Sami people

Sami people

Overview

The Sami people, also spelled Sámi, or Saami, are the arctic indigenous people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, the Kola Peninsula
Kola Peninsula
The Kola Peninsula is a peninsula in the far northwest of Russia. Constituting the bulk of the territory of Murmansk Oblast, it lies almost completely to the north of the Arctic Circle and is washed by the Barents Sea in the north and the White Sea in the east and southeast...

 of Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are Europe’s northernmost and the Nordic countries’ only officially indigenous people. Sami ancestral lands span an area of approximately 388,350 km2 (150,000 sq.
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The Sami people, also spelled Sámi, or Saami, are the arctic indigenous people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, the Kola Peninsula
Kola Peninsula
The Kola Peninsula is a peninsula in the far northwest of Russia. Constituting the bulk of the territory of Murmansk Oblast, it lies almost completely to the north of the Arctic Circle and is washed by the Barents Sea in the north and the White Sea in the east and southeast...

 of Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are Europe’s northernmost and the Nordic countries’ only officially indigenous people. Sami ancestral lands span an area of approximately 388,350 km2 (150,000 sq. mi), which is approximately the size of Sweden in the Nordic countries
Nordic countries
The Nordic countries make up a region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and their associated territories, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland...

. Their traditional languages are the Sami languages
Sami languages
Sami or Saami is a general name for a group of Uralic languages spoken by the Sami people in parts of northern Finland, Norway, Sweden and extreme northwestern Russia, in Northern Europe. Sami is frequently and erroneously believed to be a single language. Several names are used for the Sami...

 and are classified as a branch of the Uralic
Uralic languages
The Uralic languages constitute a language family of some three dozen languages spoken by approximately 25 million people. The healthiest Uralic languages in terms of the number of native speakers are Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Mari and Udmurt...

 language family. The Sami languages are endangered.

Traditionally, the Sami have pursued a variety of livelihoods, including coastal fishing, fur trapping and sheep herding
Shepherd
A shepherd is a person who tends, feeds or guards flocks of sheep.- Origins :Shepherding is one of the oldest occupations, beginning some 6,000 years ago in Asia Minor. Sheep were kept for their milk, meat and especially their wool...

. Their best known means of livelihood is semi-nomadic reindeer
Reindeer
The reindeer , also known as the caribou in North America, is a deer from the Arctic and Subarctic, including both resident and migratory populations. While overall widespread and numerous, some of its subspecies are rare and one has already gone extinct.Reindeer vary considerably in color and size...

 herding, with which about 10% of the Sami are connected and 2,800 actively involved on a full-time basis. For traditional, environmental, cultural and political reasons, reindeer herding is legally reserved only for Sami people in certain regions of the Nordic countries.

Etymologies


The Sámi are often known in other languages by the exonyms "Lap", "Lapp", or "Laplanders", but many Sami regard these as pejorative terms. Variants of the name Lapp were originally used in Sweden and Finland, and through Swedish adopted by all major European languages: Lapps, German, , (lopari), , , (Lápones), , , , , .

The word “Lapp” is defined in the Lexicon Lapponicum as “Fenn”. The first known historical mention of “Fenni” was by Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

, about 98 CE.

The exact meaning of this old term, and the reasons it came into common usage, are unknown; in Scandinavian languages
North Germanic languages
The North Germanic languages or Scandinavian languages, the languages of Scandinavians, make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages, a sub-family of the Indo-European languages, along with the West Germanic languages and the extinct East Germanic languages...

 lapp means a patch of cloth for mending, which may be a description of the clothing, called a gakti
Gakti
Gakti or gákti, as it is written in Northern Sámi, is a piece of traditional clothing worn by the Sámi in northern areas of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula in Russia. The gákti is worn both in ceremonial contexts and while working, particularly when herding reindeer...

, that the Sámi wear. Another possible source is the Finnish word lape, which in this case means 'periphery'. Originally it meant any person living in the wilderness, not only the Sámi people. It is unknown how the word Lapp came into the Norse language
Old Norse
Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300....

, but it may have been introduced by the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus
Saxo Grammaticus
Saxo Grammaticus also known as Saxo cognomine Longus was a Danish historian, thought to have been a secular clerk or secretary to Absalon, Archbishop of Lund, foremost advisor to Valdemar I of Denmark. He is the author of the first full history of Denmark.- Life :The Jutland Chronicle gives...

 to distinguish between Fish-Fennians (coastal tribes) and Lap-Fennians (forest tribes), supporting the second etymology. It was popularized and became the standard terminology by the work of Johannes Schefferus
Johannes Schefferus
Johannes Schefferus was one of the most important Swedish humanists of his time.Schefferus was born in Strasbourg, then part of the Holy Roman Empire...

, Acta Lapponica
Lapponia (book)
Lapponia is a book written by Johannes Schefferus covering a very comprehensive history of Northern Scandinavia topology, environment and Sami living condition, dwelling-places, clothing, gender roles, hunting, child raising, shamanism and pagan religion. It was published in late 1673 and closely...

(1673), but was also used earlier by Olaus Magnus
Olaus Magnus
Olaus Magnus was a Swedish ecclesiastic and writer, who did pioneering work for the interest of Nordic people. He was reported as born in October 1490 in Östergötland, and died on August 1, 1557. Magnus, Latin for the Swedish Stor “great”, is a Latin family name taken personally, and not a...

 in his Description of the Northern peoples (1555). There is another suggestion that it originally meant wilds. An alternative interpretation made by Damião de Góis
Damião de Góis
Damiao de Góis , born in Alenquer, Portugal, was an important Portuguese humanist philosopher. He was a friend and student of Erasmus. He was appointed secretary to the Portuguese factory in Antwerp in 1523 by King John III of Portugal...

 in 1540 derives Lapland from “the dumb and lazy land”, because a land where no vegetables grow is lazy and does not speak.

Across the Nordic areas "Lapp" is common in place names, such as in Norway, e.g. Lappetjørna Hordaland
Hordaland
is a county in Norway, bordering Sogn og Fjordane, Buskerud, Telemark and Rogaland. Hordaland is the third largest county after Akershus and Oslo by population. The county administration is located in Bergen...

; in Finland, e.g. Lappi Länsi-Suomen lääni and Lapinlahti Itä-Suomen lääni; and in Sweden e.g. Lapp Stockholm County
Stockholm County
Stockholm County is a county or län on the Baltic sea coast of Sweden. It borders Uppsala County and Södermanland County. It also borders Mälaren and the Baltic Sea. The city of Stockholm is the capital of Sweden. Stockholm County is divided by the historic provinces of Uppland and Södermanland...

, Lappe Södermanland
Södermanland
', sometimes referred to under its Latin form Sudermannia or Sudermania, is a historical province or landskap on the south eastern coast of Sweden. It borders Östergötland, Närke, Västmanland and Uppland. It is also bounded by lake Mälaren and the Baltic sea.In Swedish, the province name is...

 and Lappabo Småland
Småland
' is a historical province in southern Sweden.Småland borders Blekinge, Scania or Skåne, Halland, Västergötland, Östergötland and the island Öland in the Baltic Sea. The name Småland literally means Small Lands. . The latinized form Smolandia has been used in other languages...

. The noun "Lapp" is an indication that the Sami people and the Nordic history is related to a larger ancient history of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

.

In the North Sámi language, "lahppon olmmoš" means a person in redemption.

The term "Finn" is occasionally used locally for the Sámi people in Norway, whereas local Finnish speakers are called kvæn. “Finn” seems to have been in much wider use in ancient times, judging from the names Fenni
Fenni
The Fenni were an ancient people of northeastern Europe first described by Cornelius Tacitus in Germania in AD 98.- Ancient accounts :The Fenni are first mentioned by Cornelius Tacitus in Germania in 98 A.D...

and Phinnoi
Phinnoi
Phinnoi were one of the people living in Scandinavia , mentioned by a Greek scientist Ptolemy in his Geographia around 150 CE. Ptolemy mentions them twice, but provides no other information on them....

in classical Roman
Latin literature
Latin literature includes the essays, histories, poems, plays, and other writings of the ancient Romans. In many ways, it seems to be a continuation of Greek literature, using many of the same forms...

 and Greek works
Ancient Greek literature
Ancient Greek literature refers to literature written in the Ancient Greek language until the 4th century.- Classical and Pre-Classical Antiquity :...

.

Sámi refer to themselves as Sámit (the Sámis) or Sápmelaš (of Sámi kin), the word Sámi being inflected into various grammatical forms. It has been proposed that Sámi (presumably borrowed
Loanword
A loanword is a word borrowed from a donor language and incorporated into a recipient language. By contrast, a calque or loan translation is a related concept where the meaning or idiom is borrowed rather than the lexical item itself. The word loanword is itself a calque of the German Lehnwort,...

 from the Proto-Finnic word), Häme (Finnish for Tavastia
Tavastia (historical province)
Tavastia, Tavastland or Häme, Russian Emi or Yemi, is a historical province in the south of Finland. It borders Finland Proper, Satakunta, Ostrobothnia, Savonia and Uusimaa.- Administration :...

) (< Proto-Finnic
Finnic languages
The term Finnic languages often means the Baltic-Finnic languages, an undisputed branch of the Uralic languages. However, it is also commonly used to mean the Finno-Permic languages, a hypothetical intermediate branch that includes Baltic Finnic, or the more disputed Finno-Volgaic languages....

 *šämä, the second ä still being found in the archaic derivation Hämäläinen), and perhaps Suomi (Finnish for Finland) (< *sōme-/sōma-, compare suomalainen, supposedly borrowed from a Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic language
Proto-Germanic , or Common Germanic, as it is sometimes known, is the unattested, reconstructed proto-language of all the Germanic languages, such as modern English, Frisian, Dutch, Afrikaans, German, Luxembourgish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, and Swedish.The Proto-Germanic language is...

 source *sōma- from Proto-Baltic
Baltic languages
The Baltic languages are a group of related languages belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family and spoken mainly in areas extending east and southeast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe...

 *sāma-, in turn borrowed from Proto-Finnic *šämä) are of the same origin, and ultimately borrowed from the Baltic
Baltic languages
The Baltic languages are a group of related languages belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family and spoken mainly in areas extending east and southeast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe...

 word *žēmē meaning "land". The Baltic word is cognate
Cognate
In linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin. This learned term derives from the Latin cognatus . Cognates within the same language are called doublets. Strictly speaking, loanwords from another language are usually not meant by the term, e.g...

 with Slavic
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

 земля (zemlja), which also means "land".
The Sámi institutions — notably the parliaments, the radio and TV stations, theatres, etc. — all use the term Sámi, including when addressing outsiders in Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, or English. In Norwegian, the Sámi are today referred to by the Norwegianized form "same", where as the word "lapp" would be considered archaic and pejorative.

Terminological issues in Finnish are somewhat different. Finns living in Finnish Lapland generally call themselves lappilainen, whereas the similar word for the Sámi people is lappalainen. This can be confusing for foreign visitors because of the similar lives Finns and Sámi people live today in Lapland. “Lappalainen” is also a common family name in Finland. As in the Scandinavian languages, lappalainen is often considered archaic or pejorative and saamelainen is used instead, at least in official contexts.

History




Since prehistoric times, long before the concept of national borders existed, the Sami people of arctic Europe lived and worked in an area that stretches over the regions now known as Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Russian Kola Peninsula. They have inhabited the northern arctic and sub-arctic regions of Fenno-Scandinavia and Russia for at least 5000 years. The Sami are counted among the arctic peoples and are members of circumpolar groups such as the Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat
Arctic Council
The Arctic Council is a high-level intergovernmental forum which addresses issues faced by the Arctic governments and the indigenous people of the Arctic.- History of the Arctic Council :...

.

Petroglyphs and archeological findings such as settlements dating from about 10,000 B.C. can be found in the traditional lands of the Sami. The now obsolete term for the archaeological culture of these hunters and gatherers of the late Paleolithic and early Mesolithic is Komsa
Komsa
The Komsa culture was a Mesolithic culture of hunter-gatherers that existed from around 10000 BC in Northern Norway.The culture is named after the Komsa Mountain in the community of Alta, Finnmark, where the remains of the culture were first discovered...

. A cultural continuity between these stone age people and the Sami can be assumed due to evidence such as the similarities in the decoration patterns of archeological bone objects and Sami decoration patterns, and there is no archeological evidence of this population being replaced by another.

Recent archaeological discoveries in Finnish Lapland were originally seen as the continental version of the culture Komsa about the same age as the earliest finds on the coast of Norway. It is hypothesized that the Komsa followed receding glaciers inland from the arctic coast at the end of the last ice age (between 11,000 and 8000 years. B.C.) as new land opened up for settlement (e.g., modern Finnmark area in the northeast, to the coast of the Kola Peninsula). Since the Sami are the earliest ethnic group in the area, they are consequently considered an indigenous population of the area.

Southern limits of Sami settlement in the past


How far south the Sami extended in the past has been debated among historians and archeologists for many years. The Norwegian historian Yngvar Nielsen
Yngvar Nielsen
Yngvar Nielsen was a Norwegian historian, politician, geographer and pioneer of tourism in Norway.-Background:...

, commissioned by the Norwegian government in 1889 to determine this question in order to settle contemporary questions of Sami land rights, concluded that the Sami had lived no further south than Lierne
Lierne
Lierne is a municipality in Nord-Trøndelag county, Norway. It is part of the Namdalen region, and it is the largest municipality in Trøndelag. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Sandvika. Other villages include Inderdal, Sørli, and Tunnsjø senter...

 in Nord-Trøndelag
Nord-Trøndelag
is a county constituting the northern part of Trøndelag in Norway. As of 2010, the county had 131,555 inhabitants, making it the country's fourth-least populated county. The largest municipalities are Stjørdal, Steinkjer—the county seat, Levanger, Namsos and Verdal, all with between 21,000 and...

 county until around 1500, when they started moving south, reaching the area around Lake Femunden in the 18th century. This hypothesis is still accepted among many historians, but has been the subject of scholarly debate in the 21st century. In recent years, several archaeological finds indicate a Sami presence in Southern Norway in the Middle Ages, and Southern Sweden, including finds in Lesja
Lesja
Lesja is a municipality in Oppland county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Gudbrandsdal. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Lesja....

