The origins of our tents… and why it matters

Our second day in Sweden took us deep into the heart of the Swedish and Sami people. The Sami people are indigenous to the whole of Lapland which incorporates parts of Norway, Finland, Russia and of course Northern Sweden. The Sami people lived off the land, hunting, fishing and trading and their main commodity was reindeer. In fact, it is still the case that only Sami people are allowed to keep reindeer and their many traditions associated with their culture continue even into modern times.

The Samis were nomadic until the 16th Century when the King of Sweden enforced laws that meant they had to attend Christian churches and take part in market sales in order to pass him taxes. At that time Sami people would still spend most of the time in the mountains and forests, travelling with the herds, but would additionally have small lodge dwellings nearer towns like Jokkmokk and Arvidsjaur, where we were fortunate enough to see some of the original settlements and visit the folk museum too.

One particular Sami lady told us stories about her family – even in 2019 she goes with her family for a month in the summer time with her tents to ‘cut the calves’. This is basically how the Samis mark the calves to show their ownership and there are many different patterns that are cut into the animals’ ears to do this.

The Sami people have a deep respect for their animals; when they are used for meat, no part of the reindeer is wasted and the skins are used too within the tents for warmth and cosiness.

Like many indigenous people, the Samis were subject to prejudice and many hid their origins in the last century from their school friends and colleagues, but in recent years, and with the help of companies like Tentipi, they are now respected and celebrated in Sweden and across the whole of Scandinavia.

We met lovely Filippa, a young woman who was immensely proud of her heritage, and the passion she feels for her origins was infectious. She sang to us a traditional Sami ‘Joik’ which was similar to the chanting of the Native American Indians, in that it is an expression of feeling and emotion and is made of sounds rather then lyrics. If you click here you can listen to the almost haunting Joik she sang. Her song she said was singing the mountain – not TO the mountain or about it but singing the mountain. See what you think…

So why is this relevant to you? Well people matter, and the Tentipi ethos of friendship, family, tradition and respect all fit together with the Elite Tents culture. So if you hire our authentic nordic tipis then you too will be part of that family and get the care that a family gives.

Elite Tents with Tentipi

Photo credit www.oeventura.de @felixgroteloh

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