The Aboriginal people encountered by the Norse
Among the most striking sections in the Vinland sagas are descriptions of encounters between the Norse and the people already living in the areas they visited. They ran across different people in different locations but in all instances the Norse referred to them as SkrŠlings making no distinction between them. The word SkrŠling no longer exists in any Scandinavian language. Its exact meaning is unknown. The same term was later used when the Norse met the Thule Inuits in Greenland a couple of centuries later. Occasionally it was even used about the Saami in Scandinavia.
In this section you will look at what the sagas say about the people the Norse met. To get some sense for the potential differences between the groups, you will first look at the people in Markland and later those in Vinland and a couple of unnamed areas.