March 9, 2017

1014, 1117, 2976 FINLAND / NORWAY - Sami people

1014 Finland - A young Sami man

Posted on 25.02.2014, 26.06.2014, 09.03.2017
The Sami people are the indigenous Finno-Ugric people inhabiting the Sápmi, the cultural region which today encompasses parts of far northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. Known also as Lapps, an exonym considered by them as pejorative, the Sami have pursued a variety of livelihoods (including coastal fishing, fur trapping, and sheep herding), but the most representative is the semi-nomadic reindeer herding. Their traditional languages are the Sami languages (Sàmigiella) and are classified as a branch of the Uralic language family.

1117 Finland - Sami people

Although they lived in Arctic Europe for at least 5,000 years, they have been for centuries the subject of discrimination and abuse by the dominant cultures, being recognized as an indigenous people only in the last part of the 20th century in Norway, Sweden and Finland, and in Russia not even today. In the late 20th century there were from 30,000 to 40,000 Sami in Norway and about 20,000 in Sweden, 6,000 in Finland, and 2,000 in Russia, but the sources are highly conflicting, indicating a total population from 80,000 to 160,000.

2976 Norway - Sami children and a baby in komse (cradleboard)

Called gákti or kolt, their traditional costume is worn both in ceremonial contexts and while working. Traditionally, it was made from reindeer leather and sinews, but nowadays it is more common to use wool, cotton, or silk. It differ from community to community, and the colours, patterns and the jewellery have deeper meaning. There are also different gákti for women and men (for men a shorter jacket-skirt, for women a long dress). Traditional gákti are most commonly in variations of red, blue, green, white, medium-brown tanned leather, or reindeer fur.

In winter, there is the addition of a reindeer fur coat and leggings, and sometimes a poncho (luhkka) and rope/lasso. The collar, sleeves and hem usually have appliqués in the form of geometric shapes. The gákti can be worn with a belt; these are sometimes band-woven belts, woven, or beaded. Leather belts can have scrimshawed antler buttons, silver concho-like buttons, tassles, or brass/copper details such as rings. Belts can also have beaded leather pouches, antler needle cases, accessories for a fire, copper rings, amulets, and often a carved and/or scrimshawed antler handled knife.

Some Eastern Sami also have a hooded jumper from reindeer skins with wool inside and above the knee boots. Often the Sami wear on the head the FourWinds hat (in Sami čiehgahpir). The basis is a simple blue cylinder, decorated with a red band with braid patterns, but the top is a large, four-cornered star, colored bright blue with parts bright red and yellow. The decoration in an actual Sami hat is, like the rest of the Sami costume, indicative of the person's place of origin or even his clan, much like the Scottish tartan. Women and girls may drape fringed scarves around their shoulders. They wear moccasins of reindeer skin with turned-up toes, fastened with ribbons.

The Sami drink coffee throughout the day, to help them stay warm and alert in their cold environment, so I think that the young man in the poscard 1014 took a break and drinks a coffee from a guksi (kuksa, in Finnish), a type of cup traditionally duodji crafted from carved birch burl. Duodji is a traditional handicraft, dating back to a time when the Sami were far more isolated from the outside world than they are today. The burl is contoured to a rough shape, carefully dried to prevent the wood from cracking, then formed in accordance with the local traditions. Originally it was widely used as a personal drinking cup; a well-made guksi would last a lifetime.

About the stamps
On the postcard 1014
The stamp is part of the series Garden Berries, designed by Heikki Sallinen after illustrations by Ossi Hiekkala, and issued on March 8, 2013:
• Blackberry
• Gooseberry
• Red Currant - It's on the postcard 1014

On the postcard 1117
The stamp belongs to a series of four dedicated to Sami culture, issued on January 23, 2012. The miniature sheet is shaped after the floor plan of the Sami Cultural Centre SAJOS opened in Inari in January 2012, and has been fully designed by Nordic efforts, being illustrated by Sámi artist Merja Aletta Ranttila, and produced by Markku Virtanen from Lapland. The self-adhesive stamp sheet’s pattern imitates leather, with a troll-drum being depicted in the middle of the stamp. The sheet’s motif illustrates three Sámi Goddesses. “Juksahkka protects hunters and guards boys throughout their lives. Sarahkka protects women and girls from the very beginning and regulates birth. Uksahkka is the Goddess of the home who protects houses and the nests of animals and birds,” Merja Aletta Ranttila says, describing her design. In addition to Goddesses and the troll-drum, the sheet depicts a witch, reindeer village, reindeer and lean-tos. The self-adhesive stamps are shaped like mountains. The Sámi Culture miniature sheet contains four first class stamps with an edition of 300,000 copies.

On the postcard 2976
The first stamp is part of a series of definitive stamps, about which I wrote here.

The last stamp is one of the two designed by Astrid Båhl and issued on February 6, 2017 to mark The 100th Anniversary of the First National Congress - Tråante, Trondheim.

Sami people - Wikipedia
Sami people - by mislav popovic
Sami people - Encyclopaedia Britannica

Sender 1014: Elina Huuskola (direct swap)
Sent from Kuopio (Northern Savonia / Finlanda), on 04.02.2014
Photo: Johan Antti Syväjärvi
Sender 1117: Helena Kähkönen (direct swap)
Sent from Ylivieska (Northern Ostrobothnia / Finlanda), on 10.04.2014
Photo: Kalevi Asplund
Sender 2976: Tone Nor (direct swap)
Sent from Langevåg (Møre og Romsdal / Norway), on 28.02.2017
Photo: H. A. Amundsen