Research project What happened when the interior parts of northern Sweden were colonized and the Sami population changed from being a sole majority to a marginalized minority? How did different causes of death affect the populations? Why was infant and childhood mortality much higher among the indigenous groups? What demographic differences can be found within the complex Sami population?
We know that the sami has improved their health status very much during the last two hundred years. We also know that any differences to the majority population no longer exist. But we do not know the mechanisms behind this progress. That, is the main challenge for the project. The approach is most relevant in an international, indigenous perspective. Since ethnic groups with distinct cultural differences came to live in the same area, Sweden has a unique possibility to explore these factors in the demographic analysis. They shared the same geographical position and climate, but had different lifestyles. Their conceptions of disease and death differed, one of the groups was nomadic the others settled, their food cultures where different, as was their needs for household composition. The Swedish settlers had increased contacts with the medical system and medical knowledge, while Sami continued to rely on traditional knowledge and healing. This project is a collaboration between CeSam and Centre for Populations Studies (CPS) and is funded by the Swedish council for Working life and Social Research (FAS) and the Swedish Research Councils support for Strong Research Environments.