Ethnic Cleansed Or Enslaved? Drums Or Life? Swedish Saami History, focus South, in the early 1700s (Pt 2)

Edited edition in the miniseries on Saami History. Part 2.


Handicraft, folk medicine and slaughter of horses – symbiosises and slave systems

So the parish-Saami system found its diffusion throughout the central parts of Sweden from County Västmanland and northwards, with the exception of Härjedalen (and up-parish Dalecarlia, roughly all the way to Umeå. The system did not fulfill any particular need in settlers areas due to the lack of taboos against hoorse-slaughtering there.
The strongest and most bound form of these systems took form in counties Gästrikland, central Dalecarlia, Hälsingland and Medelpad-Ångermanland as well as the rural areas of Lake Storsjön’s parishes in Jämtland, all places that were strongly influenced by an old taboo against horse-meat and against slaughtering horse by your own, a very ancient phenonomenon in the farming culture of Scandinavia.
In the traditional parts of Lapland the religious authorities started to collect drums in the 1720s. Since 1660s and the Witchcraft processes Saamis had been sentenced to death; it is to this day unclear how many death penalties there was. The drums were traded towards the Saamis lifes.
The Parish Saami system in Souther Sápmi/Saepmie were thus vastly introduced and established as a kind of compromising solution instead of ethnic cleansing: ”Stay, and become slaves!” The system remained for almost two full centuries. Yet the old Forest Saamis, soon to be Parish-Saamis (sockenlappar) refused to get totally sedentary; and remained moving through at last the 1700s and for many groups much longer. In many cases the Paris Saami hired other Saami herders. What it resulted in, this system: the full extinction of Forest Saamis in an area of a size huge as a good Greece or a good Arkansas..

A proclamation of 1756 by the Governor of Gefleborg becomes the start signal for confiscation of arms between Mars 14 to July 29 from the parish-Saamis. The reindeer labour peoples were furthermore threatened with forced laabour – one can call it solave labour – as the majoroty population, on the other hand, already were forced to. When the Saamis of Torsåker and Ovansjö parishes (in Gästrikland county) violated the prohibition of hunting and escaped the confications; they ended up in prison. These parish-Saamis’s wives, Sigrid Jonsdotter and Lisa Klemensdottter (they were married to, respectively, Jonas Jonsson and Thomas Jonsson) wrote an application for bail. In this they claimed their husbands freedom due to that the people in their parish actually

by us did order works with nottågor (ropes for fishing net), which they now on spring necessarily beneedet, and therefore thus highly must acquire.

These close-to-coastal Saamis products consisted a crucial for the fishing branch; since they were skilled rope-makers whose rope-tows were used by the Gävle fishermen to net and not. Other crafts like tool-making, gear, brushes, brooms and baskets were made by wood or metal. Juniper, furs and other material were bases. Women collected herbs and made healing unctions.
The Russian Anthropologist Khazanov have written that a symbiosis between the nomads and the farmers of Eurasia did appear.
But we will also have a close look at the exctinction of the forest Saamis; since they are all extinct now in 8-11 counties or in Swedish landskap; everywhere south of a line Sveg-Angaria.
In upcoming essays we will also look at the Mountain Saamis and their habit of using pasturage for their reindeers along the Bothnic gulf coast. I aim at summarizing the whole period of time till present.

PICTURES: 1) Knud Leem 1700s, via Saamiblog (Norweigan Saamis)
2) One of Äppelbo parishes Saami wooden sleighs (ackja, sg Swedish.), regarded as remainings of the Dalecarlia-Saamis that nomadized with reindeers in the westernmost parts of the county. Maybe even to Värmland.
Photo from Äppelbo hembygdsförening, the local heritage association.

EDITED Aug 6, 2015

Peter Ericson

PS. Please note: I will during the fall/autumn re-do this series once again; I wll write in a strict scientific way with a full-fledged note apparatus.



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