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.)

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