Hunters in Transition

An Outline of Early Sámi History


Hunters in Transition provides a new outline of the early history of the Sámi, the indigenous population of northernmost Europe. Discussing crucial issues such as the formation of Sámi ethnicity, interaction with chieftain and state societies, and the transition from hunting to reindeer herding, the book departs from the common trope whereby native encounters with other cultures, state societies, and “modernity”, are depicted mainly in negative terms. Far from always victimizing “the other”, the interaction with outside societies played a crucial role in generating and maintaining a number of features considered integral to Sámi culture. At the same time the authors also emphasize internal processes and dynamics and show how these have greatly contributed to the diverse historical trajectories with which this book is concerned.

Listed by Choice magazine as one of the Outstanding Academic Titles of 2014

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Lars Ivar Hansen, Dr. Philos. (1991) is Professor of Medieval and Early Modern History at the Department of History and Religious Studies, University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway. He has published monographs and many articles on economic and social history, including inter-ethnic relations in northern Fennoscandia.
Bjørnar Olsen is Professor of Archaeology at the Department of Archaeology and Social Anthropology, University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway. He has written a number of papers and books on northern prehistory and history, material culture, and archaeological theory.
Acknowledgements ... vii
List of Figures ... ix

1 Introduction ... 1
2 Changing Views on the Origins of the Sami ... 9
3 Economic Specialization and Ethnic Consolidation: Northern
Hunting Societies in the Iron Age and Early Middle Ages ... 39
4 Colonization, Contacts and Change, 1200–1550 ... 141
5 State Integration and Sami Rights ca. 1550–1750 ... 229
6 Missionaries and Shamans: Sami Religion and the Campaign Against it ... 313

Epilogue ... 351

Chronology ... 355
Table of Relations ... 357
Bibliography ... 361

General Index ... 383
Index of Personal Names ... 395
Index of Place Names ... 398
All interested in northern and Sámi prehistory and history, and anyone concerned with indigenous history and religion, ethnic interaction, and the transition from hunting to pastoralism.
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