Monday, November 21, 2016

A few Sami drawings

Here are a couple of details from a lovely old map, showing Sami boats and boat-makers.

Obviously this map was intended to be more of an entertaining conversation/educational map than something you would use for navigation.

Different maps have different purposes.


And here are some very old Sami drawings of their own boats.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Sea Sami and their Boats

 Although the Sami are most famous for their reindeer, many, if not most, were traditionally fishermen who lived on the edges of the fjords and built strong, sea-worthy boats.
 Traditional Sami boats were often made without nails. Instead, the boats were "laced," their boards stitched together with cords made from various local materials, like leather or plant fibers.


 Sami boats were popular with their more southern neighbors, the Scandinavians. The Scandinavians bought many boats from Sami builders.
Here is an old picture of the inside of a permanent Sami house, from a Sami fishing (Sea Sami) community. The Sea Sami were sedentary--they didn't follow herds of reindeer around, but tended to stay in one place.

In the picture to the right, you can see fish drying in the background on two poles.
 Since the seashores of northern Europe are very cold, the walls of Sami houses had to be very thick to keep families warm through the winter.

Families built houses out of whatever materials they had on hand--where wood was common, they used wood. Where wood wasn't common, people built houses out of stone or sod (dirt.) Some of the oldest still-standing houses in the world were built of stone and surrounded by sod in very cold places, thousands of years ago. A stone house is very sturdy and can last for a very long time, after all.



Sunday, November 6, 2016

Picture Post: Sami




I have so got to clean out my research files, so here are a few gems.

Here is a Sami family with reindeer, (courtesy of Wikipedia,) taken around 1900. (Traditional Sami clothing was not as brightly colored as more modern festive clothing, which I like very much.)



And here is an old photo of what looks like the same family with their summer home, (also from Wikipedia) in style much like the tipis of North America or the yurts of the Eurasian steppes. This doesn't mean the Sami got their tipis from the Native Americans, or vice versa.

Mobile people have always had to keep their belongings few and easy to pack, including their homes. The tipi is a very efficiently designed home for a mobile people, and thus more than one group has likely hit upon the idea, independent of each other.

Location of Sami homeland in northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia (map also from Wikipedia.) The Sami are the most northerly ethnic group in Europe, traditionally making their living by herding reindeer (for which they are famous) and fishing (for which they are less famous.) Living so far north meant the Sami couldn't adopt intensive agriculture, as was common throughout southern Europe, because it was too cold and the growing season was just too short.

(The Scandinavian settlement in Greenland struggled and ultimately failed to grow enough food during their short, cool summers.)