C1 The Lofoten Fisheries. C2 Samis as Boat Builders. C3 Shipping goods

C1. The Lofoten Fisheries
C2. Samis as Boat Builders
C3. Shipping goods

The Lofoten Fisheries

The Lofoten Fisheries

The fisheries at Lofoten have lasted for at least a thousand years. We do not know the exact time for Sami entrance in the commercial fisheries; they may have participated from the early beginning. The Samis brought their own boats and their own crew. They often chose to stay in tents they had brought along.

At times they could sleep under their overturned boats or in caves.

The Lofoten travelling chest was packed with care. It contained all necessary clothes and belongings.

The psalm book was often a good companion when bad weather kept them ashore.

It even happened that Sami women took part in the Lofoten fisheries!


Samis as Boat Builders

In the year 1138, pretender to the Throne, Sigurd Slembe, came sailing in the Vestfjord. He and his crew stayed with the Sami at the island Hinnøya the following winter.

The Sami built two large ships for Sigurd. It was said that no ship could outsail them.

Already in the time of the Sagas, the Sami were acknowledged as able boat builders. In later periods, they made the small faerings as well as the larger cogs.

Ship builders were dependent on good tools made from iron, and the Sami were known as skilled blacksmiths.

The famous Nordland boat belongs to both Sami and Norwegian culture and history.


Shipping Goods

Often, the Sami sailed the stockfish to Bergen in their own ships. In Bergen fish was traded for grain, flour and other necessities. Now and then, they could afford knick-knacks as well as pipes and tobacco. Besides fish, they traded furs and spoons made from reindeer horn.

The return was just as risky as the voyage southwards. Once, a woman walked up the mountain near Kjøpsvik to yoik her husband’s ship safely back home.

In the 16th and the 17th c, the Sami smoked their tobacco with pipes coming from Holland or England and ate their meals from dishes made in Trondheim