, in Vang in Valdres
Valdres
Valdres is a traditional district in central, southern Norway, situated between Gudbrandsdal and Hallingdal.Administratively, Valdres belongs to Oppland. It consists of the municipalities Nord-Aurdal, Sør-Aurdal, Øystre Slidre, Vestre Slidre, Vang and Etnedal. The main town in the region is...

 and in Hol
Hol
Hol is a municipality in Buskerud county, Norway.-Administrative history:The area of Hol was separated from the municipality of Ål in 1877 to become a separate municipality. In 1937 a part of neighboring Uvdal with 220 inhabitants was moved to Hol municipality. The area of Dagali was transferred...

 and Ål
Ål
Ål is a municipality in Buskerud county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Hallingdal. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Ål....

 in Hallingdal
Hallingdal
Hallingdal is a valley and traditional district in Buskerud county in Norway. It consists of the municipalities of Flå, Nes, Gol, Hemsedal, Ål and Hol.-History:Ancient routes went to Vestlandet through Valdres and Hallingdal and down Røldal to Odda...

. Proponents of the Sami interpretations of these finds assume a mixed populations of Norse and Sami people in the mountainous areas of Southern Norway in the Middle Ages.

The Bubonic plague


Until the arrival of the bubonic plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

 of 1349 in northern Norway, the Sami and the Norwegians occupied very separate economic niches
Ecological niche
In ecology, a niche is a term describing the relational position of a species or population in its ecosystem to each other; e.g. a dolphin could potentially be in another ecological niche from one that travels in a different pod if the members of these pods utilize significantly different food...

. The Sami hunted reindeer and fished for their own livelihood. The Norwegians, concentrated on the outer islands and outer sections of the fjords, were connected to the greater European trade routes; did marginal farming in the Nordland
Nordland
is a county in Norway in the North Norway region, bordering Troms in the north, Nord-Trøndelag in the south, Norrbottens län in Sweden to the east, Västerbottens län to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The county was formerly known as Nordlandene amt. The county administration is...

, Troms
Troms
or Romsa is a county in North Norway, bordering Finnmark to the northeast and Nordland in the southwest. To the south is Norrbotten Län in Sweden and further southeast is a shorter border with Lapland Province in Finland. To the west is the Norwegian Sea...

, and Finnmark
Finnmark
or Finnmárku is a county in the extreme northeast of Norway. By land it borders Troms county to the west, Finland to the south and Russia to the east, and by water, the Norwegian Sea to the northwest, and the Barents Sea to the north and northeast.The county was formerly known as Finmarkens...

 counties; and fished for trade products from the south. The two groups co-existed using two different food resources. According to old Nordic texts the Sea Sami and the Mountain Sami are two classes of the same people and not two different ethnic groups as had been erroneously believed.

This social economic balance greatly changed with the introduction of the bubonic plague in northern Norway, in December of the year 1349. The Norwegians were closely connected to the greater European trade routes, along which the plague traveled; consequently, they were infected and died at a far higher rate than Sami in the interior. Of all the states in the region, Norway suffered the most from this plague. Depending on the parish
Parish
A parish is a territorial unit historically under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of one parish priest, who might be assisted in his pastoral duties by a curate or curates - also priests but not the parish priest - from a more or less central parish church with its associated organization...

, sixty to seventy-six percent of the northern Norwegian farms were abandoned following the plague, while land-rents, another possible measure of the population numbers, dropped down to between 9-28% of pre-plague rents. Although the population of northern Norway is sparse compared to southern Europe, the spread of the disease was just as rapid. The method of movement of the plague-infested flea
Flea
Flea is the common name for insects of the order Siphonaptera which are wingless insects with mouthparts adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood...

 (Xenopsylla cheopsis) from the south was in wooden barrels holding wheat, rye, or wool – where the fleas could live, and even reproduce, for several months at a time. The Sami having a non-wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

 or -rye
Rye
Rye is a grass grown extensively as a grain and as a forage crop. It is a member of the wheat tribe and is closely related to barley and wheat. Rye grain is used for flour, rye bread, rye beer, some whiskeys, some vodkas, and animal fodder...

 diet, eating fish and reindeer meat, living in communities detached from the Norwegians, and being only weakly connected to the European trade routes, fared far better than the Norwegians.

Fishing industry



Fishing has always been the main livelihood for the many Sami living permanently in seaside areas. Archeological research shows that the Sami have lived along the coast, and once lived much further south in the past, and they were also involved in other work than just reindeer herding (e.g., fishing, agriculture, iron work). The fishing along the north Norwegian coast, especially in the Lofoten and Vesterålen islands, is quite productive with a variety of fish, and during medieval times it was a major source of income for both the fisherman and the Norwegian monarchy
Norwegian monarchy
The Norwegian monarch or Sovereign is the head of state of Norway, which is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government...

. With such massive population drops caused by the Black Death, the tax revenues from this industry greatly diminished. Because of the huge economic profits that could be had from these fisheries, the local authorities offered incentives to the Sami – faced with their own population pressures – to settle on the newly vacant farms. This started the economic division between the ‘Sea Sami’ (sjøsamene) who fished extensively off the coast, and the ‘Mountain Sami’ (fjellsamene, innlandssamene) who continued to hunt (among other, small-game animals), and later herd, reindeer. Even as late as the early 18th century, there were many Sami who were still settling on these farms left abandoned from the 1350s. After many years of continuous migration, these 'Sea Sami' became far more numerous than the reindeer mountain Sami, who today only make up 10% of all Sami. In contemporary times, there are also ongoing consultations between the Government of Norway and the Sami Parliament and regarding the recognition the right of the coastal Sami to fish in the seas on the basis of historical use and international law. State regulation of sea fisheries underwent drastic change in the late 1980s. The regulation linked quotas to vessels and not to fishers. These newly calculated quotas were distributed free of cost to larger vessels on the basis of the amount of the catch in previous years, resulting in small vessels in Sami districts to a large degree falling outside the new quota system.

Mountain Sami


As the Sea Sami settled along Norway's fjord
Fjord
Geologically, a fjord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created in a valley carved by glacial activity.-Formation:A fjord is formed when a glacier cuts a U-shaped valley by abrasion of the surrounding bedrock. Glacial melting is accompanied by rebound of Earth's crust as the ice...

s and inland waterways pursuing a combination of farming, cattle raising, trapping and fishing, the smaller minority of the Mountain Sami continued to hunt wild reindeer
Reindeer
The reindeer , also known as the caribou in North America, is a deer from the Arctic and Subarctic, including both resident and migratory populations. While overall widespread and numerous, some of its subspecies are rare and one has already gone extinct.Reindeer vary considerably in color and size...

. Around 1500, they started to tame these animals into herding groups, becoming the well-known reindeer nomads, often portrayed by outsiders as following the archetypal Sami lifestyle. The Mountain Sami faced the fact that they had to pay taxes to three nation states: Norway
Kalmar Union
The Kalmar Union is a historiographical term meaning a series of personal unions that united the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway , and Sweden under a single monarch, though intermittently and with a population...

, Sweden
Early Vasa era
The Early Vasa era is a period that in Swedish history lasted between 1523–1611. It began with the reconquest of Stockholm by Gustav Vasa and his men from the Danes in 1523, and Sweden's consequent abandonment of the Kalmar Union, and continued with the reign of Gustav's sons Eric XIV, John...

 and Russia
Grand Duchy of Moscow
The Grand Duchy of Moscow or Grand Principality of Moscow, also known in English simply as Muscovy , was a late medieval Rus' principality centered on Moscow, and the predecessor state of the early modern Tsardom of Russia....

 as they crossed the borders of each of the respective countries following the annual reindeer migrations, which caused much resentment over the years. Sweden made the Sami work in a slavemine at Nasafjäll causing many Samis to flee from the area, so a large part of the provinces previously used by Pite and Lule Samis is depopulated. Government troops were ordered to prevent the Sami from fleeing.

Post-1800s



For long periods of time, the Sami lifestyle thrived because of its adaptation to the Arctic
Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

 environment. Indeed, throughout the 18th century, as Norwegians of Northern Norway suffered from low fish prices and consequent depopulation, the Sami cultural element was strengthened, since the Sami were mostly independent of supplies from Southern Norway.
However, during the 19th century, Norwegian authorities put the Sami culture under pressure in order to make the Norwegian language and culture
Culture of Norway
Norwegian culture is closely linked to the country's history and geography. The unique Norwegian farm culture, sustained to this day, has resulted not only from scarce resources and a harsh climate but also from ancient property laws. In the 18th century, it brought about a strong romantic...

 universal. A strong economic development of the north also took place, giving Norwegian culture and language status. On the Swedish and Finnish side, the authorities were much less militant in their efforts though Sami language was forbidden in schools; strong economic development in the north led to a weakening of status and economy for the Sami. In 1913-1920, the Swedish race-segregation politic created a race biological institute that collected research material from living people, graves, and sterilized Sami women. Throughout history, settlers were encouraged to move to the northern regions through incentives such as land- and water-rights, tax-allowances, and military exemptions.
The strongest pressure took place from around 1900 to 1940, when Norway invested considerable money and effort to wipe out Sami culture. Notably, anyone who wanted to buy or lease state lands for agriculture in Finnmark
Finnmark
or Finnmárku is a county in the extreme northeast of Norway. By land it borders Troms county to the west, Finland to the south and Russia to the east, and by water, the Norwegian Sea to the northwest, and the Barents Sea to the north and northeast.The county was formerly known as Finmarkens...

, had to prove knowledge of the Norwegian language, and had to register with a Norwegian name. This and similar actions in Scandinavian countries, e.g. the sterilization of Sami women by Swedish authorities, are debated to be an act of ethnic cleansing, and perhaps a genocide. This also ultimately caused the dislocation of Sami people
Dislocation of Sami people
The Dislocation of Sami people refers to the ordered movement of 300-400 Sami peoples from Jukkasjärvi and Karesuando in 1920s to 1940s.-Background:This was outermost a result of political nature between Norway and Russia....

 in the 1920s, which increased the gap between local Sami groups (something still present today) and sometimes bears the character of an internal Sami ethnic conflict. In 1913, the Norwegian parliament passed a bill on "native act land" to allocate the best and most useful lands to the Norwegian settlers. Another factor was the scorched earth
Scorched earth
A scorched earth policy is a military strategy or operational method which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area...

 policy conducted by the German army resulting in heavy war destruction
Lapland War
The Lapland War were the hostilities between Finland and Nazi Germany between September 1944 and April 1945, fought in Finland's northernmost Lapland Province. While the Finns saw this as a separate conflict much like the Continuation War, German forces considered their actions to be part of the...

 in northern Finland and northern Norway in 1944–45, destroying all existing houses or kota, and visible traces of Sami culture. After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the pressure was relaxed somewhat, though the legacy was evident into recent times such as the 1970s law limiting the size of any house that Sami people were allowed to build.
The controversy
Alta controversy
The Alta controversy refers to a political controversy in Norway in the late 1970s and early 1980s concerning the construction of a hydroelectric power plant in the Alta river in Finnmark, Northern Norway.-Key events:...

 around the construction of the hydro-electric power station in Alta
Alta, Norway
-Birdlife:For those interested in bird watching, the river outlet, known locally as Altaosen is well worth a visit. This tidal area is used as a stopover for many wetland species.-Transportation:...

 in 1979 brought Sami rights onto the political agenda. In August 1986, the national anthem (Sámi soga lávlla) and flag (Sami flag
Sami flag
The Sami flag is the flag of the Sámi people, the indigenous nation of the Nordic countries and the Kola Peninsula of the Russian Federation. The flag is also sometimes used to represent the territory of Sápmi, the traditional area of Sámi inhabitance....

) of the Sami people were created. In 1989, the first Sami parliament in Norway was elected. In 2005, the Finnmark Act
Finnmark Act
The Finnmark Act transferred about 95% of the area in the Finnmark county in Norway to the inhabitants of Finnmark. This area is managed by the Finnmark Estate agency....

 was passed in the Norwegian parliament. This law gives the Sami parliament and the Finnmark Provincial council a joint responsibility of administering the land areas previously considered state property. These areas (96% of the provincial area), which have always been used primarily by the Sami, now belong officially to the people of the province, whether Sami or Norwegian, and not to the Norwegian state.

Contemporary


The Indigenous Sami population is a mostly urbanised demographic, but a substantial number live in villages in the high arctic. The Sami still have cultural consequences of language and culture loss related to Sami generations taken to missionary and/or state-run boarding schools, and the legacy of laws that were created to deny the Sami rights (e.g., to their beliefs, language, land and to the practice of traditional livelihoods). The Sami are experiencing cultural and environmental threats including oil exploration, mining, dam building, logging, climate change, military bombing ranges, tourism and commercial development.
Natural Resource Prospecting
Sapmi, which is rich in precious metals, oil, and natural gas, is also threatened by mining operations. Mining prospects in arctic Sapmi also causing controversy when they are in grazing, and calving areas. Mining projects are rejected by the Sami Parliament in the Finnmark area. Also at issue if the mining moves forward, the Sami Parliament demands that resources and mineral exploration should benefit mainly the local Sami communities and population, as the proposed mines are in Sami lands, and will affect their ability to maintain a traditional livelihood. Mining locations even include ancient Sami spaces that are designated as ecologically protected areas such as Vindelfjällen nature reserve. In Russia’s Kola Peninsula, vast areas have already been destroyed by mining and smelting activities, and further development is imminent. This includes oil and natural gas exploration in the Barents Sea. There is a gas pipeline across the Kola Peninsula. Oil spills affect fishing and the construction of roads. Power lines may cut off access to reindeer calving grounds and sacred sites.
Logging
In northern Finland, there has been a longstanding dispute over the destruction of forests, which prevents reindeer from migrating between seasonal feeding grounds and destroys supplies of lichen that grow on the upper branches of older trees. This lichen is their only source of sustenance during winter months when snow is deep. The logging has been under the control of the state-run forest system. Greenpeace, reindeer herders and Sami organisations carried out a historical joint campaign, and in 2010, Sami reindeer herders won some time as a result of these court cases. Industrial logging has now been pushed back from the most important forest areas either forever or partially for the next 20 years, though there are still threats such as mining and construction plans of holiday resorts on the protected shorelines of Inari lake.

