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400 Year Jokkmokk Jubilee Market 2005


 400 Års  Jokkmokks Jubileum Marknad 2005

This is the month of February and as in every year since 2005, I am reminded in of a wonderful adventure. In 2005 my husband and I had an invitation from a dear friend of my husband’s to attend the 400 Year Jokkmokk Jubilee Market. For me this was of particular importance because I knew that this market was given by Sweden’s indigenous people the Sami. As a woman with Native American heritage, I knew of these people and had always found them fascinating. Never in a million years had I ever thought that I would actually meet them and learn first hand about their culture.

The Sami live in what is known as Sapmi which is the range in which these people live. Sapmi includes, Norway, Sweden, Finland and even Russia.  They have lived in the northern most areas of Sweden for 7,00 years.  Today the numbers have risen and the population of Sapmi   is around 40,000. The language of the Sami people is divided into two, the North and the South language. The Sami have historically lived by hunting and fishing. The reindeer is the focal point of Sami culture. They have lived, until recently as a nomadic people following their reindeer far up into the northern mountains. They found this to be of great advantage to their much prized reindeer; the pastures in the mountain tops were rich and the brisk winds that blow there blow away all insects and mosquitos.

Progress and changing times has caught up with the Sami as with every other indigenous people around the world. Most Sami live in towns and villages today and are no longer the nomads of the past. The men now take care of the reindeer . The reindeer round ups are now done in a very modern way with the use of snow mobiles and sometimes with the use of helicopters. The run of the reindeer has always been an issue here in Sweden as have the Sami themselves. Up to the 50’s the Sami were treated as all indigenous people and pushed to the fringes of societies and made to conform with the “Swedish” way of life. For instance, the children of Sami families were not allowed in normal Swedish schools with normal Swedish children. There were special schools for them to attend and in those schools, they were forbidden to speak their own language. It must have been horrific for these families and children. During this time, everything possible was done to erase the Sami culture. Sound familiar? This seems to happen around the world to all indigenous people. Thank fully this has changed  with the times with the Sami fight for equality. In 1971 the government passed the Reindeer Husbandry Act allowing the Sami to be able to pass over private and government land to move their reindeer. The Sami , even today are not allowed to own land. This Act of 1971 has been a bone of contention with the Swedish farmers and people in general. Even though the  forests and pastures are shrinking due to mining, deforestation and the construction of hydroelectric power plants, leaving very little land for the Sami to move their reindeer, Swedish people are still not comfortable with the Sami’s movements. The issues are with the Sami reindeer movements through farm land and leaving damage. This would not have been an issue if the Sami had the lands they used to use, but they do not.

The Jokkmokk Market has been a historic event and has been in the same location since the 1600’s. During the early years, the market was a place for trading, exchanging of much needed goods for the, nomadic people. There was hand ground corn meal, handmade ointments, wool, cloth and very important, shoes. In today’s markets, Sami have on display and for sale all the same items that were once traded, long ago. Now these items are available to visitors from all over the world. Sami come from all 4 countries in Sampi to show and sell their handcrafts. They enjoy celebrating together and meeting Sami from other lands.  There were more than 80,000 visitors to the 400 year Market in 2005.

This was an experience of a life time for me. I will never, ever forget all the wonderful experiences and personal encounters I had at the Marknad.

Please allow me to share some of that experience with you:

This was the view as we made the long drive from Lidingö up to Jokkmokk

This was the view as we made the long drive up to Jokkmokk

We made it up to the polar circle

We made it up to the polar circle

Here we are at the Polar Circle. Notice the lights on the vehicle, they are needed in bad snow storms in the north  especially

Here we are at the Polar Circle. Notice the lights on the top of the vehicle, they are needed in bad snow storms in the north especially

this is where you can go in and actually stand on the Polar Circle line

This is where you can go in and actually stand on the Polar Circle line

Upon arrival to our lodging, there was a lovely mid day meal set up for us

Upon arrival to our lodging, there was a lovely mid day meal set up for us

A nice plate of cheese, salami and reindeer

A nice plate of cheese, salami and reindeer meat

Cheese and dried reindeer meat

Cheese and dried reindeer meat

My husband's friend who invited us

Our friend who invited us

More yummies

More delicious food

Wow look at this snow sign!

Wow look at this snow sign!

Our first day at the Market

Our first day at the Market

Reindeer meat for sale

Reindeer meat for sale

Beautiful hand made Sami capes

Beautiful hand-made Sami capes

Throughout the Marknad, we saw several dogs that caught my eye :

A cute Finnish Spitz

A cute Finnish Spitz

Looks like an Irish Wolfhound, nor sure though

Looks like an Irish Wolfhound, nor sure though

A curly perm to die for!

