THE REAL STORY
Who are the historical persons in KINGDOM OF THE SHAMAN? The list of names is here.
SJAMANENS RIKE/KINGDOM OF THE SHAMAN is inspired by reading the Norwegian professor Ørnulv Vorren's book "Sami, reindeers and gold in Alaska" (Davvi Girji, 1989). In addition to this interesting book, the sources are plenty: around 40 titles, in Norwegian and English, several visits to museums in Troms and Finnmark, Norway, my research-tour to Alaska and British Columbia and Yukon, Canada, during the summer of 2000, internet-searches, conversations and e-mail contacts for many years.
In 1892 the American government embarked on a major project to provide relief to the starving Eskimos of Alaska. Pastor Sheldon Jackson, the chief proponent of the project, was then the General Agent of Education in Alaska and had established a chain of mission stations and schools along the Alaskan coast.
Since the Russian reindeer herders across the Bering Strait had an abundance of food, Jackson thought it must be possible to teach the Eskimos to raise reindeer. Russians on the Chukchi peninsula were contacted and herds of reindeer were purchased and transferred from Siberia to the west coast of Alaska, with the help of Captain Michael Healy and his crew on the ship Bear. After two years the project stagnated because of bad relations between the Chukchis and the Eskimos (Inupiats).
After a suggestion was made to contact Norwegian "Laplanders", an advertisement was printed in Scandinavian language newspapers in the USA in December 1893, in which people with experience raising reindeer were sought.
The authorities received over 200 replies, among them one from a certain William Kjellman, originally from Talvik near Alta, Finnmark county, Norway. Sheldon Jackson decided on Kjellman, who traveled in February 1894 to Norway and Finnmark to convince Sami families to emigrate to Alaska on three-year contracts with salary and free room and board. In return they should teach the Inupiats reindeer herding from the ground up.
The first group of Sami at Teller Reindeer Station, 1894
Here you can find a map of the route of the first group of Sami who traveled from Kautokeino to Alaska in 1894
The second main group of over a hundred people arrived in 1898. Several of the Sami were later lured to Klondike and Nome in the Gold Rush.
KINGDOM OF THE SHAMAN is a free-standing dramatization based on historical facts from comprehensive source material. Places, historical happenings and some persons are authentic, but most of the action and dialogue is fictitious.
The novel series follows young Ande Ravna's life in the high country of northern Norway before he travels to the unknown land. He experiences strange dreams of ravens in which he sees into the future, something which frightens him. We also become acquainted with Ande's girlfriend, Marit Somby. In Alaska a raven-brother awaits Ande, the Inupiat Anguliik, who has also had strange dreams about a foreign country with strange customs.
The action takes place in Finnmark, Alaska and Canada in the 1890's.
SOME OF THE HISTORICAL PERSONS WHO APPEAR IN KINGDOM OF THE SHAMAN
Sheldon Jackson, Michael Healy, William Kjellmann, W. T. Lopp, Aslak and Beret Somby, Fredrik Larsen, Per Aslaksen Rist, Johan Speinsen Tornensis, Mikkel Josefsen Näkkälä, Samuel Johnsen Kemi, Mathis Aslaksen Eira, Wyatt Earp, Jefferson Smith (Soapy Smith), Anders Aslaksen Bær, Captain Arthur Huntly (of the James Allen), Axsegroak, Ookwoodlet, Antisarlook and Kummuk (Inupiat apprentices), Carl Suhr, A. Paulsen, Hedley Redmyer, Regnor Dahl.
A complete list of the names is here.
THE RISE OF ETHNIC CLEANSING
It must be stressed that at this time there was a very negative perception of the Sami people in the Nordic countries. Government studies of ethnic cleansing were already in progress. People traveled around in the Sami area and measured skull and body sizes. All of these exhaustive studies led towards that which later became the race laws of Nazi ideology, in which Lapps, Gypsies, Jews and Slavic peoples were considered to be inferior and should therefore be eliminated from the face of the earth -- the unwanted individuals. In Sweden the sterilization law was passed by the parliament in 1934. The Norwegian parliament passed a similar law the same year. The only party which voted against the law was the Social Party, founded by Bertram D. Brochmann. You can read more about this in the author's dissertation in Haugesund in the summer of 1998: "In the Footsteps of the Skull Measurers".
The Sami who worked at the reindeer stations were considered by the American authorities to be intelligent, eager to learn, and very well suited to teach the Inupiats. This is in stark contrast to the Norwegian authorities' opinion of the Sami population in Finnmark at the same time.
It is important to note that in 1924 the school director for Finnmark, Brygfjeld, considered the Sami people so degenerate that it was not worth teaching them.