Military Activities
Government authorities and NATO have bombing practice ranges in Sami areas in northern Norway and Sweden. These regions have served as reindeer calving and summer grounds for thousands of years, and contain many ancient Sami sacred sites.

Land Rights
The Swedish government has allowed the world's largest onshore wind farm built in Piteå, in the arctic region where the Eastern Kikkejaure village has its winter reindeer pastures. The wind farm will consist of more than 1,000 wind turbines, one 80 mil and an extensive road infrastructure, which means that the feasibility of using the area for winter grazing in practice is impossible. Sweden has received strong international criticism, including by the UN Racial Discrimination Committee and the Human Rights Committee, that Sweden violates Sami landrättigheer, including for not regulating industrial activities in the Sami's traditional lands, and for not giving sambyarr opportunity for genuine participation in decisions affecting them. Examples include: In the 1990s the Swedish government revoked the Sami exclusive right for hunting within their communities and created a new law permitting non-Sami people to fish in lakes previously reserved for the Sami. In 2002, the Sami communities in Härjedalen lost a trial over land rights and thereby no longer have any winter grazing for their reindeer.

Land grazing rights and sea rights continue to be an area of focus with court cases questioning the Sami ancient rights to reindeer pastures, fishing, and hunting rights. Cases question the Sami ancient rights to reindeer pastures. In 2010 Sweden was criticized for its relations with the Sami in the Universal Periodic Review conducted by the Working Group of the Human Rights Council. The question whether the fjeld's territory is owned by the governments or the Sami population is not answered.
Water Rights
State regulation of sea fisheries underwent drastic change in the late 1980s. The regulation linked quotas to vessels and not to fishers. These newly calculated quotas were distributed free of cost to larger vessels on the basis of the amount of the catch in previous years, resulting in small vessels in Sami districts to a large degree falling outside the new quota system.

The Sami recently stopped a water prospecting venture that threatened to turn an ancient sacred site and natural spring called Suttesaja into a large-scale water bottling plant for the world market—without notification or consultation with the local Sami people, who make up 70 percent of the population. The Finnish National Board of Antiquities has registered the area as a heritage site of cultural and historical significance, and the stream itself is part of the Deatnu/Tana watershed that is home to Europe’s largest salmon river, an important source of Sami livelihood.
Climate Change and Environment
Also, reindeer have major cultural and economic significance for indigenous peoples of the North. The human-ecological systems in the North, like reindeer pastoralism, are sensitive to change, perhaps more than in virtually any other region of the globe, due in part to the variability of the Arctic climate and ecosystem and the characteristic ways of life of indigenous Arctic peoples.

The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster caused nuclear fallout in the sensitive arctic ecosystems and poisoned fish, meat and berries. Lichens and mosses are one of the main forms of vegetation in the arctic and are highly susceptible to air-borne pollutants and heavy metals. Since many do not have roots, they can absorb nutrients, and toxic compounds, through their leaves. The lichens accumulated airborne radiation and 73,000 reindeer had to be destroyed as "unfit" for human consumption in Sweden alone. The government promised Sami indemnification which was not acted upon by government.

Radioactive wastes and spent nuclear fuel have been stored in the waters off the Kola Peninsula, including locations that are only “two kilometers” from places where Sami live. There are a minimum of five “dumps” where spent nuclear fuel and other radioactive waste are being deposited in the Kola Peninsula, often with little concern to the surround environment or population.

Tourism

The tourism industry in Finland has been criticized for turning Sami culture into a marketing tool by promoting opportunities to experience “authentic” Sami ceremonies and lifestyle. At many tourist locales, non-Samis dress in inaccurate replicas of Sami traditional clothing and gift shops sell coarse reproductions of Sami handicraft. One popular “ceremony,” crossing the Arctic Circle, actually has no significance in Sami spirituality. To the Sami, this is an insulting display of cultural exploitation.

Culture


To make up for past suppression, the authorities of Norway, Sweden and Finland now make an effort to build up Sami cultural institutions and promote Sami culture and language.

Duodji (Craft)


Duodji, the Sami handicraft, originates from the time when the Samis were self-supporting nomads, believing therefore that an object should first and foremost serve a purpose rather than being primarily decorative. Men mostly use wood, bone, and antlers to make items such as antler-handled scrimshawed sami knives, drums, and guksi (burl cups). Women used leather and roots to make items such as gákti
Gakti
Gakti or gákti, as it is written in Northern Sámi, is a piece of traditional clothing worn by the Sámi in northern areas of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula in Russia. The gákti is worn both in ceremonial contexts and while working, particularly when herding reindeer...

 (clothing), and birch and spruce root woven baskets.

Clothing


Gakti are the traditional clothing worn by the Sámi people. The gákti is worn both in ceremonial contexts and while working, particularly when herding reindeer.

Traditionally the gákti was made from reindeer leather and sinews, but nowadays it is more common to use wool, cotton, or silk. Women’s gákti typically consist of a dress, a fringed shawl that is fastened with 1-3 silver brooches, and boots/shoes made of reindeer fur or leather. Boots can have a pointed or curled toes and often have band-woven ankle wraps. Eastern Sami boots have a rounded toe on reindeer fur boots, lined with felt and with beaded details. There are different gákti for women and men; men's gákti have a shorter "jacket-skirt" than a women's long dress. Traditional Gákti are most commonly in variations of red, blue, green, white, medium-brown tanned leather, or reindeer fur. In winter there is the addition of a reindeer fur coat and leggings, and sometimes a poncho and rope/lasso.

The colours, patterns and the jewellery of the gákti indicate where a person is from, if a person is single or married, and sometimes can even be specific to their family. The collar, sleeves and hem usually have appliqués in the form of geometric shapes. Some regions have ribbonwork, others have tin embroidery, and some Eastern Sami have beading on clothing or collar. Hats vary by gender, season, and region. They can be wool, leather, or fur. They can be embroidered or in the East they are more like a beaded cloth crown with a shawl. Some traditional Shamanic headgear had animal hides, plaits, and feathers, particularly in East Sapmi.

The gákti can be worn with a belt, these are sometimes band-woven belts, finger-woven, or beaded. Leather belts can have scrimshawed antler buttons, silver concho-like buttons, tassles, or brass/copper details such as rings. Belts can also have beaded leather pouches, antler needle cases, accessories for a fire, copper rings, amulets, and often have a carved and/or scrimshawed antler handled knife. Some Eastern Sami also have hooded jumper (малиц) from reindeer skins with wool inside and above the knee boots.

Media and literature


  • There are short daily news bulletins in Northern Sámi on national TV in Norway
    Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

    , Sweden
    Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

     and Finland
    Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

    . Children's television shows in Sami are also frequently made. There is also a radio station for Northern Sámi, which has some news programs in the other Sámi languages
    Sami languages
    Sami or Saami is a general name for a group of Uralic languages spoken by the Sami people in parts of northern Finland, Norway, Sweden and extreme northwestern Russia, in Northern Europe. Sami is frequently and erroneously believed to be a single language. Several names are used for the Sami...

    .
  • A single daily newspaper is published in Northern Sami, Ávvir
    Ávvir
    Ávvir is a newspaper written in the Northern Sámi language that is the result of the merger between Min Áigi and Áššu. Ávvir is currently published five times a week, from Tuesday to Saturday...

    , along with a few magazines.
  • There is a Sámi theatre, Beaivvaš
    Beaivváš Sámi Theatre
    Beaivváš Sámi Theatre is a Norwegian theatre that uses Sami language as its performing language...

    , in Kautokeino on the Norwegian side, as well as in Kiruna on the Swedish side. Both tour the entire Sámi area with drama written by Sámi authors or international translations.
  • A number of novels and poetry collections are published every year in Northern Sámi and sometimes in the other Sámi languages, as well.

Music



A characteristic feature of Sami musical tradition is the singing of yoik/joik. Yoiks are song-chants and are traditionally sung a cappella
A cappella
A cappella music is specifically solo or group singing without instrumental sound, or a piece intended to be performed in this way. It is the opposite of cantata, which is accompanied singing. A cappella was originally intended to differentiate between Renaissance polyphony and Baroque concertato...

, usually sung slowly and deep in the throat with apparent emotional content of sorrow or anger. Yoiks can be dedicated to animals and birds in nature, to special people or special occasions, and they can be joyous, sad or melancholic. They often are based on syllablic improvisation. In recent years, musical instruments frequently accompany yoiks. The only traditional Sami instruments that were sometimes used to accompany yoik are the "fadno" flute (made from reed-like Angelica archangelica stems) and hand drums (frame drums, and bowl drums).

Education

  • Education with Sami as the first language is available in all four countries, and also outside the Sami area.
  • Sami University College
    Sámi University College
    Sámi University College was established in 1989 and has about 150 students and 52 faculty, technical and administrative staff. It is one of 25 Norwegian state university colleges and located in Kautokeino....

     is located in Kautokeino. Sami language is studied in several universities in all countries, most notably the University of Tromsø
    University of Tromsø
    The University of Tromsø is the world's northernmost university. Located in the city of Tromsø, Norway, it was established in 1968, and opened in 1972. It is one of eight universities in Norway. The University of Tromsø is the largest research and educational institution in northern Norway...

    , which considers Sami a mother tongue, not a foreign language.

Festivals and markets

  • Numerous Sami festivals throughout the Sápmi area celebrate different aspects of the Sami culture. The best known on the Norwegian side is Riddu Riđđu, though there are others such as Ijahis Idja in Inari
    Inari, Finland
    Inari is Finland's largest, sparsely populated municipality with four official languages, more than any other in the country. Its major sources of income are lumber industry and nature maintenance. With the museum Siida in the village of Inari, it is a center of Sami culture...

    . Among the most festive are the Easter festivals taking place in Kautokeino
    Kautokeino
    or Guovdageaidnu , is a municipality in Finnmark county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Guovdageaidnu/Kautokeino...

     and Karasjok
    Karasjok
    Kárášjohka or is a village and municipality in Finnmark county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Karasjok.-Name:Karasjok is a Norwegianized form of the Sámi name Kárášjohka...

     prior to the springtime reindeer migration to the coast. These festivals combine traditional culture with modern phenomena such as snowmobile races.

Reindeer husbandry


Reindeer husbandry has been, and is, an important aspect of Sami culture. During the years of forced assimilation
Forced assimilation
Forced assimilation is a process of forced cultural assimilation of religious or ethnic minority groups, into an established and generally larger community...

, the areas in which reindeer herding was an important livelihood were among the few where the Sami culture and language survived.

Today, in Norway, reindeer husbandry is legally protected as an exclusive Sami livelihood, such that only persons of Sami descent with a linkage to a reindeer herding family can own, and hence make a living off, reindeer. Presently, about 2,800 people are engaged in reindeer herding in Norway. In Finland, reindeer husbandry is not exclusive, and is practiced to a limited degree also by ethnic Finns. Legally, it is restricted to EU/EEA
European Economic Area
The European Economic Area was established on 1 January 1994 following an agreement between the member states of the European Free Trade Association and the European Community, later the European Union . Specifically, it allows Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to participate in the EU's Internal...

 nationals resident in the area. In the north (Lapland), it plays a major role in the local economy, while its economic impact is lesser in the southern parts of the area (Province of Oulu).

Among the reindeer-herders in the Saami villages the women usually have a higher level of formal education in the area.

Norway



The Sami have been recognized as an indigenous people in Norway (1990 according to ILO convention 169
Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989
Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 is an International Labour Organization Convention, also known as ILO-convention 169, or C169. It is the major binding international convention concerning indigenous peoples, and a forerunner of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.It...

 as described below), and hence according to international law the Sami people in Norway are entitled special protection and rights. The legal foundation of the Sami policy is:
  • Article 110a of the Norwegian Constitution.
  • The Sami Act (act of 12 June 1987 No. 56 concerning the Sami Parliament (the Sámediggi) and other legal matters pertaining to the Samis).


The constitutional amendment states: “It is the responsibility of the authorities of the State to create conditions enabling the Sami people to preserve and develop its language, culture and way of life.” This provides a legal and political protection of the Sami language, culture and society. In addition the “amendment implies a legal, political and moral obligation for Norwegian authorities to create an environment conducive to the Samis themselves influencing on the development of the Sami community.” (ibid.).

The Sami Act provides special rights for the Sami people (ibid.):
  • “...the Samis shall have their own national Sami Parliament
    Sami Parliament of Norway
    The Sami Parliament of Norway is the representative body for people of Sami heritage in Norway. It acts as an institution of cultural autonomy for the indigenous Sami people....

     elected by and amongst the Samis” (Chapter 1–2).
  • The Sami people shall decide the area of activity of the Norwegian Sami Parliament.
  • The Sami and Norwegian languages have equal standing in Norway (section 15; Chapter 3 contains details with regards to the use of the Sami language).

In addition, the Sami have special rights to reindeer husbandry.

The Norwegian Sami parliament also elects 50% of the members to the board of the Finnmark Estate, which controls 95% of the land in the county of Finnmark
Finnmark
or Finnmárku is a county in the extreme northeast of Norway. By land it borders Troms county to the west, Finland to the south and Russia to the east, and by water, the Norwegian Sea to the northwest, and the Barents Sea to the north and northeast.The county was formerly known as Finmarkens...

.

Norway has also accepted international conventions, declarations and agreements applicable to the Sami as a minority and indigenous people including:
  • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Right (1966). Article 27 protects minorities, and indigenous peoples, against discrimination: “In those states in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities, shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or use their own language.”
  • ILO Convention No. 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (1989). The convention states that rights for the indigenous peoples to land and natural resources are recognized as central for their material and cultural survival. In addition indigenous peoples should be entitled to exercise control over, and manage, their own institutions, ways of life and economic development in order to maintain and develop their identities, languages and religions, within the framework of the States in which they live.
  • The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965).
  • The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).
  • The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979).
  • The Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (1995).
  • The Council of Europe’s Charter for Regional and Minority Languages (1992).
  • The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007).


