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6 Missionaries and Shamans: Sámi Religion and the Campaign Against it

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Chapter Summary

This chapter first presents some main features of the missionary efforts towards the Sámi from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century. It then analyzes the written sources and the surviving material culture to give an overview of some basic features of pre-Christian Sámi religion and cosmology. Already from the end of the High Middle Ages, the population in the boundary zones of the Sámi settlement area had been exposed to Christian influence and missionary campaigns. The chapter looks closer at two types of ceremonies that enabled the Sámi to take part in different religious and cultural spheres as well as cross the border between religions. The first concerns the naming and baptism of newborn infants. The strategy of double naming, which put the Sámi in a position to act in both cultural spheres, is of course not well represented in the historical records.

Keywords: cultural spheres; double naming; Middle Ages; missionary campaigns; pre-Christian Sámi religion



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