“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 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?
I am often asked why I deal with history and not to improve the future situation for the Saami People?
I usually respond that the future is a creation of the history.To look back creates opportunities for the future. If we do not look back a part of the future will be lost.Examples of this is that all lawsuits in Sweden, Norway and Finland where the Saami People won right to land, fishing rights, hunting rights or any other right has depended on knowledge of history (and of course a lot of knowledge of law).Without knowing the history Saami had to lost all these lawsuits.History is the way to a better juridical future for the Saami people as well as for all other indigenous peoples.
A people’s knowledge of their own history reinforces their own self-identity and tell us who we are.Without the knowledge of our own history we do not know who we are and where we come from.
History can also be abused.Lies can be used in destructive purposes.During 2016 it has been in the north Swedish newspapers, letters to the editor, in blogs or on websites statements that the Saami are immigrants in their own country, they do not have rights to a specific area of Lapland, the Saami shamanism is a copy of the Viking religion or that the Saami should go home where they come from and much more.By knowing our own history we can respond to the lies with facts.Without knowledge of history destructive lies can to live and thrive.
Knowledge of history fills an important function in our society!Historical knowledge has in 2016 given us a greater insight into who we are and where we come from, refutes several historical lies with facts, contributed to the Saami people to win lawsuits and hopefully created something better foundation for the future.
But, myself is not only working with history.I usually reply that I also work with law, politics, and to improve the Saami situation here and now. I do not want wait for the future, but let the future be realized today. I´m just to old for waiting. Everything can not be done, and everything can not be addressed at once.However, a trip starts with a first step.To reach the destination we have to initiate the trip.To stand still and is leading nowhere!
During the past year 2016, I, as a local politician in a Saami administrative municipality, made suggestions such as Saami language should be a merit in appointments as well as knowledge of the Saami culture, the municipal website and information should also be available in the Saami language, and that our local municipality now will be the first municipality in Sweden with Saami street signs.Personally, I am satisfied with what has been achieved in politics of the local municipal level during 2016. Hopefully the our little municipality in the high mountains will become a model municipality for other municipalities in Lapland.However, much remains to be done and much has to change in order to create a better future here and now.Hopefully in 2017 will be a year of change for the Saami people for the better future.
historic anniversary year2017
What can we expect from 2017?
Without a doubt, 2017 will be the year of jubilee and especially for 100-year-olds!
I do not mean only that the LION celebrates 100 years as SSU, BMV, Swedish Chess Club, Swedish Brevduveförbundet, Swedish Vorstehklubben, Sigtunastiftelsen who built the city Sigtuna or other 100-year jubilee.
Nor do I mean that it is 100 years since the Russian Revolution that certainly will be noticed.
I do not mean that it’s been 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany, and created a new Christianity.The event in itself is not historically coated.But, regardless, it has changed northern Europe.
Instead, I mean the Saami 100-year celebrations in the city of Trondheim, Norway.In year 1917 it was the first time that meeting was held with Saami representatives from both North and South. Id was the first meeting for the people Saami. The meeting is celebrated every year by the Saami National Day 6 February in memory of the Saami people first joint meeting.
Rather, I mean that independent Finland celebrates 100 years and where the Saami will be focus in several ways.The jubilee year starts at the beginning of 2017 and culminating in the independence day of Finland in December.The opening of the jubilee year starts with a big and visible festival on New Year’s Eve in the capital Helsinki.The theme of the anniversary year is “together” and hopefully the Finnish anniversary year will contribute more to include the Saami people.
Rather, I mean that the city of Sollefteå in Lapland, including the 100-year jubilee cities Trollhattan and Katrineholm, celebrates 100 years.Hopefully the 100 year anniversary will make the Saami and Saami culture more visibility in Sollefteå than before.
With this brief flashback to the topic Saami history I wish all readers of this blog a Happy New Year 2017.
“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!
During the 1950-1970 were among the Sami a joke about how you define a Saami family. The answer was 1 father, 1 mother, 2 children, 1 dog and 1 researcher.
Saami people – The most researched people in the world?
The humorous story has actually a small grain of truth. There are a countless number of research papers on Sami virtually everything possible. Already in the 1600s and onwards financed the Swedish State research expeditions to Lapland to find out about the Saami People.
The view of the Saami people from other eyes
Most of what is researched and written about the Sami people are from other peoples.
It would take until 1972 before Saami got their own research institution, “Sami Instituhtta” in Kautokeino, Norway. Saami started to research about themselves and produced research about themselves. Today, the picture is completely different with a large number of Saami researchers and Saami research institutions.
Today’s researchers, whether they are Saami or not, and their research result about the Sami should certainly not be underestimated. Research is today free and objective, as well as all knowledge is good. However, research has not always been free and objective!
Several historians has declared that the Sami do not even have any history like K.B. Wiklund, Björn Collinder, Gustav von Duben or as another historian put it, “The Saami are the People without history”.
