
Here he learned both Finnish and North Saami languages. Fjellner native language was South Saami language. Anders Fjellner language skills meant that he was hired as a interpreter at court in Northern Saami and Finnish languages from December 1835 to April year 1842.
In Karesuando he met Christina Päiviö, (Päivadtj according to church records), whom he married in 1839. Christina Päiviö, (daughter of Peter Persson Peiviö (1777-1857) and Elsa Rasmidotter Kitti (1781-1868), was born on the 18th October in Kongama, Enontekiö municipality, Finland, and died in Sorsele municipality, Sweden, in september 10, 1876. With the marriage Anders Fjellner become a reindeer owner.
The son of the sun preparing his ship for sailing,
taking on board important people.
The wind blows in the sails,
Maritime law drives the boat forward;
The waves escape the wind,
rolling the rudder,
The east wind causes the boat
to past the moon, to past the
shining and round disc of the sun.
Sun and Moon become smaller
than the morning star (The fixed star)
witch becoming greater than the large sun,
flushed with other rays,
dazzling with another shimmer,
Sailing for years,
the ship beat the waves,
Finally, a giant beach is in front,
peeking out of the eye, shines.
Giant’s young daughter, the seamstress
of the old blind man,
with a birch bark on fire at the beach … “
So begins a epic of Saami origin.
The poem is about the sons of the sun and their courtship to the land of the giants. A Saami creation story of the Sami people as children of the sun and the moon.
Saami poem that appears in all the Saami National Symbols
The poem of South-Saami Anders Fjellner has left deep tracks in the Saami culture.
Some examples are the Saami flag, wich has a circle in the middle, of whichthe red part of the circle representing the Sun and the blue part of the circle represents the Moon, ie the Saami as the children of the Sun and the Moon. The four colors represent the most common Sami colors found in the Saami costumes in Norway, Finland, Russia and Sweden. (In a post-construction it has been interpreted that the four colors representing that Saami lives in four countries and circle that the Saami, nevertheless, are united as one people. In an other after construction the Saami Parliament in Sweden tried to interpret the meaning of the coulors of the Sami flag as coulors of the nature; (Green-Nature for surviving, Blue-Water for elixir of life, Red-Fire for heat/love and Yellow-Sun for long life. The local Community of Lycksele has made a different interpretation of the colors of the Saami flag as they “symbolize the four elements, nature, water, fire and sun… the circle is a symbol of spirituality …”. The local Community of Sorsele mean “the colors also symbolize important survival elements of the Saami”. It is obvious that the Saami flag has become mythical!
The circle in the flagrepresent that the Saami are united as one people even if the Saami is diveded in several language and spread out in several countries (four coulers).
The Saami famoust multi-artist Nils-Aslak Valkeapää national epic “Beaivi, áhcážan” – “Sun, my father” from year 1988 has in both in the headline as in the text tracks of Fjellner poetry. The Saami Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, who was a Finnish citizen, was honored with a state funeral in Norway.
Likewise, there are traces of Anders Fjellner in the Saami national anthem ”Sámi soga lávlla“;
“Máttarádját mis leat dovle vuoitán vearredahkkiid badjel. Vuostálastot, vieljat, miige sitkatvuođain soardiideamet! Beaivvi bártniidnana nálli! Eai du vuoitte vašálaččat, jos fal gáhttet gollegielat, muittát máttarmáttuid sáni: Sámieatnan sámiide!”
“Our ancestors long ago Trouble makers did defeat. Let us, brothers, also resist Staunchly our oppressors. Oh, tough kin of the sun’s sons, Never shall you be subdued If you heed your golden Saami tongue, Remember the ancestors’ word. Saamiland for Saami!”
In 1986 was the Saami national anthem appointed as the official Saami national anthem.The text is written in 1906 by Sea-saami Isaac Saba (1875-1921) who was born in Nesseby, northern Norway.Isaac Saba was the first Saami who was elected to the Norwegian Parliament.The melody was composed by Arne Sørlie.
A Saami National poem created
In front of the Kings party in Gillesnuole, Sorsele, Sweden, July 9, 1843 wrote Anders Fjellner down the poem about the “sons of the sun”. The poem was first published in newspapers in northern Sweden in September 2, 1843 and in Germany in 1849 “Sonnensöhne.Ein episches Ge dicht der Lappen”. The poem was published in a number of newspapers both in Sweden and abroad as the St. Petersburger Zeitung and Helsinki Morgonblad, and in several books.
Anders Fjellner himself said that the poem is based on one of his recorded yoik of the old Saami man “Leuhnje” in Torne Lapland, Northern Sweden/Northern Finland. The poem would then be build on a Saami legend. Any documents of Fjellner has not been preserved. This has created difficulties in both the interpretation of the poem as well as several translations are available. However, it is most likely, in my opinion, that Anders Fjellner himself stands as the author of the poem. Anyway, if Anders Fjellner has not been recorded a Saami legend, he has created a Saami legend.
Anders Fjellner – Saami national poet
The Saami vicar Bo Lundmark calls Anders Fjellner for Saami Homer in his doctoral thesis, University of Uppsala in 1982, “Baeivi Manno Nástit – Sun and moon cult among the Saami People.” Lundmark has also published a book about the poem “Anders Fjellner – Saami Homer – and the poetry of sons of the Sun” 1979th
Anders Fjellner is without a doubt Saami’s greatest poet and a national poet for the Saami People.
Translations of the poem
Anders Fjellner, who was a South Saami and spoke South Saami language, served for a long time in the north of Sweden and learned Northern Saami language. The poem is written in a mix of North and South Saami languages. This has meant that there are several translations and different interpretations of the poem. The above translation is one of the original example, while Saami priest Bo Lundmark has a slightly different translation in his book about Anders Fjellner.
Meaning of the poem
At first sight, the poem “Sons of the Sun” looks easy to understand. The “Fixed Star” and “Morning star” is undoubtedly the North Star. But what is meant by “People of the Sunny side” and “People of the Moon side” to take a few examples? Could it involve people from a sunnier and more southern area (People of the Sunny side) and another people from a cold and in the winter darker northern area (People of the Moon side)?
Other poems of Saami origin
There is one more poem about Saami origin, which caused a big debate when published in its time over 150 years ago. The poem is, according to a source, a recorded Saami legend in a yoik that tells about a Sami trail north to a fate land. The Saami Peoples way north to Saamiland went, according to legend, by Skane (County of Skåne in southernmost Sweden? – The word Skane is a Saami word explained in the legend as a shoulder bone), Vettarjaure(The lake Vättern in in south of Sweden? – The word Vettar is a Saami word explained in the legend as a lake with high shores in Saami), Garraguoika, (Trollhättan in the south of Sweden? – The word Garraguoika is a Saami word explained in the legend as a dangerous waterfall) and Mellijaure(Lake Mälaren in the south of Sweden?) persecuted by the people Svialads(Swedish People or Germanic tribe? ). The legend was subjected to several analysis, publications and debates of his time. A Legend I shall return later in this blog!
Have legends or old stories relevance for today’s society?