THE SAMI Shamanists and Bear Worshippers Written by Liam McCulley & Jakob TrockJansen Humanities • 8G

Belief Systems


There are many different gods for the Sami, each representing something vital to the Sami's daily life and tradition. Underneath is the list of the Sami's most important gods and spirits split into 5 main groups:

Day &Night:
  • Aske or Manna - The god of the Moon.
  • Beaivi or Biejje - The great Goddess of the Sun, mother of human kind.
  • Biejjenniejte - Goddess of healing and medicine; her name means "Daughter of the Sun" or "Maiden of the Sun", and she was especially helpful against sicknesses caused by her mother, the sun.
  • Jabbmeaaakka - Goddess of death and queen of the underworld and the kingdom of death.
  • Juoksahkka - The protecter and guardian of children; "The woman with an arrow".
  • Oksaahka - The former of the fetus; she shaped the fietus in the mother's womb and gave humans their gender. She was the sister of Juoksahka.
  • Maadteraahka - Mother of the tribe, Goddess of women and children, she who gives humans their body; women belonged to her, and boys belonged to her until they were declared men. Maadteraahka is popular among modern sami feminists.
  • Maadteraajja - The father of the tribe, husband of Maadteraahka; while his wife gives humans their body, he gives them their soul; and thus, they are born.
  • Ruohtta - The god of sicknesses and therefore also a death-god. He was depicted riding on a horse.
  • Atja - The god of thunder, also called Bajanolmmai, Dierpmis or Hovrengalles, which means "Thor- man".
  • Bieggagallis - The god of the storms, father of human kind, consort of Beaivi.
  • Bieggolman - God of the summer winds.
  • Biegkegaellies - God of the winter winds.
  • Jipmel - "God"; possibly this was a late lative name of the Christian god, but it could also have been a name to include all good deities
  • Mubpienålmaj - "The evil one"; possibly the Christian god of evil, but also a name that included all the evil deities.
  • Raedie or Väraldarade - The main god, the great creator ot the world; he was, however, passive, some say even sleeping, and not very included in active religion.
Daily Life:
  • Lieaibolmmai - God of the hunt, the god of adult men.
  • Saaraahka - The Goddess of fertility. Saaraahka was the most important female god.
The sami people worshipped mostly nature-related or animal gods as they felt a strong connection to nature, and example of this is their Bear Cult. The Bear cult is a cult followed by many civilizations, including the Sami, in which bears are worshipped as gods and totems are made for the worship of bears. Sami They relied on their gods for things like luck in hunting, harvest, or other factors that were not decided by themselves.

One of the customs passed down through generations of the Sami tribe is reindeer herding, which the Sami still practice. The Sami live on a strict diet of what nature provides, though this is not still practiced by all Sami today, most Sami live on a diet of fish, berries, hares and reindeer meat. Though the Sami have for years held out on Christian influences to baptise their young, the Sami do now perform their own baptisms where they make the baptised stronger so they can go out into the world. Like many indigenous tribes, the Sami pass down cultural history throughout generations through storytelling and music which they engage in. Especially yoiks, which are passed through generations of a family (generally kept within the family as most families have their own private Yoiks) and are said to be the oldest European music forms.
Government The Sami people are represented by the Sami council which was apointed as a non-government organization of volunteers by the Norwegian government in 1956. The Sami council represents the rights and requests of the Sami people in all of the four countries around the world in which they live. Fighting for their recognition as Sami. This is partially because surrounding governments had wanted to label the Sami as only those who still practice their tradition of rendeer herding.
The Sami are a society of Hunter/herders. They Focus much on their reindeer herding but also hunt for food. Many Sami people have abandoned their culture of reindeer herding and have modernized their lives, however, many children and adults have no condemned their former modern lives to revert to their more traditional Sami lives. Thus they take up employment in reindeer herding and the Sami economy has improved as more workers in their societies (all around the world).

Society Despite the Sami's constant fight for their independance and their seperate religion with their own seperate gods, the Sami celebrate all of the holidays celebrated in Christian culture, e.g. Easter, Christmas etc. They also perform the festivals for these holidays on roughly the same date as those who practice christianity. The society of the Sami people is a generally accepting one. They do not shun those who are not full-blooded Sami as outsiders, but instead accept all those who carry a good attitude towards the Sami tranditions, religion, and culture. They also accept those who can fluently speak their language as their own. As for the Sami living conditions, despite their nomadic reindeer herding, they also held some permanent homes. The permanent homes consisted of huts made of sod, small, wood framed buldings, or sami tents called lavvo in their native tongue.
The Sami people have inhabited the northern regions of Fenno Scandinavia and Russia for at least 2500 years. Since the Sami are the earliest of the contemporary ethnic groups represented in the area, they are considered an indigenous population of the area.
The fishing along the north Norwegian coast, especially in the Lofoten and Vesterålen islands, is quite productive with a variety of fish, and during medieval times it was a major source of income for both the fisherman and the Norwegian Monarchy. Because of massive population drops caused by the Black Death, the tax revenues from this industry greatly diminished. Because of the huge economic profits that could be had from these fisheries, the local authorities offered replacements to the Sami to settle on the newly vacant farms. This started the economic division between the ‘Sea Sami’ (sjøsamene) who fished extensively off the coast, and the ‘Mountain Sami’ (fjellsamene, innlandssamene) who continued to hunt (among other, small-game animals), and later herd, reindeer. Even as late as the early 1700s, there were many Sami who were still settling on these farms left abandoned from the 1350s. After many years of continuous migration, these 'Sea Sami' became far more numerous than the reindeer mountain Sami, who today only make up 10% of all Sami.
As the Sea Sami settled along Norway's Fjords and inland waterways pursuing a combination of farming, cattle raising, trapping and fishing, the smaller minority of the Mountain Sami continued to hunt wild reindeer. Around 1500, they started to tame these animals into herding groups, becoming the well-known reindeer nomads, often portrayed by outsiders as following the archetypal Sami lifestyle. However the Mountain Sami faced the fact that they had to pay taxes to three nation states: Norway, Sweden and Russia as they crossed the borders of each of the respective countries following the annual reindeer migrations, which caused much resentment over the years.

Language Sami or Saami is a general name for a group of Uralic Languages spoken by the Sami people in parts of northern Finland, Norway, Sweden and extreme northwestern Russia, in Northern Europe. Sami is frequently believed to be a single language. Several names are used for the Sami languages: Saami, Sámi, Samic, Saamic, as well as the "nicknames" Lappish and Lappic. The last two are, along with the term Lapp, considered derogatory by many.
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Catch-22 and the End for a Native People. Web.

The Sámi People. Web.

Sami People. Web.

//Sami Art.// Web. <>.

//Sami//. Web. <>.