Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday's postcard: Sami girl and a reindeer

At every turn, I come across more Christmas-related ephemera, so I think I'm going exclusively with holiday-themed blog posts in the final week leading up to Christmas.

This old postcard, from Norway, features "a Lapp girl and a reindeer,"1 as it states on the back of the card. I'm calling her a Sami girl (and not a Lapp girl) in the headline for today's post, because that's the more correct term.

But it's complicated. Very complicated.

The Wikipedia page on Sami (which, itself, can also be spelled Sámi or Saami) includes an entire 600-word subsection on the etymology of Sami and the use of Lap, Lapp and Laplanders as alternate (and, to some, pejorative) names for the Sami people.

And who are the Sami? They are, per Wikipedia, "the arctic indigenous people inhabiting Sápmi2, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway."

Reindeer have been herded for centuries by the Sami, who used them for their meat, hides, antlers and, to a lesser extent, for milk and transportation. More details from Wikipedia:
"Today, in Norway and Sweden, reindeer husbandry is legally protected as an exclusive Sami livelihood, such that only persons of Sami descent with a linkage to a reindeer herding family can own, and hence make a living off, reindeer. ... Among the reindeer-herders in the Saami villages the women usually have a higher level of formal education in the area."
Beyond all that, it's nice to look at a postcard with some snow it! I'm a little cranky about the fact that there's no snow in our upcoming forecast here in southcentral Pennsylvania, and we haven't had any snow at all since the Halloween weekend snowstorm.3

The postcard also made me smile because I've been spending the past few weeks at the newspaper handling our readers' submitted photos of their deer-hunting harvests.4 So it's nice to see a photograph of an actual living deer. (Even if the girl here is simply sizing up Blitzen for the holiday feast.)

1. The complete printed text from the back of this unused postcard:
  • Norway. Samepike med reinsdyr.
  • F-505-0. A Lapp girl and a reindeer.
  • Foto Amundsen.
  • Enerett: Knut Aūne Kunstforlag Printed in Norway
  • Ultra
2. Sápmi has its own soccer team, the Sámi Spábbáčiekčanlihttu, which won the 2006 Viva World Cup. And, yes, I just wanted to include the name Sámi Spábbáčiekčanlihttu on Papergreat.
3. At right is a picture of our Goldendoodle, Coby, checking out the path I shoveled in the aftermath of the February 5–6, 2010, and February 9–10, 2010, snowstorms. I am missing snow!
4. For my newspaper's take on deer-harvest photos, check out "What’s with the dead deer photos every year?" by York Daily Record/Sunday News managing editor Randy Parker on the YDR Insider blog.

1 comment:

  1. I had to laugh about the "What's with all the dead deer photos?" part, because we have the same dilemma here! Deer hunting is HUGE but there is the faction who'd rather not see the hunters with their dead "trophy". :D

    We don't have ANY snow either! I'm crabby about it too, especially when I learned today that parts of TEXAS may have a white Christmas and we most likely won't. How is that fair? :D