Saami history from a Saami perspective
This blog is intended to inform about Saami history from a Saami perspective. The same thing and the same event can be interpreted differently depending on how you look at an object or phenomenon. This is a blog that looks at Saami history with other glasses than you’re used to…
Mun sávan buohkaide ráfálaš Juovla ja Ođđajagi ávvudeami 2017! (Saami)
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2017!
For most people around the world, Christmas is an imported tradition. In earlier times there was not Christmas in Sami tradition. Today Christmas is celebrated among the Sami in the same way as that of other peoples in the world. Maybe Sea Saami have some more delicacies from the sea, perhaps Fishing Saami have more salted fish of different shapes and maybe reindeer herders have more reindeer meat among all the Christmas Ham and dried, salted and lye Stockfish (Lutfisk)? Otherwise, the Christmas celebrations is the same as for everyone else on earth.
That Christmas is imported to the Saami People can be seen in the Saami language. In the East Saami language area is the word Christmas originated from the Russian word for Christmas “Roždest” (Рождест). In the West Saami language area is the word Christmas originating from the Nordic “Jul” and the old germanic word “jehwla”. Jehwla originally meant only likely to “feast”.
Merry Christmas can be said in many ways in Saami. The reason is that the Saami language is actually many different languages. It has “Merry Christmas” in Sami from northern to southern Saamiland – A language trip from the White Sea at Kola Peninsula in Russia to the deep forests at the Coutny of Dalarna in the south Sweden;
Šuvv Rostov!(Ter Saami language)
Rostov Pijven!(Kilding Saami language)
Siõǥǥ Rosttvid!(Skolt Saami language)
Pyereh Juovlah!(Inari Saami language)
Buorit Juovllat!(Northern Saami language)
Buorre Javlla!(Lule Saami language)
Buorre Jåvvlå!(Pite Saami language)
Buörrie Juvvla!(Ume Saami language)
Lahkoe jåvle!(Southern Saami language)
In addition there were until 1700s the Kainu Saami language and 1800s the Kemi Saami language in Finland. Very few is speaking Akkala Saami language in Russia. Kemi Saami language and Kainu Saami language are now extinct languages!
It´s belived that in ancient time were more Sami languages in central and south Finland and in Karelia (Koponen, 1996; Saarikivi, 2004; Aikio, 2007).
In Sweden there are a list of 1.644 Saami words from Valbo, Gästrikland, recorded in 1770 – 1780 by a student Petrus Holmberg to Carl von Linné. A summary of the list was published by K.B. Wiklund. The whole list could be find in manuscript collection number 105 by historian Ihré at UBB, University of Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden. This may indicate that there has been a futher Saami language, or South Saami dialect, south of the South Saami language.
About “Merry Christmas” in Lule Saami language it was traditionally ”Buorre Javla”. However, today it is more populare to say Buorre Javlla.
Although Christmas traditions are a relatively recent among the Sami and Sami culture. My father, who was born on the 25th December 1914, told me that in his youth he noticed that the Swedes had Christmas trees. Of course, he also wanted a Christmas tree at his home in Alesdis (Eagle Bay).
With his younger brother they skied around 3 mile over the lake Tjeggelvas to Guosak. “Guosak” means in Saami language where the fir trees growing. There cut down a tree and began to drag it across the lake to their home.
In the middle of the lake, they met an elderly Saami from Ales Giehtje. Ales Giehtje means in Saami language “The west end” of the lake Tjeggelvas. The older Saami man recommended the young people that they should trimming the tree and take away all the sprigs. Then the tree will be easier to transport. My father explained that they had been cutting a “Jåvvlåguossa” (Christmas tree in Saami). The older Sami explained that there are no Christmas trees – just trees – and asked which trees would only grows during Christmas?
Back home my father set up the Christmas treewith no decorations. My grandfather Nila arrived home in the evening from the reindeer hearding. My grandfather spoke no Swedish, and had never heard of Swedish Christmas traditions. In addition, my parents lived completely cut off from the outside world with no road, electricity, telephone, running water or other amenities. The first thing my grandfather wondered was; Why there was a tree in the house? The Christmas tree was not very long-lived. It was takend out after a few days. My grandfather thought it was youthful stupidity to take in a tree into the house and for what?
With this little Christmas story from historic day in the mountains, I wish all of you, who read this blog, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2017!
As mentioned before the aim of this blog is to be a small light in the darkness and try to spread information about Saami history.
Hopefully this blog will to create interest in Saami history and inspire others to study, read,discuss, and maybe start blogging about Saami history, Saami Culture and Saami traditions!
Hopefully this blog will also be a small contribution to the understanding and respect for the Saami and Saami culture, increasetolerance to the Saami People and open the hearts.
The purpose of this blog is also to give our international visitors a helping hand in and around the Saami History and Saami Rights. Therefore the blog is entirely written in English and aimed towards an international audience. However, if you understand Scandinavian languages the blog will also be in Swedish at www.samiskhistorieblogg.wordpress.com