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Posted on 06/15/2008 8:34:34 AM PDT by blam
Volume 61 Number 4, July/August 2008
by Zach Zorich
Indigenous Saami are rediscovering their long-lost heritage
Smithsonian archaeologist Noel Broadbent and Tim Bayliss-Smith of Cambridge University walk past a line of 1,100-year-old hut foundations at Grundskatan. (Zach Zorich)
Smithsonian archaeologist Noel Broadbent offers me a handful of blueberries he has picked from the shrubs that hug the forest floor. I pop them into my mouth. The pulp and seeds are sugary, rough, and slick at the same time. In early September the leaves change color and the berries ripen on Sweden's Hornsland peninsula.
Broadbent crouches by the trail and picks up a hunk of pale gray lichen. "This is what the reindeer eat," he announces before letting it fall to the ground. But the sun is beginning to dip below the treetops and I am too preoccupied with getting to the archaeological site before dark to notice that this is my first lesson in how the landscape fed the ancestors of the Saami people and what meanings the geography held for them.
The Saami (formerly called Lapps) have lived in northern Scandinavia and Russia's Kola peninsula since the glaciers retreated some 10,000 years ago. Today, they number fewer than 100,000 people, many of whom have assimilated into Scandinavian culture but still maintain ties to their ancestral lands and family reindeer herds.
The black dots on the map show the distribution of places with Saami names, evidence that they had once settled far beyond the borders of "Lapland."
Because the Saami are historically known from the accounts of priests and government officials, they have been stereotyped as nomadic reindeer herders who live only in what was once called "Lapland," an area that extends from the coast of the Arctic Ocean 300 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Sweden.
Except for the work of Broadbent and a few others, Saami prehistory before they adopted reindeer herding 400 or 500 years ago is largely a blank slate. Historic texts identified them as hunters who traveled on skis, but said little else. This lack of history has made it difficult for modern Saami to establish their rights to land that was once used for grazing their reindeer. "It is a common problem of indigenous people around the world," Broadbent says. "People without written histories of their own can be helped by archaeology in asserting their rights to their own history."
A 2002 decision by a Swedish court ruled that archaeological evidence was not admissible in land-rights cases. Nevertheless, Broadbent's work is helping to define ancient Saami history, part of which comes from the site at Hornsland on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia, 500 miles south of the Arctic Circle.
The Swedish state and landowners are claiming rights to land far north of here, based on the assumption that the Saami never settled this far south. Broadbent doesn't see himself as an activist, but that doesn't make his finds less controversial or less important in helping the Saami establish their cultural identity.
Mari Boine Nils Gaup Anni-Kristiina Juuso Lars Levi Læstadius Joni Mitchell Isak Saba Nils-Aslak Valkeapää Renée Zellweger
This is from the six page article in the current issue of Archaeology Magazine.
"Not long ago, cytogenetic experts stirred up a controversy with their "ground-breaking" findings on the origins of the Finnish and Sami peoples. Cytogenetics is by no means a new tool in bioanthropological research, however. As early as the 1960s and '70s, Finnish researchers made the significant discovery that one quarter of the Finns' genetic stock is Siberian, and three quarters is European in origin. The Samis, however, are of different genetic stock: a mixture of distinctly western, but also eastern elements. If we examine the genetic links between the peoples of Europe, the Samis form a separate group unto themselves, and other Uralic peoples, too have a distinctive genetic profile. "
Yup... soon the only place where you’ll be able to find authentic Swedish ethnicity is the United States. Maybe we can go back there someday and re-seed the population.
We’ll have to fight the arabs for it.
My younger brother had (bless his soul) what I call 'Richard Gere' eyes as do his children. I notice that Renée Zellweger has them too...maybe related to the Sa'ami?
My wife’s grandmother had those eyes. Very deep set. Also had a lot of sisu.
Gere is Jewish, I have read speculation that Finns and Lapps both have links to the northern “Lost Tribes” of Israel.
I can believe it. Being part Finn (1/4) I have to note that if I do any of those celebrity facial things that my second oldest son looks like Mulder from X-files (Jewish) and my oldest daughter matches Gwenyth Paltrow and some Israeli pop star (both Jewish) although my second oldest matches either eastern European models or Japanese models.
Today there are only about 500 people who still speak Skolt. In Russia, Skolt numbers after the Russian takeover of Finland in 1812 plummeted as the Russians began depending on such people to open up Siberia and Alaska. The Skolt in Finland appear to have moved to Reindeer Crossing (as I call Ruäˊvnjargg - a name preserved in an old family term "Amarusia") and been assimilated.