In 2007 the Norwegian parliament passed the new Reindeer Herding Act acknowledging siida
Siida
The siida is a Sami local community that has existed from time immemorial. A siida , or a "reindeer pastoralistic district," is a Sami reindeer foraging area, a group for reindeer herding and a corporation working for the economic benefit of its members...

 as the basic institution regarding land rights, organization, and daily herding management.

Sweden



The Sametingslag was established the Swedish Sami Parliament as of 1 January 1993. Sweden recognised the existence of the ‘Sami nation’ in 1989, but the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, C169 has not been adopted. All indigenous rights are currently banned.

The Compulsory School Ordinance states that Sami pupils are entitled to be taught in their native language, however, a municipality is only obliged to arrange mother tongue teaching in Sami if a suitable teacher is available and the pupil has a basic knowledge of Sami.

In 2010, after 14 years of negotiation, Laponiatjuottjudus, an association with Sami majority control, will govern the UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

 “Laponia
Laponian area
The Laponian area is a large mountainous wildlife area in the Lapland province in Northern Sweden, more precisely in the Gällivare Municipality, Arjeplog Municipality and Jokkmokk Municipality...

.” The reindeer herding law will apply as in the area as well.

In 1998 Sweden formally apologized for the wrongs committed against the Sami.

Finland



The act establishing the Finnish Sami Parliament (Finnish: Saamelaiskäräjät) was passed on November 9, 1973.
Finland recognized the Sami as a ‘people’ in 1995, but they have yet to ratify ILO Convention 169 Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples.
Finland ratified the 1966 U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights though several cases brought before the U.N. Human Rights Committee. Of those, 36 cases involved a determination of the rights of individual Sami in Finland and Sweden. The Committee decisions clarify that Sami are members of a minority within the meaning of Article 27 and that deprivation or erosion of their rights to practice traditional activities which are an essential element of their culture do come within the scope of Article 27. The case of J. Lansman versus Finland concerned a challenge by Sami reindeer herders in northern Finland to plans of the Finnish Central Forestry Board to approve logging and construction of roads in an area used by the Herdsmen as winter pasture and spring calving grounds.

Sami have had some access to Sami language instruction (in some schools) since 1970s, and language rights were established in 1992. There are three Sami languages spoken in Finland: North Sami, Skolt Sami and Inari Sami. Of these languages, Inari Sami, which is spoken by about 350 speakers, is the only one that is used entirely within borders of Finland, mainly in the municipality of Inari.

Finland has denied any aboriginal rights or land rights to the Sami people, in Finland non-Sami can herd reindeer as well.

Russia


Russia has not adopted the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, C169. The inhabitants of the Kola tundra were forcably relocated to Kolkhoz'es
Kolkhoz
A kolkhoz , plural kolkhozy, was a form of collective farming in the Soviet Union that existed along with state farms . The word is a contraction of коллекти́вное хозя́йство, or "collective farm", while sovkhoz is a contraction of советское хозяйство...

 (collective communities) by the state, most Saami are in one kolkhoz'es at Lujávri (Lovozero
Lovozero
Lovozero may refer to:*Lovozero Massif, a mountain range in the center of Kola Peninsula, Russia*Lake Lovozero, a lake in Murmansk Oblast, Russia*Lovozero , a rural locality in Murmansk Oblast, Russia...

).

1822 Statute of Administration of Non-Russians in Siberia asserted state ownership over all the land in Siberia and then "granted" possessory rights to the natives. Governance of indigenous groups, and especially collection of taxes from them, necessitated protection of indigenous peoples against exploitation by traders and settlers.

1993 Constitution. Article 69 states, "The Russian Federation guarantees the rights of small indigenous peoples in accordance with the generally accepted principles and standards of international law and international treaties of the Russian Federation." For the first time in Russia, the rights of indigenous minorities were established in the 1993 Constitution.

The Russian Federation ratified the 1966 U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Section 2 explicitly forbids depriving a people of "its own means of subsistence." the Russian parliament (Duma) has adopted partial measures to implement it.

The Russian Federation lists distinct indigenous peoples as having special rights and protections under the Constitution and federal laws and decrees. These rights are linked to the category known since Soviet times as the 'malochislennye narody' ("small-numbered peoples"), a term that is often translated as "indigenous minorities" which include arctic peoples such as the Sami, Nenets
Nenets people
The Nenets are an indigenous people in Russia. According to the latest census in 2002, there are 41,302 Nenets in the Russian Federation, most of them living in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug and Nenets Autonomous Okrug...

, Evenki
Evenks
The Evenks are a Tungusic people of Northern Asia. In Russia, the Evenks are recognized as one of the Indigenous peoples of the Russian North, with a population of 35,527...

, and Chukchi
Chukchi people
The Chukchi, or Chukchee , ) are an indigenous people inhabiting the Chukchi Peninsula and the shores of the Chukchi Sea and the Bering Sea region of the Arctic Ocean within the Russian Federation. They speak the Chukchi language...

.

In April 1999, the Russian Duma passed a law that guarantees socio-economic and cultural development to all indigenous minorities protecting traditional living places and acknowledging some form of limited ownership of territories that have traditionally been used for hunting, herding, fishing, and gathering activities. The law, however, does not anticipate the transfer of title in fee simple to indigenous minorities. The law does not recognize development rights, some proprietary rights including compensation for damage to the property, and limited exclusionary rights. It is not clear, however, whether protection of nature in the traditional places of inhabitation implies a right to exclude conflicting uses that are destructive to nature or whether they have the right to veto development.

The Russian Federation's Land Code reinforces the rights of numerically small peoples ("indigenous minorities") to use places they inhabit and to continue traditional economic activities without being charged rent. Such lands cannot be allocated for unrelated activities (which might include oil, gas, and mineral development or tourism) without the consent of the indigenous peoples. Furthermore, indigenous minorities and ethnic groups are allowed to use environmentally protected lands and lands set aside as nature preserves to engage in their traditional modes of land use.

Regional law, Code of the Murmansk Oblast
Murmansk Oblast
Murmansk Oblast is a federal subject of Russia , located in the northwestern part of Russia. Its administrative center is the city of Murmansk.-Geography:...

, calls on the organs of state power of the oblast to facilitate the Native peoples of the Kola North, specifically naming the Sami, "in realization of their rights for preservation and development of their native language, national culture, traditions and customs." The third section of Article 21 states: "In historically established areas of habitation, Sami enjoy the rights for traditional use of nature and [traditional] activities."
Throughout the Russian North, indigenous and local people are being denied rights to fish, hunt, use pastureland, or exercise control over resources upon which they and their ancestors have depended for centuries. The failure to protect indigenous ways, however, stems not from inadequacy of the written law, but rather from the failure to implement existing laws. Unfortunately, violations of the rights of indigenous peoples continue, and oil, gas, and mineral development, and other activities (mining, timber cutting, commercial fishing, and tourism) that bring foreign currency into the Russian economy prevail over the rule of law.
The life ways and economy of indigenous peoples of the Russian North are based upon reindeer herding, fishing, terrestrial and sea mammal hunting, and trapping. Many groups in the Russian Arctic are semi-nomadic moving seasonally to different hunting and fishing camps. These groups depend upon different types of environment at differing times of the year, rather than upon exploiting a single commodity to exhaustion. Throughout northwestern Siberia, oil and gas development has disturbed pastureland and undermined the ability of indigenous peoples to continue hunting, fishing, trapping, and herding activities. Roads constructed in connection with oil and gas exploration and development destroy and degrade pastureland, ancestral burial grounds, and sacred sites, and increase hunting by oil workers on the territory used by indigenous peoples.
In the Sami homeland on the Kola Peninsula in northwestern Russia, regional authorities closed a fifty mile (eighty kilometer) stretch of the Ponoi River (and other rivers) to local fishing and granted exclusive fishing rights to a commercial company offering catch-and-release fishing to sport fishers largely from abroad. This deprived the local Sami (see Article 21 of the Code of the Murmansk Oblast) of food for their families and community and of their traditional economic livelihood. Thus, closing the fishery to locals may have violated the test articulated by the U.N. Human Rights Committee, disregarded the Land Code, other legislative acts, and the 1992 Presidential decree. Sami are not only forbidden to fish in the eighty kilometer stretch leased to the Ponoi River Company but are also required by regional laws to pay for licenses to catch a limited number of fish outside the lease area. Residents of remote communities have neither the power nor the resources to demand enforcement of their rights. Here and elsewhere in the circumpolar north, the failure to apply laws for the protection of indigenous peoples leads to "criminalization" of local indigenous populations who cannot survive without "poaching" resources that should be accessible to them legally.

Although indigenous leaders in Russia have occasionally asserted indigenous rights to land and resources, to date there has been no serious or sustained discussion of indigenous group rights to ownership of land.

Nordic


On 16 November 2005 in Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

, a group of experts, led by former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Norway Professor Carsten Smith, submitted a proposal for a Nordic Sami Convention to the annual joint meeting of the Ministers responsible for Sami affairs in Finland, Norway and Sweden and the Presidents of the three Sami Parliaments from the respective countries. This convention recognizes the Sami as one indigenous people residing across national borders in all three countries. A set of minimum standards is proposed for the rights of developing the Sami language, culture, rights to land and water, livelihoods and society. The convention has not yet been ratified in the Nordic countries.

Sápmi


Sápmi is the name of the cultural region traditionally inhabited by the Sami people. Non-Sami and many regional maps have often called this same region Lapland as there is considerable regional overlap between the two terms. Lapland can be either misleading, offensive, or both, depending on the context and where this word is used to the Sami. Among the Sami people Sápmi is strictly used and acceptable.

Sápmi is located in Northern Europe and includes the northern parts of Fennoscandia
Fennoscandia
Fennoscandia and Fenno-Scandinavia are geographic and geological terms used to describe the Scandinavian Peninsula, the Kola Peninsula, Karelia and Finland...

 and spans four countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia.

Area


There is no official geographic definition for the boundaries of Sápmi. However, the following counties and provinces are usually included:
  • Dalarnas Län
    Dalarna County
    Dalarna County is a county or län in middle Sweden. It borders the counties of Jämtland, Gävleborg, Västmanland, Örebro and Värmland. It is also bordered by the Norwegian counties of Hedmark and Sør-Trøndelag in the west...

     county in Sweden
  • Finnmark
    Finnmark
    or Finnmárku is a county in the extreme northeast of Norway. By land it borders Troms county to the west, Finland to the south and Russia to the east, and by water, the Norwegian Sea to the northwest, and the Barents Sea to the north and northeast.The county was formerly known as Finmarkens...

     county in Norway
  • Jämtlands Län
    Jämtland County
    Jämtland County is a county or län in the middle of Sweden consisting of the provinces of Jämtland and Härjedalen, along with minor parts of Hälsingland and Ångermanland, plus two tiny uninhabited strips of Lapland and Dalarna. Jämtland County constitutes 12 percent of Sweden's total area, and is...

     county in Sweden
  • Lapland Region in Finland
  • Murmansk
    Murmansk Oblast
    Murmansk Oblast is a federal subject of Russia , located in the northwestern part of Russia. Its administrative center is the city of Murmansk.-Geography:...

     oblast in Russia
  • Nord-Trøndelag
    Nord-Trøndelag
    is a county constituting the northern part of Trøndelag in Norway. As of 2010, the county had 131,555 inhabitants, making it the country's fourth-least populated county. The largest municipalities are Stjørdal, Steinkjer—the county seat, Levanger, Namsos and Verdal, all with between 21,000 and...

     county in Norway
  • Nordland
    Nordland
    is a county in Norway in the North Norway region, bordering Troms in the north, Nord-Trøndelag in the south, Norrbottens län in Sweden to the east, Västerbottens län to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The county was formerly known as Nordlandene amt. The county administration is...

     county in Norway
  • Norrbottens Län
    Norrbotten County
    Norrbotten County is the northernmost county or län of Sweden. It borders Västerbotten County to the southwest, the Gulf of Bothnia to the southeast. It also borders the counties of Nordland and Troms in Norway to the northwest, and Lapland Province in Finland to the northeast.The name...

     county in Sweden
  • Troms
    Troms
    or Romsa is a county in North Norway, bordering Finnmark to the northeast and Nordland in the southwest. To the south is Norrbotten Län in Sweden and further southeast is a shorter border with Lapland Province in Finland. To the west is the Norwegian Sea...

     county in Norway
  • Västerbottens Län
    Västerbotten County
    Västerbotten County is a county or län in the north of Sweden. It borders the counties of Västernorrland, Jämtland, and Norrbotten, as well as the Norwegian county of Nordland and the Gulf of Bothnia.- Provinces :...

     county in Sweden


The municipalities of Gällivare
Gällivare
Gällivare is a locality and the seat of Gällivare Municipality in Norrbotten County, Sweden with 8,480 inhabitants in 2005. The town was founded in the 17th century...

, Jokkmokk
Jokkmokk
Jokkmokk is a locality and the seat of Jokkmokk Municipality in Norrbotten County, Sweden with 2,976 inhabitants in 2005. The Sámi name of the place means "River's Curve", due to the meandering river that runs through it...

 and Arjeplog
Arjeplog
Arjeplog is a locality and the seat of Arjeplog Municipality in Norrbotten County, Sweden with 1,947 inhabitants in 2005.It is a popular winter test site for the European car industry....

 in Swedish Lappland were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

 in 1996 as a “Laponian Area”.

The Sami Domicile Area
Sami Domicile Area
The Sami native region of Finland is the northernmost part of the Lapland Province in Finland, home of approximately half of Finland's Sami population...

 in Finland consists of the municipalities of Enontekiö
Enontekiö
Enontekiö is a municipality in the Finnish part of Lapland with approx. inhabitants. It is situated in the outermost northwest of the country and occupies a large and very sparsely populated area of about between the Swedish and Norwegian border...

