Sami

Örnsköldsvik Municipality is part of Sweden, but also part of Sápmi, the Sami country. Sápmi is the entire Cap of the North, from the Russian Kola Peninsula in the East to the Swedish province of Dalarna in the South. The Sami are one of the indigenous peoples of the world. Indigenous peoples include groups that have lived in the same place and have their own culture and language.

 

The Sami are associated with reindeer herding. Today, only about 10% of the Sami in Sweden work with reindeer and historically not everyone did either. However, reindeer have been the Sami's most important source of income. It started with following the wild reindeer's migration between mountains and coast and then changed to having more and more domesticated reindeer. For a period, the Sami payed their taxes to the state in reindeer, but they needed even more reindeer to make that work.

 

Twice a year, the whole reindeer herd and the whole family were moved between the forests closer to the coast and the mountains. A hike that could be around 400 kilometres. The reindeer are still moved between the mountains and the forest, but today the whole family does not have to go along.

 

Lapp Bailiffs

In the early 1600s, when the Sami began to pay their taxes in the form of fish and reindeer, instead of game skins, the state had its own reindeer herds. They were guarded by special Lapp bailiffs. 

 

Parish Lapps

Parish Lapps earned their livelihood in the parish by slaughtering, neutering, and skinning horses, but also cats and dogs. They were often also good at root handicrafts and made baskets and rope, among other things. When the peasants' taboo concerning horse slaughter faded, many of them became pure craftsmen and the parish Lapps disappeared at the end of the 1800s.

 

Forest Sami

Forest Sami had a small reindeer herd with a few lure reindeer. Lure reindeer were used to attract wild reindeer. Reindeer existed in the wild until the mid-1800s. The forest Sami's main occupation was fishing and hunting. The reindeer were periodically released and periodically rounded up, to use for milk, for example.