A curly perm to die for!

This fellow had the right idea, it was cold so the sweater was a good idea!

Matching sweaters were a lovely idea!

Now this is the kind of dog you expect to see in the cold north

Now this is the kind of dog you expect to see in the cold north

A Sami man selling handcrafted knives. The handles are made from reindeer antlers

A Sami man selling handcrafted knives. The handles are made from reindeer antlers

Look familiar? Yes the Sami have traditional tee pees just like the Native Americans

Look familiar? Yes the Sami have traditional tee pees just like the Native Americans

Furs may be politically incorrect in some places , but here in the north of Sweden, they are needed for warmth against the frigid temperatures

Furs may be politically incorrect in some places , but here in the north of Sweden, they are needed for warmth against the frigid temperatures

A vendor speaks on the dangers of when bull moose meets vehicle

A vendor speaks on the dangers of when bull moose meets vehicle

The Sami use beautifully woven laces to rap around their boot. This Sami woman made a pair for me.

The Sami use beautifully woven laces to wrap around their boot. This Sami woman made a pair for me.

These are my winter boots that I have had for over 30 years. They have been dressed up with traditional laces that were made for me. I just love them!

These are my winter boots that I have had for over 30 years. They have been dressed up with traditional laces that were made for me. I just love them!

Two Sami ladies in beautiful reindeer dresses

Two Sami ladies in beautiful reindeer dresses

Just one of the many handsome, proud Sami men

Just one of the many handsome, proud Sami men

Sorry for the blurry photo, batteries were going low. Sami children in traditional clothing

Sorry for the blurry photo, batteries were going low. Sami children in traditional clothing

Beautiful reindeers were seen everywhere

Beautiful reindeer were seen everywhere

This one has a soft looking white head

This one has a soft looking white head

Reindeer feet or hooves

Reindeer feet or hooves are specially adapted to be able to walk on snow

Preparing for a reindeer driven sleigh ride

Preparing for a reindeer driven sleigh ride

A sleigh ride

A sleigh ride

Special sleigh for little ones

A special sleigh for little ones

We were invited to a beautiful formal dinner during the Marknad week:

The Sami flag

The Sami flag

This was one of many courses served. It is bear neat. The Sami believe that if you eat the meat through the ring as the one provided, you will gain the bear's strength. I ate mine through the ring. Some in attendance thought it was foolish. They just did not believe.

This was one of many courses served. It is bear meat. The Sami believe that if you eat the meat through the ring as the one provided, you will gain the bear's strength. I ate mine through the ring. Some in attendance thought it was foolish. They just did not believe.

While around the Marknad, we heard, through the grapevine that there was going to be a huge dance. We were given a special invitation. There were not many non-Sami invited. We were the only ones of our group that went. It was fabulous!  Wait till you see everyone decked out in their finest traditional Sami clothes:

People attending the dance

People attending the dance

People standing on the side of the dance floor

People standing on the side of the dance floor

Look at those beautiful patterns!

Look at those beautiful patterns!

What a beautiful couple

What a beautiful couple

A sight that can be found at all dances around the world. A guy and a girl meeting

A sight that can be found at all dances around the world. A guy and a girl meeting

Sami traditional dress

Sami traditional dress

Standing proud!

Standing proud!

What an attractive couple

What an attractive , well dressed couple

I couldn't resist, I just had to photograph this man from another angle. I asked and they agreed.

I couldn't resist, I just had to photograph this man from another angle. I asked and they agreed.

See the beautiful boot laces! I have my own now!!

See the beautiful boot laces! I have my own now!!

Everyone really enjoyed the music from the live band

Everyone really enjoyed the music from the live band

I really enjoyed watching everyone having a great time

I really enjoyed watching everyone having a great time

What fantastic, beautiful  and colorful stitching on these traditional jackets

What fantastic, beautiful and colorful stitching on these traditional jackets

Both the ladies and the guys were wearing furs and skins

Both the ladies and the guys were wearing furs and skins

Here is the live Sami band playing Sami music at the dance

Here is the live Sami band playing Sami music at the dance

Time to say good bye to Jokkmokk

Time to say good-bye to Jokkmokk

A member of our group on our last day

A member of our group on our last day

Another member of our group

Another member of our group

Here we all are on our last day

Here we all are on our last day

There was much more to our trip, but I will save that for later. I hope you have enjoyed a peak at the world of the Sami and their 400 year Marknad.

(These photos were taken with a different camera and the photos become distorted when enlarged, so this is why the photos are smaller than usual)

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