, Utsjoki
Utsjoki
Utsjoki is a municipality in Finland. It is located in Lapland and borders Norway as well as the municipality of Inari. The municipality was founded in 1876. It has a population of and covers an area of ofwhich is water. The population density is....

 and Inari
Inari, Finland
Inari is Finland's largest, sparsely populated municipality with four official languages, more than any other in the country. Its major sources of income are lumber industry and nature maintenance. With the museum Siida in the village of Inari, it is a center of Sami culture...

 as well as a part of the municipality of Sodankylä
Sodankylä
-Twin towns: Kola, Russia, since 1968 Berlevåg, Norway, since 1971 Norsjö, Sweden, since 1977 Heiligenblut, Austria, since 1979-External links:* – Official website* * * * * *...

.

Important Sami towns


The following towns and villages have a significant Sami population or host Sami institutions (Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish or Russian name in parenthesis):
  • Aanaar, Anár, or, Aanar
    Inari, Finland
    Inari is Finland's largest, sparsely populated municipality with four official languages, more than any other in the country. Its major sources of income are lumber industry and nature maintenance. With the museum Siida in the village of Inari, it is a center of Sami culture...

     (Inari), is the location of the Finnish Sami Parliament
    Sami Parliament of Finland
    The Sami Parliament of Finland is the representative body for people of Sami heritage in Finland. The parliament consists of 21 elected mandates...

    , Sajos Sámi Cultural Centre, SAKK - Saamelaisalueen koulutuskeskus (Sámi Education Institute), Anarâškielâ servi
    Anarâškielâ servi
    Anarâškielâ servi is a Sámi association from Inari, Finland. The association was founded in the auditorium of the Ivalo Hotel in Ivalo on December 4, 1986 by Veikko Aikio, Ilmari Mattus and Matti Morottaja....

     (Inari Sámi Language Association), and the Inari Sami Siida Museum.
    Siida (museum)
    Siida is a museum located on Lake Inari in the village of Inari in Inari, Finland. It is home to the Sámi Museum and Northern Lapland Nature Centre. Siida arranges exhibitions on Sámi culture and the nature of Northern Lapland. In addition, Siida has an open-air museum open in the summers, which...

  • Aarborte
    Hattfjelldal
    Hattfjelldal is a municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the Helgeland traditional region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Hattfjelldal. Other villages include Grubben, Svenskvollen, and Varntresk...

     (Hattfjelldal ) is a southern Sami center with a southern-Sami language school and a Sami culture center.
  • Arjepluovve
    Arjeplog
    Arjeplog is a locality and the seat of Arjeplog Municipality in Norrbotten County, Sweden with 1,947 inhabitants in 2005.It is a popular winter test site for the European car industry....

     (Arjeplog).
  • Deatnu (Tana) has a significant Sami population.
  • Divtasvuodna
    Tysfjord
    Tysfjord or Divtasvuodna is a municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the Ofoten traditional region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Kjøpsvik...

     (Tysfjord) is a center for the Lule-Sami population. The Árran
    Árran
    Árran is the Lule Sámi Center in the village of Drag in Tysfjord, Norway. The purpose of the center is to foster and promote the Lule Sámi language and culture, which it does by arranging on-site and videoconference courses in Lule Sámi, publishing books and doing research. The center has a museum,...

     Lule-Sami center is located here.
  • Gáivuotna (Kåfjord, Troms) is an important center for the Sea-Sami culture. Each summer the Riddu Riđđu festival is held in Gáivuotna. The municipality has a Sami language center, and hosts the Ája Sami Center. The opposition against Sami language and culture revitalization in Gáivuotna was infamous in the late 1990s and included Sami language road signs being shot to pieces repeatedly.
  • Giron
    Kiruna
    Kiruna is the northernmost city in Sweden, situated in Lapland province, with 18,154 inhabitants in 2005. It is the seat of Kiruna Municipality Kiruna (Northern Sami: Giron, Finnish: Kiiruna) is the northernmost city in Sweden, situated in Lapland province, with 18,154 inhabitants in 2005. It is...

     (Kiruna), proposed seat of the Swedish Sami Parliament.
  • Guovdageaidnu (Kautokeino) is the perhaps the cultural capital of the Sami. About 90% of the population speak Sami. Several Sami institutions are located in Kautokeino including: Beaivváš Sámi Theatre
    Beaivváš Sámi Theatre
    Beaivváš Sámi Theatre is a Norwegian theatre that uses Sami language as its performing language...

    , a Sami High School and Reindeer Herding School, the Sami University College
    Sámi University College
    Sámi University College was established in 1989 and has about 150 students and 52 faculty, technical and administrative staff. It is one of 25 Norwegian state university colleges and located in Kautokeino....

    , the Nordic Sami Research Institute
    Nordic Sámi Institute
    The Nordic Sami Institute is a research institution located at Guovdageaidnu in Norway. It is affiliated to Sámi University College. The mission of the institute is to strengthen and develop Sami languages, culture and social life...

    , Sami language board, the Resource Centre for the Rights of Indigenous People, and International Centre For Reindeer Husbandry. In addition, several Sami media are located in Kautokeino including the Sami language Áššu
    Áššu
    Áššu was a Northern Sámi language newspaper published twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, in Guovdageaidnu. It was distributed in an area that stretches across Norway, Sweden and Finland. The newspaper was published by Aviisa AS, owned itself by Nordavis AS, with a 35.0% share)...

     newspaper, and the DAT Sami publishing house and record company. Kautokeino also hosts the Sami Easter Festival which includes the Sami Grand Prix 2010 (Sami Musicfestival), and the Reindeer Racing World Cup. The Kautokeino rebellion in 1852 is one of the few Sami rebellions against the Norwegian governments oppression against the Sami.
  • Iänudâh or Eanodat
    Enontekiö
    Enontekiö is a municipality in the Finnish part of Lapland with approx. inhabitants. It is situated in the outermost northwest of the country and occupies a large and very sparsely populated area of about between the Swedish and Norwegian border...

     (Enontekiö).
  • Jiellevárri or Váhčir
    Gällivare
    Gällivare is a locality and the seat of Gällivare Municipality in Norrbotten County, Sweden with 8,480 inhabitants in 2005. The town was founded in the 17th century...

     (Gällivare)


  • Johkamohki
    Jokkmokk
    Jokkmokk is a locality and the seat of Jokkmokk Municipality in Norrbotten County, Sweden with 2,976 inhabitants in 2005. The Sámi name of the place means "River's Curve", due to the meandering river that runs through it...

     (Jokkmokk) holds a Sami market held the first weekend every February, and has a Sami school for language and traditional knowledge called Samij Åhpadusguovdásj.
  • Kárášjohka
    Karasjohka
    Karasjohka river joins Anarjohka downstream of Karigasniemi and forms the famous salmon fishing Tana river . Karasjok municipality in Finnmark, Norway is situated along the upper river basin of the Deatnu / Tana river, and its tributaries Anarjohka and Karasjohka, and includes large tracts of the...

     (Karasjok) is the seat of the Norwegian Sami Parliament. Also other important Sami institutions are located in Kárášjohka, including NRK Sami Radio
    NRK Sámi Radio
    NRK Sápmi is a Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation unit that produces radio, television, and Internet news and other programs for the Sámi people. The first radio news program in Sami language started in 1946 in Tromsø with Katrine Johnsen as the host...

    , the Sami Collections museum, the Sami Art Centre, the Sami Specialist Library, Mid-Finnmark legal office, inner Finnmark Child and Youth Psychiatric Policlinic, the Sami Specialist Medical Centre, and the Sami health research institute. In addition the Sápmi cultural park is in the township, and the Sami language Min Áigi
    Min Áigi
    Min Áigi is a Northern Sámi language newspaper which is published in Kárášjohka in Norway twice a week. Min Áigi is a continuation of the Sámi newspaper Sámi Áigi, which went bankrupt in 1989. The first issue of Min Áigi was published on 22 May 1993...

     newspaper is published here.
  • Leavdnja (Lakselv) in Porsáŋgu
    Porsanger
    Porsanger or Porsáŋgu or Porsanki is a municipality in Finnmark county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Lakselv...

     (Porsanger) municipality is the location of the Finnmark Estate, and the Ságat
    Ságat
    Ságat is a Sámi newspaper written in Norwegian that is published in the county of Finnmark in Norway with a circulation of 2,717 ...

     Sami newspaper. The Finnmarkseiendommen organization owns and manages about 95% of the land in Finnmark, and 50% of its board members are elected by the Norwegian Sami Parliament.
  • Lujavvʼr (Lovozero)
  • Luvlieluspie
    Östersund
    Östersund is an urban area in Jämtland in the middle of Sweden. It is the seat of Östersund Municipality and the capital of Jämtland County. Östersund is located at the shores of Sweden's fifth largest lake, Storsjön, opposite the island Frösön, and is the only city in Jämtland. Östersund is the...

     (Östersund) is the center for the Southern Sami
    Southern Sami
    Southern Sami is the southwestern-most of the Sami languages. It is a seriously endangered language; the last strongholds of this language are the municipalities of Snåsa and Hattfjelldal in Norway...

     people living in Sweden. It is the site for Gaaltije – centre for South Sami culture – a living source of knowledge for South Sami culture, history and business. Luvlieluspie also hosts the Sami Information Centre and one of the offices to the Sami Parliament in Sweden.
  • Ohcejohka
    Utsjoki
    Utsjoki is a municipality in Finland. It is located in Lapland and borders Norway as well as the municipality of Inari. The municipality was founded in 1876. It has a population of and covers an area of ofwhich is water. The population density is....

     (Utsjoki).
  • Snåase
    Snåsa
    Snåsa is a municipality in Nord-Trøndelag county, Norway. It is part of the Innherred region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Snåsa. Other villages include Agle and Jørstad....

     (Snåsa) is a center for the Southern Sami language, and the only municipality in Norway where Southern Sami is an official language. The Saemien Sijte southern Sami museum is located in Snåase.
  • Unjárga (Nesseby) is an important center for the sea-Sami culture. It is also the site for the Várjjat Sámi Museum and the Norwegian Sami Parliament's department of culture and environment. The first Sami to be elected into the Norwegian Parliament, Isak Saba
    Isak Saba
    Isak Mikal Saba was a Sami teacher and politician. On October 11, 1906, he became the first Sami to be elected to the Stortinget, and he was the representative of Finnmark for the Norwegian Labour Party from 1907 to 1912.Isak Saba wrote the text to Sámi soga lávlla, which the Sami Conference made...

    , was born there.

Demographics





In the geographical area composing Sápmi the Sami are a small population. According to some estimated the total Sami population is about 70,000. One problem when attempting to find out how many Sámi there are is that, there are few common criteria of what 'being a Sámi' constitutes. There are several Sámi languages and additional dialects beyond that as well, and there are several areas in Sapmi where few of the Sami speak their native language
Sami languages
Sami or Saami is a general name for a group of Uralic languages spoken by the Sami people in parts of northern Finland, Norway, Sweden and extreme northwestern Russia, in Northern Europe. Sami is frequently and erroneously believed to be a single language. Several names are used for the Sami...

 due to the forced cultural assimilation, but still consider themselves Sami. Other identity markers are kinship
Kinship
Kinship is a relationship between any entities that share a genealogical origin, through either biological, cultural, or historical descent. And descent groups, lineages, etc. are treated in their own subsections....

 (which can be said to, at some level or other, be of high importance for all Sámi), the geographical region of Sápmi where their family came from, and/or protecting or preserving certain aspects of Sami culture.

All the Nordic Sámi Parliaments have included as the "core" criterion for registering as a Sámi the identity
Cultural identity
Cultural identity is the identity of a group or culture, or of an individual as far as one is influenced by one's belonging to a group or culture. Cultural identity is similar to and has overlaps with, but is not synonymous with, identity politics....

 in itself – you must declare that you truly consider yourself a Sámi. Objective criteria vary, but are generally related to kinship and/or language.

Still, the cultural assimilation
Cultural assimilation
Cultural assimilation is a socio-political response to demographic multi-ethnicity that supports or promotes the assimilation of ethnic minorities into the dominant culture. The term assimilation is often used with regard to immigrants and various ethnic groups who have settled in a new land. New...

 of the Sami people that had occurred in the four countries over the centuries, population estimates are difficult to precisely measure. The population has been estimated to be between 80,000 and 135,000 across the whole Nordic region, including urban areas such as Oslo
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

, Norway, traditionally considered outside Sápmi. The Norwegian state recognizes any Norwegian as Sámi if he or she has one great-grandparent whose home language was Sámi, but there is not, and has never been, any registration of the home language spoken by Norwegian people.

Roughly half of all Sámi live in Norway, but many live in Sweden with smaller groups live in the far north of Finland and the Kola Peninsula
Kola Peninsula
The Kola Peninsula is a peninsula in the far northwest of Russia. Constituting the bulk of the territory of Murmansk Oblast, it lies almost completely to the north of the Arctic Circle and is washed by the Barents Sea in the north and the White Sea in the east and southeast...

 of Russia. The Sámi in Russia were forced by the Soviet authorities to relocate to a collective called Lovozero/Lujávri, in the central part of the Kola Peninsula.

Division by geography


Sápmi is traditionally divided into:
  • Eastern Sami (Kola peninsula, eastern Norway and Finland Sami regions)
  • Northern Sápmi (most of northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland)
  • Luleå Sápmi (Luleå river valley area)
  • Southern Sápmi (southern Sweden and Norway Sami area)


It should also be noted that many Sami now live outside Sápmi, in large cities such as Oslo
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

 in Norway.

Division by language



Below is a division based on Sami language (the numbers are the estimated number of speakers of each language):
  • Davvisámegiella (Northern Sami
    Northern Sami
    Northern or North Sami is the most widely spoken of all Sami languages. The speaking area of Northern Sami covers the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland...

    ): 15 000
  • Julevsámegiella (Lule Sami
    Lule Sami
    Lule Sami is a Uralic, Sami language spoken in Lule Lappmark, i.e., around Luleå, Sweden and in the northern parts of Nordland county in Norway, especially Tysfjord municipality, where Lule Sami is an official language...

