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Saami Droe, Anj


Historically, the Saami are a society of reindeer pastoralists who reside near or north of the Arctic circle in what is now Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Some Saami settlements are nomadic and others are permanent. The regions occupied by the Saami are collectively known as Sapmi or Same-eatnam (Anderson and Beach, 1996:1). This entry focuses on ethnographic evidence collected among the Saami in the Könkämä District of Sweden from 1948-1952, at which time forced assimilation had resulted in mass conversion of the Saami from the traditional shamanic religion to Lutheran Christianity, as well as population loss, increased sedentarization, and loss of historical political structures (Anderson and Beach, 1996:2-7). While there is little explicit information on religion amongst the Saami for the time and place focus of this entry, religion appears to have been important in everyday life for the entire community. Church attendance was regular, as well as rituals such as baptism and confirmation. Reindeer herders worked in multiple shifts on holidays, with churches holding multiple ceremonies to accommodate them (Pehrson, 1957:14). For the Saami, religious beliefs are inseparable from almost all aspects of social life. Therefore, this entry considers the religious group to be coterminous with the society at large.

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Attribution 4.0 International