MN Reads: "From Lapland to Sápmi" by Barbara Sjoholm
Roughly four centuries of history are covered in Barbara Sjoholm's new book From Lapland to Sápmi: Collecting and Returning Sámi Craft and Culture. The book details the culture of the Sami people of the northern reaches of the Nordic countries, as well as the subsequent interest from the rest of Europe.
"There's a strong aesthetic in Sámi culture," says Sjoholm. "They lived in a very harsh environment, so they didn't have a lot of objects." The few items that they had (sleds, clothing, drums, etc.) were often ornately decorated. The Sámi way of life, as well as these decorative objects, became an area of interest for collectors and missionaries. The history that follows is a dark one, but in recent years there have been efforts toward reappropriation.
From Lapland to Sápmi can be found at most booksellers. "You can also get it at independent bookstores, which I'd recommend," says Sjoholm. Additionally, Sjoholm will be visiting the Northland on September 28th. She'll be speaking and sharing a slideshow focused on Sámi handicrafts at the library on the campus of the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Minnesota Reads is produced at The North 103.3 with funding provided in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.