Saami History – a Story about a Brutal Colonization, Torture, Slavery … (part 1: 2)

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The Saami History In Sweden – a summary before the ”Great Mini-series” on SouthSaamiHistory continues.

This is a Story about a Brutal Colonization, indeed, when we summarize it sofar;
including Slavery, torture, punishments by whipping in skin, Ethnic Cleansing, religious oppression ….

This is a Story about a Brutal Colonization

In the Northern provinces in the recent colony of Norrland mining started in 1635,
basically it meant slavery labour for the Saamis, including heavy transport duties.
There were severe torture waiting for those who refused. Some were threatened to be drowned in the river and drawn under the ice.
Religious oppression pushed the Saamis in Pite lappmark either to Norway, down to the rural areas closer to the coas, or south bound to the fellow nation Saamis, the Forest Saamis in Dalecarlia. People were burnt alive, or threatened to be;
forced to leave their old beliefs and their drums collected and put away.


Picture: The Arctic University of Norway Tromsö

Upon all this, came a very heavy tax burden all over the area forced the Saamis to change life-style and focus totally on the reindeer husbandry;
and in the mid-areas, in Jämtland and Härjedalen more and more settlers came and wanted a huger piece of the cake, already forgetting from which they had taken their shares of the land.
In the Southern landscapes or shires we note dislocations, supplantations; an increasing amount of restrictions on hunting etc in a more or less non-stop continuum in about 1645-1760.

Ethnic cleansings emptied fairly soon the whole of Mälardalen Valley, not to mention the whole of Svealand with Lake Vänern, Vättern, Hjälmaren and the vast province of Bergslagen.

During the 1800s the Southern Forest culture got totally extinct.
The infant mortality got up to figures aroung 90%!

The Saami history is almost too similar to the one about the both Americas and their indigenous peoples; like in, for example Uruguay. Ther are just gone.
Gone, vanished, extinct.
They lived mainly only in the sagas, stories, some written memories
(probably also in the landscape and trails)

The ”Swedish way” has been a pretended, smooth strategy.
But, as we van see, the Saamis are still pushed away.

They are vanished from 1/3 of the surface they once inhabited in Sweden!

To be continued.

Peter Ericson, Scholar in South Saami History, Mid-Saepmie.

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