Tomasson, Torkel

Tomasson, Torkel Image 1

© Svenskt Porträttarkiv

Torkel Tomasson was born in Anundsjö parish (Ångermanland, Sweden)  in 1881 and lived in Vilhelmina. He died in 1940.

At the age of 25 he left reindeer-herding and studied at high school in Matarengi, Swedish Tornedalen. He took his final exam in Stockholm and studied at Uppsala University. In 1904 he became secretary of the first Sámi Central Organisation and founded "Lapparnes egen tidning" (that was published with five numbers). After a central Sámi meeting in Östersund in 1918 he could work as a journalist and editor for its successor "Samfeolkets egen tidning".

Tomasson was very interested in the ancient culture of the Sámi. In 1917, he conducted interviews with 26 Sámi elders, most of whom had grown up during the 1850s and 1860s. Most of the interviews were conducted in Vilhelmina, but he also recorded in Tärnaby, Sorsele, Härjedalen and Jämtland. The recordings contain extensive descriptions of Southern Sámi fairy tales, folklore, and traditions. Tomasson's material is unique in that he and the interview subjects conversed in their native Southern Saami language.

The publication of his Några sägner, seder och bruk upptecknade efter lapparna i Åsele- och Lycksele lappmark samt Herjedalen sommaren 1917 [Sámi tales, traditions, and customs recorded in Åsele, Lycksele, and Herjedalen in the summer of 1917] (in Swedish and Southern Saami). Uppsala, Sweden: Institutet för språk och folkminnen, Dialekt- och folkminnesarkivet i Uppsala, was released in 1988.