"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Happy Sami Day

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Happy Sami Day

Happy Sami Day. Thanks to "Stranger in a Strange Land" for piquing my interest in my family's Sami roots.  Laestadianism's history is inseparable from the history of the Sami people. Someday when I have more time, I would like to investigate how ancient Sami culture is still expressed (and repressed) among its descendants.

This is my daughter last year at her elementary school's Cultural Festival. She chose a colorful outfit to go with the flag and was very proud to carry it.  

How about you? What is your connection to Sami history or culture?


  1. What is my connection to Sami history or culture.. I'll take a stab at it ;-). I think the Sami culture is something most people of Laestadian background have present in their lives in some form because it was passed down to them in habits, attitudes, foods, and perhaps even their place in society. Ancient Sami culture, probably not so much, but definitely 19th century culture. Is it possible to reclaim or express that culture, or is it desirable? I don't know. For me, the Sami or even modern Finnish culture doesn't really speak to me, and it's not something I strive to understand. The only thing that's valuable to me are memories and geneology of Finnish/Sami family members. I'd like to visit Lapland, but not Finland so much.. if given the choice I'd rather go to Tuscany. Go figure :-). I'd rather look forward than backward at this point in life, preserving knowledge of our heritage but open to new family history being written every day.

  2. "I'd rather look forward than backward at this point in life, preserving knowledge of our heritage but open to new family history being written every day."

    Beautifully said, Norah.

  3. One could also say that the history of the Sami people is also inseparatable from Laestadianism. Laestadianism is the majority religion in most of Sapmi (Lapland). Only the South Sami of Sweden and Norway (which, incidentally, is South of Lapland proper) and the Skolt (East) Sami of far northeastern Finland/Western Russia are not Laestadian. They are state church Lutheran and Orthodox, respectively. Very few Laestadians in America acknowledge their Sami roots. It was a topic of controversy that my great-grandfather, incidentally a very influential preacher, was a "Lapp." It was sometimes said, and then unsaid on the next breath. There was a part of the family that acknowledged it, and others who would not admit it, in favor of a Finnish identity. Now, I do love my Finnish identity. I even married a man from Finland. I am crazy in love with my Finnish man, but our cultures are very different. I also have met other Finns and liked them very well.

    However, when I've met Sami people they remind me of my relatives far more than the Finns I've met. My ancestors certainly were Finnish-SPEAKING. But whether they were predominantly genetically Finnish or not--in my mind, is not clear.

    --Stranger in a Strange Land

  4. LLLreader here: The last edition of the Finnish-American newspaper had an article about the poverty experienced by the Finns before they came to the US. Even one story about a mother making gruel from tree bark. I don't remember hearing anything from either side of my family about this issue. Did anyone else?

  5. LLLreader, we heard that story many times. I know our grandparents' families didn't have much, but I understood that it was lack of food that lead to their coming to America. I still wonder where they got the money to make the journey. I've asked, but no one seems to know (they never thought to ask their parents). For my maternal grandmother, it was a family of five, at least. Even in a clunker of a boat, it couldn't have been cheap.

    It's a piece of my history I would love to find.


  6. I first realized my Sami roots when I saw a picture of a Sami woman. She looked exactly like my grandmother. It caused me to begin to read about the Sami people. I often wondered my background did not have a "culture" of dance and art like other nationalities did. I certainly did not associate the
    hymns we sangs at the OALC with "my culture." As I read about Laestadius, I found that he told the Sami people not to dance or play their music. He told them this, because the government thought the Sami's ways to be paganistic. It was against the law for the Sami people to play their drums and dance. Thus, our culture became "hidden."
    When I saw the Sami women singing in the previous blog, I saw a brief glance of "our culture.!"
    Thank you!!!

  7. Thought this link could be interesting for readers here. http://laestadian-ism.blogspot.com/2010/02/public-figures-and-laestadianism.html

  8. I have always wondered about my heritage, but whenever I ask what nationality we are or where we came from, as a child and as an adult, I am simply told "mutt" or "heinz57" with a laugh.

    It can be hard on culture days to have nothing to contribute and honestly have no idea. Sometimes I feel lost, but I dont know if its just because of that "stranger in a strange land" feeling after leaving the church or if because I really dont know where I came from. But I know who I am in Christ today, and where Im going, so I focus on that :)

    I think my church heritage would be finnish, swedish or sami, but I dont know :p Ive wondered about the old russian women I see for they look just like little lap women and oalc grandmothers...

    For now we just celebrate the history of Gods people everywhere in the world and enjoy learning about others stories and heritage.

    Im wondering if the suppression mentality was passed down along the generations too without realizing it, and the reasons were forgotton but the actions are still there? Someday I may research it more... when my children have heritage day :P

  9. The Clark County Sheriff's Office is investigating child molestation in the OALC. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Major Crimes Detective at 3603972028. It is not ok to tell victims and families NOT to report it to the police. These pedophiles are repeat, offenders.

  10. Interesting that the Clark County Sheriff is doing a full investigation. Pedophiles should be punished for their crimes, not protected. There was recently an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about a 27 year old "church volunteer" who has been arrested for having sexual relations with a 14 year old youth. It seems her parents cooperated with the police, which is a very good thing.

    I'm not sure why this was posted under the Sami information. I want to be sure to clarify that the molestation issues in the church have absolutely no correlation to the group's sometimes hidden Sami ancestry. It is unfortunate it was posted here. I also want to clarify that not all Laestadians have Sami ancestry as well, although many do.