Today the 6 February is the is Sámi National Day.1993 was the first year it was officially celebrated and it happened in Jokkmokk.
In the Jokkmokk municipality along the E45 (my grandfather had stories from his childhood working in the forrest with his father hiding from sight watching the nazis build the motorway) is the village of Kåbdalis, which means troll-drum in the Sámi language, I spent a lot of time as a child in Kåbdalis.
When crossing over my aunt and uncle’s yard was a small house where a wise troll-man lived. He was known to take away ailments and do magic. His name was Axel, whenever I ran past his yard I hoped on being too fast not be caught in a spell. Though I knew he was well liked and respected.
My grandparents owned a motel, my grandfather built all the beds, played the accordion with his band and my grandmother cooked. The motel was called ’Trolltrumman’. I loved being there, they put a little footstool by the pinball machine and I was allowed to play as much as I liked. All big parties where celebrated there. I ascend from a very celebratorious family, party people that just love to have fun.
Growing up i wasn’t allowed to learn the symbols used by the Sápmi and I weren’t to carry a knife even though my cousins who where much younger had their own knifes. I wasn’t a sámi and I was clumsy.
Whenever I walked a dog I pretended to command it in Sámi tongue, though I didn’t know a single word. My uncle (aunt’s husband) grew up in a small settlement ’Udtja Sameby’ (Udtja Sami village) which is now located in a military area and only the Sámi have access besides the military. So they have to call in every time they take a visitor to their village.
Cruising past the old forrest old planes and tanks with bullet holes are part of the scenery.
My uncle grew up in a real wooden ’Kåta’ with wooden benches around the fire which goes straight up to the sky. He lived in his village until he was 12 years old.
I didn't understand as a child that he probably didn’t have the greatest time in school. No one was allowed to speak their native tongue.
In the 1930’ies Sámi people where exhibited at Skansen (Stockholm) defined in a racist context as exotic beings of a lower intelligence.
I can go further with the horrendous damage done to the Sámi people through the years. To be honest, I was wondering when BLM happened when the treatment of our indigenous people would come up to the surface?
Back to my perception as a child not knowing this I just wanted to be part of the Sami culture, speak the langue, know the shamanic ceremonies.
Hence made up ceremonies and own symbols came to mean a great deal for me.
All cultures and beliefs are of great interest to me. I usually say ’I believe in it all’ because who am I to say whose belief are truer than another. But I trust my gut more than anything, ’cause the eyes I see with are critical as hell.
I wish to introduce the troll doll.
It is made from reindeer horn and riveted silver. My uncle collected the horns in the forrest where his and the village reindeer roams.
Working this material smells like burnt nails or hair, it’s dusty and goes down the lungs even with a mask on.
Grained reindeer horn is known as an aphrodisiac. I have never used it for that purpose myself.
Shake the bones and tail of the troll doll and make a wish.
This vintage baby blouse I bought in Devon when I was 7 months pregnant and the tattered lace collar ( gifted from my favourite English family, the Steers) holds the troll-doll made with reindeer horn and silver. I have once wished for a baby.
I wish to celebrate today as a very special day to own our history of #sweden and to celebrate the magic to further our understanding of each other.