That town, BTW, was burned to the ground by the German army as they were driven out of Finland at the end of the Continuation War (circa 1941). Recall that the Finish Army first defeated the Red Army tactically (but not strategically), and then had to defeat the German Army, again tactically if not strategically, at the request of the USSR as part of the deal to cease hostilities. A hard core of 5,000 or so ski mounted expert marksmen - probably mostly Sa'ami - successfully defeated two world class armies. The world at large took another 5 years to put an end to the conflict.
Although your folks appear to have had a rather recent arrival in America, it's worth noting that as early as 1638 the Swedes made a regular practice of kidnapping Sa'ami families who strayed too near Stockholm, and then shipping them to New Sweden (Souvrn NJ, Delaware, SE PA, and Central Maryland). Although Sweden didn't have an independent colony for long in America, it did make a deal with the United Kingdom that allowed it to ship Sa'ami and troublemakers to America where they would work to provide natural resources to Sweden, e.g. trees for ships.
Many more Americans than can properly be realized have one or more Sa'ami ancestors who was kidnapped by the Swedes to work as a slave in America choppin down trees.
Well, maybe I'm wrong. Many Americans have an affinity for the Emperor of the North with the long white beard who rides a reindeer.
NOTE: for a Chinese rendering check out the Three Emperor's picture on the wall at Gen Lai Sen Hakka Seafood Restaurant. 1065 12th Avenue San Diego, CA 92101 - the Hakka having been the original "barbarians" whose lifestyle demands caused the Chinese to build the Great Wall.
But, back on topic. No doubt Sa'ami have a higher than normal percentage of folks with a more than average number of red receptors as well as rods in their eyes ~ which you really do need to spend half your time in the dark. They are also physiologically in tune with living under cold conditions. Living in the lower latitudes turns some of those adaptations into life threatening conditions though.
I suspect Finns are nearly as well adapted.
Sisu is a Finnish term that could be roughly translated into English as strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity. The equivalent in English is "to have guts", and indeed, the word derives from sisus, which means something inner or interior. However, sisu has a long-term element in it; it is not momentary courage, but the ability to sustain the same.
Another famous Sa'ami is Kevin Sorbo.
Aha. The horse-faced appearance of some English people (e.g. Camilla Parker-Bowles) is explained at last!
We recently had an article in here about the Druze in Israel who appear to draw on just about every type of Europen, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern population group (when it comes to genes). They also have individuals who carry the X-Factor, an identifying gene group for Sa'ami, Berbers and Chippewa Indians. Druze also have a decidedly Indian viewpoint when it comes to reincarnation, and that may suggest some of their origins.
Until recently philologists thought Sa'ami was simply part of the Uralic-Altaic language group. That was because it has a large Uralic-Altaic vocabulary. At the same time it has some grammatical features in common with German. Analysts thought Sa'ami had picked up those features through contact with "more advanced" Germans.
Later research shows that "less advanced" Germans picked up those grammatical features from the Sa'ami at some unknown point thousands of years ago.
Sa'ami languages are pretty much in their own group and may be more closely relate to Dravidian languages than to Indo-European, Asian or Afro-Semitic tongues.
Haplogroups 12,000 Years Ago
The three groups of humans had taken refuge for so long that their DNA had naturally picked up mutations, and consequently can be defined into different haplogroups. As they spread from these refuges, Haplogroups R1b, I and R1a propagated across Europe.
- Haplogroup R1b is common on the western Atlantic coast as far as Scotland.
- Haplogroup I is common across central Europe and up into Scandinavia.
- Haplogroup R1a is common in eastern Europe and has also spread across into central Asia and as far as India and Pakistan.
These three major haplogroups account for approx 80% of Europe's present-day population.
Around 8,000 years ago (Map 3), the Neolithic peoples of the Middle East that had developed the new technology of agriculture began moving into Europe. There were several haplogroups involved, mainly E3b, F, J2 and G2.
From 8,000 Years Ago
These Neolithic haplogroups came in several waves over time and are found predominantly along the Mediterranean coast. Around 20% of the present-day population are from these Neolithic haplogroups. What is interesting to note is that the agricultural technology spread much further than the people who first 'invented' it.
A little later, around 4,500 years ago, Haplogroup N3 began moving across from west of the Ural mountains. Haplogroup N3 follows closely the spread of the Finno-Ugric languages.
He describes it as an adventure among the Asian looking white people. (He's Indian BTW).
He also noted that they didn't seem to be dressed properly for the weather!
I always thought Joni Mitchell had big teeth.
Camilla Parker-Bowles(Photo above)
"Well, maybe I'm wrong. Many Americans have an affinity for the Emperor of the North with the long white beard who rides a reindeer."
For those of you who didn't catch the meaning of the above statement...he's speaking of Santa Claus whose origins are from the Sa'ami people.
BTW, that was just this last Tuesday evening when I saw the Hakka version of the "three emperors" for the first time.
They used to herd reindeers too!