    ) 1 500
  • самь кӣлл (Kildin Sami): 650
  • Nuõrttsää’m (Skolt Sami
    Skolt Sami
    Skolt Sami is a Uralic, Sami language spoken by approximately 400 speakers in Finland, mainly in Sevettijärvi, and approximately 20–30 speakers of the Njuõˊttjäuˊrr dialect in an area surrounding Lake Lovozero in Russia. Skolt Sami used to also be spoken on the Neiden area of Norway,...

    ): 500
  • Lullisámegiella (Southern Sami
    Southern Sami
    Southern Sami is the southwestern-most of the Sami languages. It is a seriously endangered language; the last strongholds of this language are the municipalities of Snåsa and Hattfjelldal in Norway...

    ): 500
  • Anarâškielâ (Inari Sami): 300
  • Ter Sami
    Ter Sami
    Ter Sami is the easternmost of the Sami languages. It was traditionally spoken in the northeastern part of the Kola Peninsula, but now it is a moribund language; in 2004, only ten speakers were left...

    : 2
  • Ume Sami
    Ume Sami
    Ume Sami is a Sami language spoken in Sweden and Norway. It is a dying language with only about 10 native speakers left and is spoken mainly along the Ume River in the north of Arjeplog and Arvidsjaur.- Consonant gradation :...

    : <20
  • Pite Sami
    Pite Sami
    Pite Sami, also known as Arjeplog Sami, is a Sami language traditionally spoken in Sweden and Norway. It is a critically endangered language that has only about 25–50 native speakers left and is now only spoken on the Swedish side of the border along the Pite River in the north of Arjeplog...

    : <20

There are also two extinct Sami languages Kemi Sami
Kemi Sami
Kemi Sami is a Sami language that was originally spoken in the southernmost district of Finnish Lapland as far south as the Sami siidas around Kuusamo...

 and Akkala Sami
Akkala Sami
Akkala Sami is a Sami language that was spoken in the Sami villages of A´kkel and Ču´kksuâl, in the inland parts of the Kola Peninsula in Russia...

.

Note that many Sami do not speak any of the Sami languages any more due to historical assimilation policies, so the number of Sami living in each area is much higher.

As with many indigenous languages, all Sami languages are at some degree of endangerment, ranging from what UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 defines as "definitely endangered" to "critically endangered" (and even "extinct").

Division by occupation


A division often used Northern Sami is based on occupation and the area of living. This division is also used in many historical texts:
  • Non-reindeer Sami not living by the sea (in Northern Sami dalon). Non-nomadic Sami. Is now probably the largest group of Sami.
  • Reindeer Sami (in Northern Sami boazosapmelaš or badjeolmmoš). Previously nomadic Sami living as reindeer herders. Still used about reindeer herders, but most have a permanent residence in the Sami core areas. Some 10% of Sami practice reindeer herding, which is seen as a fundamental part of a Sami culture and in some parts of Nordic countries can only be practiced by Samis.
  • Sea Sami (in Northern Sami mearasapmelaš). These lived traditionally by combining fishing and small scale farming. Today often used about all Sami from the coast regardless of their occupation.


Historical texts often divide the Sami into: Forest Sami, Mountain Sami, River Sami, and Eastern Sami.

Division by country


According to the Swedish Sami parliament, the Sami population of Norway is 40,000. If all people who speak Sami or have a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent who speaks or spoke Sami are included, the number reaches 70,000. As of 2005, 12,538 people were registered to vote in the election for the Sami parliament in Norway. The bulk of the Sami live in Finnmark and Northern Troms
Troms
or Romsa is a county in North Norway, bordering Finnmark to the northeast and Nordland in the southwest. To the south is Norrbotten Län in Sweden and further southeast is a shorter border with Lapland Province in Finland. To the west is the Norwegian Sea...

, but there are also Sami populations in Southern Troms, Nordland
Nordland
is a county in Norway in the North Norway region, bordering Troms in the north, Nord-Trøndelag in the south, Norrbottens län in Sweden to the east, Västerbottens län to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The county was formerly known as Nordlandene amt. The county administration is...

 and Trøndelag
Trøndelag
Trøndelag is the name of a geographical region in the central part of Norway, consisting of the two counties Nord-Trøndelag and Sør-Trøndelag. The region is, together with Møre og Romsdal, part of a larger...

. Due to recent migration it has also been claimed that Oslo
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

 is the municipality with the largest Sami population. The Sami are in a majority only in the municipalities of Guovdageaidnu-Kautokeino
Kautokeino
or Guovdageaidnu , is a municipality in Finnmark county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Guovdageaidnu/Kautokeino...

, Karasjohka-Karasjok
Karasjok
Kárášjohka or is a village and municipality in Finnmark county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Karasjok.-Name:Karasjok is a Norwegianized form of the Sámi name Kárášjohka...

, Porsanger
Porsanger
Porsanger or Porsáŋgu or Porsanki is a municipality in Finnmark county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Lakselv...

, Deatnu - Tana and Unjargga-Nesseby
Nesseby
Unjárga or Nesseby is a municipality in Finnmark county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Varangerbotn....

 in Finnmark, and Gáivuotna (Kåfjord) in Northern Troms. This area is also known as the Sami core area. Sami and Norwegian are equal as administrative languages in this area.

According to the Swedish Sami parliament, the Sami population of Sweden is about 20,000.

According to the Finnish Population Registry Center and the Finnish Sami parliament, the Sami population living in Finland was 7,371 in 2003. As of 31 December 2006, only 1776 of them had registered to speak one of the Sami languages as the mother tongue.

According to the 2002 census, the Sami population of Russia was 1,991.

Since 1926 the number of identified Sami in Russia has gradually increased:
  • census 1926: 1,720 (this number refers to the total Soviet Union)
  • census 1939: 1,829
  • census 1959: 1,760
  • census 1970: 1,836
  • census 1979: 1,775
  • census 1989: 1,835
  • census 2002: 1,991

Sami Immigration outside of Sapmi


There are an estimated 30,000 people living in North America who are either Sami, or descendants of Sami. Most have settled in areas that are known to have Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish immigrants. Some of these concentrated areas are Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

, Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

, Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Upper Peninsula of Michigan
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is the northern of the two major land masses that make up the U.S. state of Michigan. It is commonly referred to as the Upper Peninsula, the U.P., or Upper Michigan. It is also known as the land "above the Bridge" linking the two peninsulas. The peninsula is bounded...

, Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, Washington, Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

 and Alaska; and throughout Canada, including the Canadian territories of the Northwest Territories
Northwest Territories
The Northwest Territories is a federal territory of Canada.Located in northern Canada, the territory borders Canada's two other territories, Yukon to the west and Nunavut to the east, and three provinces: British Columbia to the southwest, and Alberta and Saskatchewan to the south...

, Yukon
Yukon
Yukon is the westernmost and smallest of Canada's three federal territories. It was named after the Yukon River. The word Yukon means "Great River" in Gwich’in....

, and the territory now known as Nunavut
Nunavut
Nunavut is the largest and newest federal territory of Canada; it was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, via the Nunavut Act and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act, though the actual boundaries had been established in 1993...

.

Descendants of these Sami immigrants typically know little of their heritage because their ancestors purposely hid their indigenous culture to avoid discrimination from the dominating Scandinavian or Nordic culture. Though some of these Sami are diaspora that moved to North America in order to escape assimilation policies in their home countries, many continued to downplay their Sami culture in an internalization of Colonial viewpoints about indigenous peoples, and in order for them to try to blend into their respective Nordic cultures. There were also several Sami families that were brought to North America with herds of reindeer by the U.S. and Canadian governments as part of the "Reindeer Project" designed teach the Inuit about reindeer herding.

Some of these Sami immigrants, descendants of immigrants, are members of the Sami Siida of North America
Sami Siida of North America
The Sami Siida of North America is a loosely organized group of regional communities, primarily in Canada and the United States, who share the Sami culture and heritage from northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. This area, traditionally known as Sápmi or Samiland to...

.

Organization


Sápmi demonstrates a distinct semi-national identity that transcends the borders between Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. There is no movement for complete autonomy.

Sami Parliaments


The Sami Parliaments (Sámediggi in Northern Sami
Northern Sami
Northern or North Sami is the most widely spoken of all Sami languages. The speaking area of Northern Sami covers the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland...

, Sämitigge in Inari Sami, in Skolt Sami
Skolt Sami
Skolt Sami is a Uralic, Sami language spoken by approximately 400 speakers in Finland, mainly in Sevettijärvi, and approximately 20–30 speakers of the Njuõˊttjäuˊrr dialect in an area surrounding Lake Lovozero in Russia. Skolt Sami used to also be spoken on the Neiden area of Norway,...

) founded in Finland (1973), Norway (1989) and Sweden (1993) are the representative bodies for peoples of Sami heritage. Russia has not recognized the Sami as a minority, and as a result recognizes no Sami Parliament. There is no single, unified Sami Parliament that span across the Nordic countries. Rather, each of the aforementioned three countries has set up their own separate legislatures for Sami people, even though the three Sami Parliaments often work together on cross-border issues. In all three countries, they act as an institution of cultural autonomy for the indigenous Sami people. The parliaments have very weak political influence, far from autonomy. They are formally public authorities, ruled by the Scandinavian governments, but have democratically elected parliamentarians, whose mission is to work for Sami People and culture. Candidate election promises often get into conflict with the institutions' submission under their governments. But as authorities, they have some influence over the government.

Norwegian organizations


The main organisations for Sami representation in Norway are the "siidas". They cover northern and central Norway.

Swedish organizations


The main organisations for Sami representation in Sweden are the "siidas". They cover northern and central Sweden.

Finnish organizations


In contrast to Norway and Sweden, in Finland, a "siida" (paliskunta in Finnish) is a reindeer-herding corporation that is not restricted by ethnicity. There are indeed some ethnic Finns who practice reindeer herding, and in principle, all residents of the reindeer herding area (most of Finnish Lapland and parts of Oulu province) who are citizens of EEA
European Economic Area
The European Economic Area was established on 1 January 1994 following an agreement between the member states of the European Free Trade Association and the European Community, later the European Union . Specifically, it allows Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to participate in the EU's Internal...

 countries, i.e. the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 and Norway, Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

 and Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked alpine country in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east. Its area is just over , and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz. The biggest town is Schaan...

, are allowed.

Russian organizations


Russian Reindeer Herders Union

In 2010, the Sami Council supported the establishment of a cultural center in Russia for Arctic Peoples. The Center for Northern folk aims to promote artistic and cultural cooperation between the arctic peoples of Russia and Norway / Nordic countries, with particular focus on indigenous peoples and minorities.

Border conflicts



Sápmi, the Sami traditional lands, cross four national borders. Traditional summer and winter pastures sometimes lie of different sides of the borders of the nation-states. In addition to that there is a border drawn for modern day Sápmi
Sapmi
Sapmi can refer to:* Nation of the Sami people* Sápmi , the area where the Sami people live in northern Europe* A Sami cultural park located in Kárášjohka...

. Where there is a border, and some state that the rights (for reindeer herding and in some parts even for fishing and hunting) include not only modern Sápmi but areas that are beyond today's Sápmi that reflect older territories. Today's "borders" originate from the 14th to 16th centuries when land-owning conflicts occurred. The establishment of more stable dwelling places and larger towns originates from the 16th century, and was performed for strategic defence and economic reasons, both by peoples from Sami groups themselves and more southern immigrants.

Owning land within the borders or being a member of a siida
Siida
The siida is a Sami local community that has existed from time immemorial. A siida , or a "reindeer pastoralistic district," is a Sami reindeer foraging area, a group for reindeer herding and a corporation working for the economic benefit of its members...

s
(Sami corporations) gives rights. A different law enacted in Sweden in the mid-1990s gave the right to anyone to fish and hunt in the region, something that was met with large skepticism and anger amongst the siidas.

Court proceedings have been common throughout history, and the aim from the Samic viewpoint is to reclaim territories used earlier in history. Due to a major defeat in 1996, one siida
Siida
The siida is a Sami local community that has existed from time immemorial. A siida , or a "reindeer pastoralistic district," is a Sami reindeer foraging area, a group for reindeer herding and a corporation working for the economic benefit of its members...

 has introduced a sponsorship "Reindeer Godfather" concept to raise funds for further battles in courts. These "internal conflicts" are usually conflicts between non-Sami land owners and Reindeer owners. Cases question the Sami ancient rights to reindeer pastures. In 2010, Sweden was criticized for its relations with the Sami in the Universal Periodic Review conducted by the Working Group of the Human Rights Council.

The question whether the fjeld's territory is owned by the governments (crown land) or by the Sami population is not answered.

From an indigenous perspective, people "belong to the land"- the land does not belong to people, but this does not mean that hunters, herders, and fishing people do not know where the borders of their territories are located as well as those of their neighbors.

National symbols


Although the Sami have considered themselves to be one people through history, the idea of Sápmi, a Sami nation
Nation
A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government irrespective of their ethnic make-up...

, first gained acceptance among the Sami in the 1970s, and even later among the majority population. During the 1980s and 1990s a flag was created, a national song was written, and the date of national day was settled.

Flag


The Sami flag was inaugurated during the Sami Conference in Åre
Åre
Åre is a locality and one of the leading Scandinavian ski resorts situated in Åre Municipality, Jämtland County, Sweden with 1,260 inhabitants in 2005. It is however, not the seat of the municipality, which is Järpen. 25% of the municipal industry is based on tourism, most notably the downhill...

, Sweden on 15 August 1986. It was the result of a competition for which many suggestions were entered. The winning design was submitted by the artist Astrid Båhl from Skibotn
Skibotn
Skibotn is a village with approximately 700 inhabitants in Storfjord municipality, located on the southeastern shore of the Lyngen Fjord in the Northern Norwegian county of Troms. The village area is located at the crossroads of the highways E6 and E8...

, Norway.

The motif (shown right) was derived from the shaman's drum and the poem "Paiven parneh" ("Sons of the Sun") by the south Sami Anders Fjellner describing the Sami as sons and daughters of the sun. The flag has the Sami colours, red, green, yellow and blue, and the circle represents the sun (red) and the moon (blue).

