|Marriage patterns among Sami nomads and Swedish settlers under the impact of the colonization process in 19th century northern Sweden.|
|The predominant inhabitants in the northern Sweden were until the beginning of 18th century the Sami people, indigenous and often nomadic reindeer breeders. As the colonization process of the northern part of the country progressed it led to increasing contacts between Sami people and Swedes. In the southern part of Sápmi the situation was somewhat different from the northernmost part. The area was not as inaccessible as the northern part and had therefore a larger amount of Swedish inhabitants which led to more frequent contacts between nomads and Swedes. The colonization process led to confrontation, and not least competition, between Sami and settlers about vast land areas that traditionally belonged to Sami, who used it for reindeer herding, fishing and hunting. As these areas became attractive for arriving settlers, the access to land was often legally disputed between Sami and settlers. In the northern part of Sápmi, the mining industry along with generous tax privileges attracted newcomers from both Sweden and Finland. To some extent there were also Sami people who settled down, chiefly from the forest Sami group, but the majority of the settlers where newcomers. Knowing their marriage pattern helps illuminate what happens when people from different cultures meet; do the cultural and social grounds change? Do the Sami people adopt the newcomer’s cultural grounds or are they more inclined to follow their old traditions and marry within their own group? And further, do the marriage behaviour among Sami people change if/when they settle down? The main purpose of this paper is thus to see whether the confrontation between the two groups affected the way people chose to make decisions of decisive importance. In this paper represented by the way people chose to marry.
The colonization process that occurred in Sweden’s northernmost counties during the years 1750-1900 has been widely investigated and written about. To what extent the inhabitants, the Sami, were influenced both culturally and demographically is on the contrary scarcely investigated. This paper consequently explores the marriage pattern during the transition where the Sami people went from majority to marginalised people in the area.