The Borje Salming Collection
One day while pulling photos for a hockey set in my job as a card company photo editor, I came across Borje Salming. As a long-time hockey fan, I was certainly familiar with the man who paved the way for Europeans – especially Swedes and Finns – to the NHL. Now as a loyal Finn, of course I wasn't a huge fan of him being a Swede, but I did recognize his impact on the game. Often while I'm finding photos of players I look up a few facts on them so I checked out his Wikipedia page.
And that's where I first saw the term Sámi.
The Sámi, whom I had never heard of before by that name, are the people once referred to as Lapps: now viewed as a derogatory term coming from references to their clothing being patches, or rags in their multi-colored designs. They once inhabited much of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia's Kola Peninsula-- hence the term Lapland for Finland's northernmost region. Seeing as a quarter of my family came from this area, it of course made me wonder if I was part Sámi too. My interest in my family background had been rekindled, but in a much stronger sense. No longer was I trying to just put in names and dates and just hunt around, knowing a lot of generalities and filling in specifics. Now I was trying to find out who I really am.
Eventually I found that I had a great-great-great-grandparent who was indeed a member of the Forest Sámi-- those who were not nomadic reindeer herders.
And so, seeing as the half-Swedish, half-Sámi Salming is one of the few Sámi athletes to make it big in a major sport (and according to Geni, he is my 11th cousin once removed), I felt like I should start a collection of his cards and items. I picked up my first few in July 2022. Sadly, only two weeks later came his diagnosis with ALS. The disease eventually took his life on November 24, 2022.