In the 1950's and 1960's the Norwegian authorities considered the local population of northern Norway to be so unpatriotic that they encouraged people from the Østland area to move north, for instance to Pasvik, to create a population base that could be depended on. The ideology behind this was that both the Sami and Finnish immigrants were in dangerously close contact with their Russian neighbors and others, which could prove a risk to national security for the Norwegian nation.
There are still many negative attitudes toward the Sami and their culture among the population of Finnmark. A colleague and author who lived in Hammerfest for a year described it best as a hate towards the Sami people.
200 - 300 years' oppression of the Sami has left its mark on the people, even today. The strongest voices calling for the dissolution of the Sameting (Sami government) are from the FRP (Progress Party), among others.
DISCUSSIONS ON THE SAMI CULTURE
A parliamentary representative from the FRP proposed in a parliamentary debate that the Sami cannot be considered an original people and that the Sami government must be disbanded. His proposal referred to the controversial "researcher" Karsten Adriansen from Båtsfjord.
Adriansen's book, "Are the Sami Finnmark's Original Inhabitants?" was published last year by an independent publishing house. Adriansen presents himself as an archaeologist, but is actually an 82 year old former fishery manager from Båtsfjord with an interest in archaeology and history. After his retirement he took a major in archaeology at Tromsø University. His book builds on the manuscript he sent to the University of Trondheim as a doctoral thesis. There it was rejected because it didn't measure up scientifically. According to NRK Finnmark (8/28/2002) Bjørnar Olsen, professor of archaeology at Tromsø University, described the book as follows: "When one does research there are certain minimum requirements of theory, methodology and accuracy. And last but not least, there is the requirement to verify one's sources. Adriansen does not fulfill any of these points. As a scientific work his book has no value."
Teacher and author Svein Lund writes the following about this book:
Now of course it is not so easy for us amateurs to evaluate all the scientific and unscientific methods in archaeology. But most people with the slightest knowledge of Finnmark should be able to judge the objectivity of a few chosen quotations from the book:
'Lapps or "Sea Finns" or "Hut Finns" are an ethnically composite group which today designates itself "Sea Sami". Their everyday language is Norwegian. Among these a large-scale program of education in "Nor-Sami" is going on among all age groups in order to achieve recognition as Sami. This re-training occurs under public management and using public funds.' (page 113) To reject the "Sea Sami" as Sami is a central question in Adriansen's arguments. What is incredible is that in a historical dissertation he does not ask what the everyday language of the "Sea Finns" was just two or three generations ago.
'Altered place names from Norwegian to Sami appear in the published telephone books, and here are a bunch of those. Tana has become Deatnu. Kåfjord has become Gaivuotna, Kautokeino has become Gouvdageaidnu. Magerøya has become Mahkaravju. This trend portends that it is just a matter of time before all the Norwegian place names are changed to Sami on all the new maps of Finnmark.' (page 117) For an archaeologist it should be reasonable to go a bit further back in time and ask when and how the forms "Kautokeino" and "Tana" originated. But in Adriansen's representation the period of "Norwegianization" is entirely passed over.
More about Lund's criticism of Adriansen's book can be found at:
The origin of the Norwegian names in Finnmark is Sami. A good example of this is the convolution of the Sami "Jiebmaluokta" (Sami for Seal Bay) which has become "Hjemmeluft" (a meaningless word). Old maps of Finnmark show that the names of rivers, mountains, lakes, etc. were Sami and were later "Norwegianized" into words that mean anything or nothing.
It is important to underline that Adriansen's magnum opus was rejected because of its lack of integrity in regard to sources and proof.
The latest move by Adriansen was an article in Altaposten in which he rejected the idea that any Norwegianization of the Sami has occurred. Thus he demonstrates the real agenda behind his book about the Sami in the North. It is very easy to refute his assertions about the absence of Norwegianization by referring to historical proofs and facts which are found in serious research literature here in Norway.
FRP stands out as the most agressive force against Sami language and culture. In the beginning of September 2003 Siv Jensen was visiting in Porsanger and said the following, in her well-known style:
"Sami people must learn Norwegian, and not Sami, in school, so that they can get ahead in the world."
If one analyzes this famous quotation further, she must be saying that mastering the Sami language is of less worth because one does not get ahead in the world with it.
This presumably sounds good to those in Finnmark and elsewhere who, in their disregard for history, wish to perpetuate the shameful process of Norwegianization of the Sami which has gone on for generations.
FRP, the only party in parliament which actively works against Sami language and culture, has once again dragged the Sami in the dirt.
Dag O. Johansen, Fauske