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Published: 2021-02-04

Health research and Sami Anthology at Jokkmokk's Winter Market

NEWS Three researchers from Umeå University, all connected to Arcum, have recently been seen in the virtual winter market from Jokkmokk. The ancient winter market, with a more than 400 years of history, is held digitally due to the pandemic. A start-up research project on health in Sápmi, and a newly published research anthology, is Umeå University's contribution to this year's market.

Text: Anngelica Kristoferqvist

Jokkmokk's winter market is held around the first weekend in February every year, and can be described as an Arctic folk festival where trade, culture, and conventions make Jokkmokk's streets and squares sparkle with energy for a few days. Due to the pandemic, this year Jokkmokk's winter market, the 416th in a row, is being held online.

It has happened in the history of the winter market that researchers find their way to the lectures offered. This year, three affiliated researchers from the Arctic Research Center at Umeå University (Arcum) are included in the program.

Tomorrow, Friday February 5, Arcum-affiliated Per Axelsson, associate professor and vice dean at the Faculty of of Arts and Humanities, and Christina Storm Mienna, associate professor in odontology, will together with their colleagues give a presentation about the research project Haldi for the market’s visitors. The researchers want to map health and living conditions among people who live in Sweden’s Sápmi, i.e. the Sami traditional lands in northernmost part of Sweden.

it feels great to finally get started

First up is Jokkmokk adult residents who will receive a survey from the Haldi project very soon and also be invited to a health examination. The participants will be given the opportunity to state ethnicity, and through this the health of different ethnic groups can be compared.

- Due to the pandemic, we had to postpone the clinical health examination, originally intended to be carried out at the same time as the survey. But it feels great to finally get started and distribute the survay.

- We have been preparing this study for several years, including using focus groups to design a suitable questionnaire, Christina and Per says.

The Haldi study collaborates with a corresponding study in Norway, the Saminor study. The survey in Jokkmokk is a pilot study for the whole project. If it turns out well, more municipalities with a Sami population will be included in future surveys.

Anthology about a Forest Sami pioneer

Arcum-affiliated Åsa Össbo, researcher at Várdduo - Center for Sami Research, presents the new anthology "Forest Sami’s will" to market visitors. The anthology includes a reprint of the Forest Sami political pioneer Karin Stenberg's 100-year-old polemic script “Dat läh mijen situd” (It is our will: an appeal to the Swedish nation from the Sami people).

Åsa Össbo offers an in-depth perspective on the anthology, and on Karin Stenberg - based on her role as one of four editors of the anthology. She shows for example how important it was for Karin to have support of the local Forest Sami society before printing.

- I think this shows a contemporary way of relating to indigenous issues, says Åsa Össbo.

The moderator and organizer Johanna Nilsson, Society for Nature Conservation in Norrbotten, highlights, in the discussion that follows, Karin Stenberg and other Sami women's role as spokespersons for the Sami throughout history.

Åsa Össbo agrees to such pattern. According to her, Sami women have historically had a strong position in the Sami society.

The Jokkmokk Market

For more information

Per Axelsson
Research fellow, associate professor
Åsa Össbo
Research fellow
Christina Storm Mienna
Associate professor, senior consultant dentist, associate professor