The Sami People´s Day


The Sami National Day falls on February 6 as this date was when the first Sami congress was held in 1917 in Trondheim
Trondheim
Trondheim , historically, Nidaros and Trondhjem, is a city and municipality in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway. With a population of 173,486, it is the third most populous municipality and city in the country, although the fourth largest metropolitan area. It is the administrative centre of...

, Norway. This congress was the first time that Norwegian and Swedish Sami came together across their national borders to work together to find solutions for common problems. The resolution for celebrating on 6 February was passed in 1992, at the 15th Sami congress in Helsinki. Since 1993 Norway, Sweden and Finland have recognized February 6 as Sami National Day.

Song of the Sami People


Sámi soga lávlla ("Song of the Sami People", lit. "Song of the Sami Family") was originally a poem written by Isak Saba
Isak Saba
Isak Mikal Saba was a Sami teacher and politician. On October 11, 1906, he became the first Sami to be elected to the Stortinget, and he was the representative of Finnmark for the Norwegian Labour Party from 1907 to 1912.Isak Saba wrote the text to Sámi soga lávlla, which the Sami Conference made...

 that was published in the newspaper Sagai Muittalægje
Sagai Muittalægje
Saǥai Muittalægje was a Sámi newspaper that was published from 1904 to 1911, for a total of 33 issues. The newspaper was founded by Anders Larsen...

 for the first time on 1 April 1906. In August 1986 it became the national anthem
National anthem
A national anthem is a generally patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions and struggles of its people, recognized either by a nation's government as the official national song, or by convention through use by the people.- History :Anthems rose to prominence...

 of the Sami. Arne Sørli set the poem to music, which was then approved at the 15th Sami Conference in Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

 in 1992. Sámi soga lávlla has been translated into all of the Sami languages
Sami languages
Sami or Saami is a general name for a group of Uralic languages spoken by the Sami people in parts of northern Finland, Norway, Sweden and extreme northwestern Russia, in Northern Europe. Sami is frequently and erroneously believed to be a single language. Several names are used for the Sami...

.

Religion



Widespread Shamanism
Shamanism
Shamanism is an anthropological term referencing a range of beliefs and practices regarding communication with the spiritual world. To quote Eliade: "A first definition of this complex phenomenon, and perhaps the least hazardous, will be: shamanism = technique of ecstasy." Shamanism encompasses the...

 persisted among the Sami up until the 18th century. Most Sami today belong to the state-run Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 churches of Norway, Sweden and Finland. Some Sami in Russia belong to the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

, and similarly, some Skolt Sami resettled in Finland are also part of an Eastern Orthodox congregation, with an additional small population in Norway.

Traditional Sami religion


Traditional Sami religion exhibited some diversity due to the wide area that is Sápmi
Sapmi
Sapmi can refer to:* Nation of the Sami people* Sápmi , the area where the Sami people live in northern Europe* A Sami cultural park located in Kárášjohka...

, allowing for the evolution of variations in beliefs and practices between tribes. The Old Beliefs are closely connected to the land, animism
Animism
Animism refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle....

, and the supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

. Sami spirituality is often characterized by pantheism
Pantheism
Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

, a strong emphasis on the importance of personal spirituality and its interconnectivity with one's own daily life, and a deep connection between the natural and spiritual 'worlds'. Among other roles, the Sami Shaman, or noaidi, enabled ritual communication with the supernatural through the use of tools such as drums, chants, and sacred objects. Some practices within the Old Sami religion included natural sacred sites such as mountains, springs, land formations, as well as man-made ones such as petroglyph
Petroglyph
Petroglyphs are pictogram and logogram images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, and abrading. Outside North America, scholars often use terms such as "carving", "engraving", or other descriptions of the technique to refer to such images...

s and labyrinth
Labyrinth
In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth was an elaborate structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos...

s.

Sami religion shared some elements with the Norse mythology
Norse mythology
Norse mythology, a subset of Germanic mythology, is the overall term for the myths, legends and beliefs about supernatural beings of Norse pagans. It flourished prior to the Christianization of Scandinavia, during the Early Middle Ages, and passed into Nordic folklore, with some aspects surviving...

, possibly from early contacts with trading Vikings (or vice versa). Through a mainly French initiative from Joseph Paul Gaimard
Joseph Paul Gaimard
Joseph Paul Gaimard was a French naval surgeon and naturalist.Along with Jean René Constant Quoy he served as naturalist on the ships L'Uranie under Louis de Freycinet 1817-1820, and L'Astrolabe under Jules Dumont d'Urville 1826-1829...

 as part of his La Recherche Expedition
La Recherche Expedition (1838–1840)
The La Recherche Expedition of 1838-1840 was a French Admiralty expedition whose destination was the North Atlantic and Scandinavian islands, including the Faroe Islands, Spitsbergen and Iceland....

, Lars Levi Læstadius
Lars Levi Læstadius
Lars Levi Læstadius was a Swedish Lutheran pastor of partly Sami ancestry. From the mid 1840s and onward he became the leader of the Laestadian movement...

 began research on Sami mythology. His work resulted in Fragments of Lappish Mythology
Fragments of Lappish Mythology
Fragments of Lappish Mythology is the detailed documented account of the Sami religious beliefs and mythology during the mid-19th century. It was written between 1838–1845 by Swedish minister Lars Levi Læstadius, but was not published until 1997 in Swedish, Finnish in 2000 and in English in 2002...

 since by his own admission they contained only a small percentage of what had existed. The fragments were termed Theory of Gods, Theory of Sacrifice, Theory of Prophecy, or short reports about rumorous Sami magic and Sami sagas. Generally, he claims to have filtered out the Norse influence and derived common elements between the South, North, and Eastern Sami groups. The mythology has common elements with other traditional indigenous religions as well — such as those in Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 and North America.


Missionary efforts


The term Sami religion usually refers to the traditional religion, practiced by most Sámi until approximately the 18th century. Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 was introduced by Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 missionaries as early as the 13th century. Increased pressure came after the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, and rune drum
Rune drum
The membrane-covered oval or circular rune drum played an important role in Sami ceremonies. It is generally used for the shamanistic Sami ceremonial drum. The term magic drum is an old judicial term for a rune drum in use from the 16th to the 19th century...

s were burned or sent to museums abroad. In this period, many Sami practiced their traditional religion at home, while going to church on Sunday. Since the Sami were considered to possess 'witchcraft' powers, they were often accused of sorcery during the 17th century and were the subjects of witchcraft trials and burnings.

In Norway, a major effort to convert the Sami was made around 1720, when Thomas von Westen, the 'Apostle of the Sami' burned drums and converted people. Out of the estimated thousands of drums prior to this period, only about 70 are known to remain today, scattered in museums around Europe. Sacred sites were destroyed such as sieidi (stones in natural or human-built formations), álda and sáivu (sacred hills), springs, caves and other natural formations where offerings were made.

In the far east of the Sami area, the Russian Monk Trifon converted the Sami in the 16th century. Today, the St. George's chapel in Neiden, Norway (1565) testifies to this effort.

Laestadius


The Swedish Sami vicar Lars Levi Læstadius
Lars Levi Læstadius
Lars Levi Læstadius was a Swedish Lutheran pastor of partly Sami ancestry. From the mid 1840s and onward he became the leader of the Laestadian movement...

 initiated a puritan Lutheran movement among the Sami around 1840. This movement is still very dominant in Sami speaking areas.

Neo-shamanism and Traditional Healing


Today, in addition to Sami who are wishing to return to traditional values, there are also some Sami that claim to be noaidi and offer their services, through newspaper advertisements, in new age-arrangements, or for tourist groups. These shamans are generally not viewed as part of an unbroken Sami religious tradition. They may be compared with neo-paganism.

An altogether more traditional religious idea is represented by the numerous "wise men" and "wise women" found throughout the Sami area. They often attempt to heal the sick through rituals, traditional medicines, and may also combine pre-Christian elements, such as teachings, with readings from the Bible.

Language


There is no single Sami language, but a group of ten distinct Sami languages
Sami languages
Sami or Saami is a general name for a group of Uralic languages spoken by the Sami people in parts of northern Finland, Norway, Sweden and extreme northwestern Russia, in Northern Europe. Sami is frequently and erroneously believed to be a single language. Several names are used for the Sami...

. Six of these languages have their own written standards. The Sami languages are relatively closely related, but not mutually intelligible; for instance, speakers of Southern Sami cannot understand Northern Sami. Especially earlier these distinct languages were referred to as "dialects", but today this is considered misleading due to the deep differences between the varieties. Most Sami languages are spoken in several countries, because linguistic borders do not correspond to national borders.

All Sami languages are endangered. This is due in part to historic laws prohibiting the use of Sami languages in schools and at home in Sweden and Norway. Sami language, and Sami song-chants, called yoiks, were illegal in Norway from 1773 until 1958. Then access to Sami instruction as part of schooling was not available until 1988. Special residential schools that would assimilate the Sami into the dominant culture were established. These were originally run by missionaries, but later the control of the schools came under the control of the governments. For example, in Russia, Sami children were taken away when aged 1–2 and returned when aged 15–17 with no knowledge of their language and traditional communities. Not all Sami viewed the schools negatively, and not all the schools were brutal. However, being taken from home and prohibited from speaking Sami has resulted in cultural alienation, loss of language, and lowered self-esteem.

The Sami languages belong to the Uralic
Uralic languages
The Uralic languages constitute a language family of some three dozen languages spoken by approximately 25 million people. The healthiest Uralic languages in terms of the number of native speakers are Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Mari and Udmurt...

 language family, linguistically related to Finnish, Estonian
Estonian language
Estonian is the official language of Estonia, spoken by about 1.1 million people in Estonia and tens of thousands in various émigré communities...

, and Hungarian. Due to prolonged contact and import of items foreign to Sami culture from neighboring Scandinavians, there are a number of Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 loanwords in Sami, particularly for "urban" objects. The majority of the Sami now speak the majority languages of the countries they live in, i.e. Swedish, Russian, Finnish and Norwegian. Efforts are being made to further the use of Sami language among Sami and persons of Sami origin. Despite these changes, the legacy of cultural repression still exists. Many older Sami still refuse to speak Sami. In addition, Sami parents still feel alienated from schools, and hence do not participate as much as they could in shaping school curricula and policy.

In Norway the name of the language and the people is often spelled Saami, in Finland the name of the language is spelled Saame and the name of the people Saamelainen.

Genetic studies



Anthropologists have been studying the Sami people for hundreds of years for their assumed physical and cultural differences from the rest of Europeans. Recent genetic studies
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 have indicated that the two most frequent maternal lineage
Mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA is the DNA located in organelles called mitochondria, structures within eukaryotic cells that convert the chemical energy from food into a form that cells can use, adenosine triphosphate...

s of the Sámi people are the haplogroups V
Haplogroup V (mtDNA)
In human mitochondrial genetics, Haplogroup V is a human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup.-Origin:Haplogroup V is believed to have originated around the Western Mediterranean region, approximately 13,600 years before present- possibly on Iberia...

 and the U5b
Haplogroup U (mtDNA)
In human mitochondrial genetics, Haplogroup U is a human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup.-Origins:Haplogroup U descends from a woman in the Haplogroup R branch of the phylogenetic tree, who lived around 55,000 years ago...

, ancient in Europe. By contrast, the most common paternal lineage among the Sami indicates an Asian
Asian people
Asian people or Asiatic people is a term with multiple meanings that refers to people who descend from a portion of Asia's population.- Central Asia :...

 origin, who may represent a Uralic-speaking people
Uralic languages
The Uralic languages constitute a language family of some three dozen languages spoken by approximately 25 million people. The healthiest Uralic languages in terms of the number of native speakers are Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Mari and Udmurt...

. Other haplogroups suggest additional input from other populations at various times – see main article Population genetics of the Sami.

This tallies with archeological evidence suggesting that several different cultural groups made their way to the core area of Sapmi from 8000–6000 BC, presumably including some of the ancestors of present-day Sami.

History of scientific research carried out on the Sami


The genetic makeup of Sami people has been extensively studied for as long as such research has been in existence, although until recent times the purpose of this research has mostly been ethnocentric at best, at worst racist and defamatory. Ethnographic photography of the Sami began with the invention of the camera in the 19th century. This continued on into the 1920s and 30s, when Sami photographed naked and anatomically measured by scientists, with the help of the local police – sometimes literally at gun point, to collect data that would justify their own racial theories. Thus, there is a degree of distrust by some in the Sami community towards genetic research.

Some examples of racist research are: the Statens Institut for Rasbiologi
Statens institut för rasbiologi
Statens institut för rasbiologi was a Swedish governmental research institute founded in 1922 with the stated purpose of studying eugenics and human genetics. It was located in Uppsala and as a governmental agency, it was the world’s first of its kind...

 compulsory sterilization project for Sami women, which continued until 1975; Sami graves being plundered to provide research materials, of which their remains and artifacts from this period from across Sápmi can still be found in various State collections. In the late 19th century, colonial fascination with arctic peoples led to human beings exhibited in "human zoos." Sami people were exhibited with their traditional lavvu
Lavvu
Lavvu is a temporary dwelling used by the Sami people of northern Scandinavia. It has a design similar to a Native American tipi but is less vertical and more stable in high winds. It enables the indigenous cultures of the treeless plains of northern Scandinavia and the high arctic of Eurasia to...

 tents, weapons, and sleds, beside a group of reindeer at Tierpark Hagenbeck
Tierpark Hagenbeck
The Tierpark Hagenbeck is a zoo in Stellingen, now a quarter in Hamburg, Germany. The collection began in 1863 with animals that belonged to Carl Hagenbeck Sr. , a fishmonger who became an amateur animal collector. The park itself was founded by Carl Hagenbeck Jr. in 1907...

 and other zoos across the globe.

Notable people of Sami descent





Explorers and adventurers

  • Samuel Balto
    Samuel Balto
    Samuel Johannesen Balto was a Norwegian - Sami explorer and adventurer. The legendary sled dog Balto was named after Samuel Balto.-Biography:...

