Surreptitious Sámi—Suppressive Swedes: Maintaining Sámi Identities through the Use of Religion and Stone Circles

Marte Spangen, Anna-Kaisa Salmi, Tiina Äikäs and David Loeffler

Abstract

Stone circles and various other features belonging to the different branches of the Sámi cultures in both northern Norway and Sweden have long since been known and discussed by scholars. That similar archaeological features are to be found in the county of Västernorrland, an area customarily considered to lie outside that which is traditionally associated with the Sámi in Sweden, is compelling and requires a reassessment of previous held notions concerning the historical record. It is here suggested that these features are relics of a vanished Sámi culture that once existed in this county. It is further suggested that the stone circles are the material remains of their religious practices that were performed in order to help maintain social solidarity in the face of both ideological and economic suppression by the Royal Kingdom and later by the nation-state.

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