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.

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