Indigenous people want Denmark to return a sacred drum from a 17th century witch trial

Originally published at: Indigenous people want Denmark to return a sacred drum from a 17th century witch trial | Boing Boing


Curious about the use of indigenous among Europeans in Europe. The Scandinavians didn’t arrive after the Sami. Correct?


As I understand it, the Sámi are considered indigenous peoples just like any other group. But I know there are other things that set them apart from indigenous people of the Americas or Australia / Polynesia … so I’m open to being corrected on that!


The Sami of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and northwestern Russia are recognized by the UN as indigenous people.

But the term indigenous sometimes is applied strangely in Europe, other places too.
The term doesn’t always relate to the earliest known inhabitants of a place that was colonized. Sometimes it relates to colonizers.
How are Basques or Saxons not indigenous but Sorbs are?
There seem to be spongy cut-off points in history and for the amount of remaining cultural antiquity and uniqueness of an areas people.
Indigenous is not well defined.

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I was thinking about this in another thread, where someone was talking about appropriation and Modern Paganism. It wouldn’t really be accurate to refer to the Ancient Celts as the “indigenous peoples,” as they likely emigrated to Ireland and the British Isles from the Mediterranean and/or Anatolia. Unless “indigenous” is a term that only exists in binary opposition to settlers, which is … not great either.

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To be honest, indigenous is a politically correct synonym for primitive. If an indigenous population starts participating in the economy in any scope larger than tourism, the word indigenous stops being used. Indigenous assembly line makes no sense.

That’s why Basques and Saxons feel right as non-indigenous people. I’m not familiar with the Sorbs. Also, under this interpretation of indigenous, the Amish qualify, which shows it’s limitations.

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Drums remain highly significant ceremonial symbols for circumpolar peoples and should recognized


The basis for labelling the Sami as indigenous is that they were settled before the country of Norway was founded. One could argue that by the same logic Norwegians could be considered indigenous too, as they also lived in the area before the country’s official existence, but it has been decided that the term only applies to the minority group.

Besides Norwegians and Sami, there are the national minorites of Kven, Jews and Roma. My understanding is that the Kven are debating amongst themselves whether they would like to campaign for recognition as indigenous.

Sorbs aren’t indigenous people. They are a non-Germanic ethnic minority in Germany, who’ve been living here – in about the same way are we ethnic Germans – have. Same way there were/are German minorities East and West what is now Germany. Apart from them, there are also the Germanic minorities of Danes (that part of what is now Germany went back and borth between Germany and Denmark a lot) and of course the Frisians, which are of course very close to both Dutch and Germans.

Doesn’t Onebox properly, but the webpage works:

I’ve been there (Karasjok and Porsanger) in ohdearwasitreallythatlongago and it’s well worth a visit, or several.

Sámi people came from around Volga where as Scandinavians came from western Europe. I do think that Sámi lived in Lapland before Scandinavians.

30 years ago Finns viewed Sámi as rich, drunk, crooked people.

Be happy you don’t know Finnish.

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