GÏELH ÅARJELRAEDTESTE - Voices from the South
Røros Sámi society and a new age
From the early 20th century, many Sámi people started to assert their rights. Changes in the law and a discriminatory attitude among the Norwegianmajority had a big impact on Sámi life. In the South especially, reindeer grazing areas were severely restricted, and Sámi language and culture cam eunder extreme pressure.
Strong political engagement led to the first national congress of the Sámi population in Trondheim in 1917. The impact of the ‘Lapp laws’ and regulation of reindeer herding at the end of the 19th century meant that many of them wanted to strengthen Sámi rights. The establishment of Sámi organisations at the beginning of the 20th century was seen as an important way of bringing about change.
In the Norwegian national movement, agriculture was the symbol of the future, and Sámi culture did not fit into this picture. Scientific theories and powerful political forces resulted in changes in the law, which benefited farmers at the expense of Sámi rights. Sámi existence was seriously threatened and the nomadic way of life was gradually abandoned. This led to big changes in Sámi society.
This exhibition takes a closer look at the back ground to the national congress in 1917. The fight for Sámi rights is farfrom over. Everyday life for many Sámi is still affected by old laws and a majority society which sees the world from a Norwegian perspective. At the same time, much has happened in the last 30 years which points in a more positive direction, and the Sámi population in Norway is now recognised as an indigenous people.
The Røros Sámi area extends from Meråker inthe North to Engerdal in the South and Trollheimen in the West. Reindeer herding, the Sámi language and handicrafts are key elements of Sámi culture.
The exhibits are on loan from Norsk Folkemuseum and were collected in the period 1889-1950. Many of the objects tell of a nomadic way of life, which was on the way out in 1917.
Photos (from left):
- Reindeer gathered forcalf-marking near Forborgen in Engerdal.
- Reindeer and sleighs were acommon means of transport for the Sámi when they needed to go to Røros. December 1916.
- Herdsmen with reindeer near Forborgen in Engerdal. In the course of the year, the reindeer need access to varied grazing, a hospitable climate and good calving land, and the herdsmen follow them over large areas.‘
- Lapp encampment near Røros’, cabin in Flensmarka ca. 1890
- Herdsmen with reindeer in Saanti Sijte, Essand district.