Thursday, October 10, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 111

 "A Reindeer outfit, Lapland"


We often think of reindeer as only living in northern Eurasia but we have these animals in North America too.  Here we call them caribou.  Both male and female reindeer can have antlers, however, the males usually have larger ones.   Even though they really can’t fly, traditionally reindeer are shown as the flying animals that pull the sleigh for Santa Claus at Christmas.  The average height for reindeer is approximately 5 feet tall for females and 7 feet for males with the weight about 200 lbs for females and up to 400 lbs for males.  There are still wild herds in Norway, Finland, Siberia, Greenland, Alaska, and Canada.  Some reindeer have been domesticated as shown on the postcard.  I liked this early 1900s postcard because it does show them pulling a sled even though there is no bag of toys in the back or a jolly old elf. 

The people in the photo are described as Lapps or Laplanders although today the preferred name is Sami.  The area where they live is called Sápmi and includes parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.  It is not a separate country but does have Sami Parliaments in Norway, Finland and Sweden.  They do have their own football (soccer) team and won the 2006 Viva World Cup.  The largest part of Sápmi is north of the Arctic Circle where there are valuable natural resources in the form of oil, gas, iron ore, nickel as well as reindeer, wolves, bears, sea and land birds.  The estimated population is between 80,000 and 100,000 people.  Some of those who have migrated to places away from Sápmi have ended up in Canada and the United States especially in the northern parts of Minnesota. 

The two people in the picture are shown wearing the traditional clothing of that time period, outer clothing, boots, and hats made from reindeer hides with the fur side out.  Also the padding or blanket that they are sitting on is reindeer hide.

The postcard is a divided card with one-cent postage for the United States and 2-cents for foreign mailing.  There is a short description of what is on the face of the card and a space for the address and message.  This description would not be used today but does illustrate what was done in the early 1900s.

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