Like Lars Levi himself, many Laestadians (former and current) have Sami roots, although we may not have grown up aware of them. Some of us may even have had forebears who denied "Lapp blood" despite the evidence. But that is a story for another time. What I want to talk about today is Siiddastallen!
Hosted by the Sami Siida of North America, Siiddastallen is a semi-regular gathering of Sami Americans. This year it is in Stacy, Minnesota from July 6-8. I am so eager to attend, not only to see friends and make new ones, and to learn more about my heritage, but to see my home state again.
Siiddastallen will include educational seminars (including one about Laestadius by his great-great-granddaughter), films, workshops, crafts (duodje), shared meals, and campfires. Ellen Marie Jensen will be there with her book "We Stopped Forgetting," about the Sami American experience (the book includes, I am tickled to report, a photo of my daughter carrying the Sami flag). There will be several lavvus onsite, courtesy of Northern Lavvu. No reindeer, however (the park has a no pets policy, in case you were thinking of bringing one!).
If you are interested in attending, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for an information packet.
The organizers have asked me to moderate a forum on spirituality, which is very intriguing. I look forward to hearing from other "Am-Sam's" about their practices and beliefs (or lack thereof), and expect to find a lot of diversity.
"Først folk, sia finna" (first people, then Saami), a North-Norwegian proverb