     (1861–1921), Arctic explorer – one of the first people to cross Greenland on skis (together with Nansen) – and gold miner.
  • Lars Monsen
    Lars Monsen
    Lars Thorbjørn Monsen is a Sámi-Norwegian adventurer and journalist, famous for his explorations and backpacking expeditions in harsh wilderness. In particular, he became especially known for his thru-hiking trip in northern Canada and Alaska, which was filmed and documented by Monsen himself, and...

     (1963–present) adventurer, explorer, journalist and author.

Literature

  • Anders Fjellner (1795–1876), Protestant priest and poet. Wrote down the mythological joik that inspired the Sámi flag.
  • Ailo Gaup
    Ailo Gaup (author)
    Ailo Gaup is a Sámi shaman and author who writes in Norwegian. He currently lives in Oslo. He was involved in founding the Sámi theater Beaivváš Sámi Theatre in Kautokeino and has also written some plays for the theater...

     (1944–present), an author and neo-shaman who participated in founding the Beaivváš Sámi Theatre
    Beaivváš Sámi Theatre
    Beaivváš Sámi Theatre is a Norwegian theatre that uses Sami language as its performing language...

    .
  • Isak Mikal Saba
    Isak Saba
    Isak Mikal Saba was a Sami teacher and politician. On October 11, 1906, he became the first Sami to be elected to the Stortinget, and he was the representative of Finnmark for the Norwegian Labour Party from 1907 to 1912.Isak Saba wrote the text to Sámi soga lávlla, which the Sami Conference made...

     (1875–1925) politician and writer. Was the first Sami parliamentarian (Norwegian Labour Party) and wrote the Sami national anthem.
  • Johan Turi
    Johan Turi
    Johan Turi, born Johannes Olsen Thuri also spelt Johan Tuuri or Johan Thuri or Johan Thuuri was the first Sami author to publish a secular work in a Sami language...

     (1854–1936), wrote the first novel in Sámi.
  • Nils-Aslak Valkeapää
    Nils-Aslak Valkeapää
    Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, known as Áillohaš in the Northern Sami language was a Finnish Sami writer, musician and artist. He was born in Enontekiö in Lapland province, Finland. He lived most of his life in Käsivarsi, close to the border of Sweden, and also in Skibotn in Norway...

     (1943–2001), musician, poet and artist.
  • Gladys Koski Holmes (1932–2005) a Sami-American artist, writer, and poet. Gladys' poetry won awards, published a children's book, and was the Sami Siida of North America
    Sami Siida of North America
    The Sami Siida of North America is a loosely organized group of regional communities, primarily in Canada and the United States, who share the Sami culture and heritage from northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. This area, traditionally known as Sápmi or Samiland to...

    's ambassador to the Siida art show at the NANA festival in Tromsø.

Music

  • Vajas
    Vajas
    Vajas is a Sámi-Norwegian band with Kristin Mellem on violin and vocals, Nils Johansen on guitars, computers and synthesizers and the famous Sami ethnic yoiker Ánde Somby on vocals and yoik . The band debuted in 2003 and has toured internationally ever since. In October 2006 Vajas released its...

    , popular musical group
  • Ánde Somby
    Ánde Somby
    Ánde Somby, born in Buolbmat, Norway, is a well known traditional Sami joik artist and an associate professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Tromsø, specializing in Indigenous Rights Law. Somby is only one of few Sami with Ph.D in law . Sombys phD is titled "Juss som retorikk"...

     Sami musician and law professor
  • Adjagas
    Adjagas
    Adjágas, from Sápmi, Norway are Sámi joikers, Lawra Somby and Sara Marielle Gaup with a band of musicians. The groups name Adjágas is a Sámi word describing the mental state experienced between waking and sleeping....

    , musical group.
  • Mari Boine
    Mari Boine
    Mari Boine, previously known as Mari Boine Persen, is a Norwegian Sami musician known for having added jazz and rock to the yoiks of her native people...

     (1956–present) musician.
  • Ingor Ánte Áilo Gaup
    Ingor Ánte Áilo Gaup
    Ingor Ánte Áilu Gaup, also known as Iŋgor Ántte Áilu Gaup is a Sami actor, composer, and folk musician...

     (1960–present), actor, composer, and folk musician.
  • Sofia Jannok (1982–present), performer, musician and radio host.
  • Joni Mitchell
    Joni Mitchell
    Joni Mitchell, CC is a Canadian musician, singer songwriter, and painter. Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in her native Saskatchewan and Western Canada and then busking in the streets and dives of Toronto...

     (1943–present) musician and painter.
  • Wimme Saari
    Wimme Saari
    Wimme Saari is one of the best known Sami yoikers from Finland. Wimme Saari combines traditional Sami singing with his own improvisations, usually to a techno-ambient accompaniment by members of Finnish electronic group RinneRadio...

     (1959–present) musician.
  • Lisa Cecilia Thomasson-Bosiö or Lapp-Lisa (1878–1932), singer.
  • Nils-Aslak Valkeapää
    Nils-Aslak Valkeapää
    Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, known as Áillohaš in the Northern Sami language was a Finnish Sami writer, musician and artist. He was born in Enontekiö in Lapland province, Finland. He lived most of his life in Käsivarsi, close to the border of Sweden, and also in Skibotn in Norway...

     (1943–2001), musician, poet and artist.
  • Niko Valkeapää
    Niko Valkeapää
    Niko-Mihkal Valkeapää is a Sami musician and joiker . He has been described as "one of Sami music's foremost performers." Valkeapää has been living in Kautokeino, Norway since 1990...

     (1968–present) musician and songwriter.
  • Mikkâl Morottaja
    Amoc (rapper)
    Amoc is a Finnish rap musician. He is noted for rapping in the nearly extinct language of Inari Sami.-External links:* *-Produced by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland*...

     (1984–present) rap musician
  • Jonne Järvelä
    Jonne Järvelä
    Jonne Järvelä is the vocalist/guitarist of the Finnish band Korpiklaani and of former project Shaman. He is known in the Verga folk metal scene for his yoiking and contributed the yoik on the Finntroll album, Jaktens Tid. He once was a member of the Sami music group Angelin tytöt.- See also...

     (1974–present) musician and song-writer.

Sami People working in film and theatre

  • Beaivváš Sámi Theatre
    Beaivváš Sámi Theatre
    Beaivváš Sámi Theatre is a Norwegian theatre that uses Sami language as its performing language...

  • Mikkel Gaup, actor.
  • Nils Gaup
    Nils Gaup
    -Career:Gaup was born in Kautokeino, Finnmark County in Northern Norway. He first intended to become an athlete but from 1974 to 1978 he went to drama school and studied at the Beaivváš Sámi Theatre in Kautokeino...

     (1955–present) film director. Well known films include Ofelas (Pathfinder), which was nominated for the an Academy Award and the 2008 film "Kautokeino-Opprøret" based on the Kautokeino Rebellion
    Sami revolt in Guovdageaidnu
    The Sami revolt in Guovdageaidnu, also known as the Kautokeino uprising, was a revolt in the town of Kautokeino in northern Norway in 1852 by a group of Sami who attacked representatives of the Norwegian authorities. The rebels killed the local merchant and the local government official, whipped...

    .
  • Anni-Kristiina Juuso
    Anni-Kristiina Juuso
    Anni-Kristiina Juuso is a Sámi actress, who played the leading female role in the movies The Cuckoo and The Kautokeino Rebellion. She was awarded Russia's Best Actress award by both the movie academy and the press. Juuso has also received a State Movie Award, which was handed to her by Vladimir...

     (1979–present), actress.
  • Renée Zellweger
    Renée Zellweger
    Renée Kathleen Zellweger is an American actress and producer. Zellweger first gained widespread attention for her role in the film Jerry Maguire , and subsequently received two nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her roles as Bridget Jones in the comedy Bridget Jones's Diary ...

     (1969–present), actress.

Politics and society

  • Margareta (ca 1369–ca 1425), missionary.
  • Lars Levi Laestadius (1800–61), religious reformist, bothanist and ethnologist.
  • Ole Henrik Magga
    Ole Henrik Magga
    Ole Henrik Magga is a Sámi linguist and politician from Kautokeino, Norway.-As a linguist:As a linguist, Ole Henrik Magga is best known for his work on syntax...

     (1947–present), politician. The first President of the Norwegian Sámi Parliament (NSR) and first Chairman of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
  • Helga Pedersen
    Helga Pedersen (Norway)
    Helga Pedersen is the deputy leader for the Norwegian Labour Party.From April to October 2001, during the first cabinet Stoltenberg, she was appointed political advisor in the Ministry of Industry and Trade. In 2005, during the second cabinet Stoltenberg, she was appointed Minister of Fisheries...

     (1973–present) politician. The first Sami member of Government (Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, Norwegian Labour Party).
  • Elsa Laula Renberg
    Elsa Laula Renberg
    Elsa Laula Renberg was a Sámi activist and politician. She was born to reindeer herders, Lars Thomasson Laula and Kristina Josefina Larsdotterb and grew up near Dikanäs. After receiving training school in Stockholm as a midwife, she returned home to live near Dikanäs...

     (1877–1931), politician who among other things organized the first international Sami conference.
  • Isak Mikal Saba
    Isak Saba
    Isak Mikal Saba was a Sami teacher and politician. On October 11, 1906, he became the first Sami to be elected to the Stortinget, and he was the representative of Finnmark for the Norwegian Labour Party from 1907 to 1912.Isak Saba wrote the text to Sámi soga lávlla, which the Sami Conference made...

     (1875–1925), politician and writer. Was the first Sami parliamentarian (Norwegian Labour Party) and wrote the Sami national anthem.
  • Janne Seurujärvi (1975–present), politician. The first Sami member of Parliament of Finland
    Parliament of Finland
    The Eduskunta , is the parliament of Finland. The unicameral parliament has 200 members and meets in the Parliament House in Helsinki. The latest election to the parliament took place on April 17, 2011.- Constitution :...

    .

Visual arts

  • Hans Ragnar Mathisen, artist.
  • Joni Mitchell
    Joni Mitchell
    Joni Mitchell, CC is a Canadian musician, singer songwriter, and painter. Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in her native Saskatchewan and Western Canada and then busking in the streets and dives of Toronto...

     (1943–present) musician and painter.
  • Nils-Aslak Valkeapää
    Nils-Aslak Valkeapää
    Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, known as Áillohaš in the Northern Sami language was a Finnish Sami writer, musician and artist. He was born in Enontekiö in Lapland province, Finland. He lived most of his life in Käsivarsi, close to the border of Sweden, and also in Skibotn in Norway...

     (1943–2001), musician, poet and artist.

Sports

  • Ailo Gaup (1980–present), a motorcross sportsman who invented the "underflip".
  • Morten Gamst Pedersen
    Morten Gamst Pedersen
    Morten Gamst Pedersen is a Norwegian footballer who plays for Blackburn Rovers and the Norway national football team.-Tromsø IL:...

     (1981–present), Football player (currently playing for Blackburn Rovers).
  • Börje Salming
    Börje Salming
    Anders Börje Salming , nicknamed "The King", is a retired Swedish professional ice hockey defenceman. He played for Kiruna AIF, Brynäs IF, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Detroit Red Wings, and AIK. Salming was one of the first European players to make an impact in the National Hockey League , paving...

     (1951–present), legendary NHL defenseman, member of Hockey Hall of Fame
    Hockey Hall of Fame
    The Hockey Hall of Fame is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Dedicated to the history of ice hockey, it is both a museum and a hall of fame. It holds exhibits about players, teams, National Hockey League records, memorabilia and NHL trophies, including the Stanley Cup...

    , voted to the IIHF all-century team.
  • Anja Pärson
    Anja Pärson
    Anja Sofia Tess Pärson is a Swedish-Sámi alpine skier, the winner of seven World Championships gold medals and two Overall Alpine Skiing World Cup titles. She has won a total of 42 World cup races.-Biography:...

     (1981–present) and Jens Byggmark
    Jens Byggmark
    Jens Byggmark is a Swedish alpine skier, who specialises in slalom and giant slalom.Byggmark was born in Örebro but was raised in Tärnaby. He races for Tärna IK Fjällvinden, the world's most successful ski club...

     (1985–present), alpine skiers.

  • The Sápmi national football team
    Sápmi national football team
    The Sápmi national football team is a national football team representing the Sámi people, who inhabit northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. The team is not a member of UEFA or FIFA, and therefore do not participate in their competitions.The goal of the Sámi Football Association,...

    .

Sami culture

  • Fourth World
    Fourth World
    Fourth World refers to a sub-population subjected to social exclusion in global society, or stateless and notably impoverished or marginalized nations.Fourth World may also refer to:...

  • Knud Leem
    Knud Leem
    Knud Leem was a Norwegian priest and linguist. Knud Leem started the linguistic study of Sámi when he published a grammar book of it in 1748...

  • Northern indigenous peoples of Russia
  • Sami cuisine
    Sami cuisine
    Sami cuisine is the cuisine of peoples from the Sápmi territory of the Sami people, which spans Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Its traditional cuisine of each area has individual traits. Traditionally, the cuisine of Sápmi has been based on local materials, like fish, game, reindeer and berries...


Sami films



  • Pathfinder (Ofelaš), 1988 film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Filmed in Norway featuring Sami actors speaking in Sami.
  • The Kautokeino Rebellion (2008) is a feature film that concerns the ethnic-religious Sami revolt in Guovdageaidnu of 1852.
  • The Cuckoo (Kukushka), (2002) film set during World War II with a Sami woman as one of the main characters
  • Give Us Our Skeletons
    Give Us Our Skeletons
    Give Us Our Skeletons! is a 1999 documentary film directed by Paul-Anders Simma about Niillas Somby, a Sami man who retraces his family ancestry as he searches for the head of his ancestor, Mons Somby.Mons Aslaksen Somby and Aslak Jakobsen Hætta were executed by decapitation on 14 October 1854 for...

    a 1999 documentary about the scientific racism and racial classification movement carried out on the Sami.
  • Wolf, an examination of how the traditions of the Sami villagers in northern Sweden is confronted with modern day society.
  • Last Yoik in Saami Forests? (2007) made for the United Nations, a documentary about land rights disputes in Finnish Lapland
  • Herdswoman, (2008) a documentary about land rights disputes in reindeer grazing areas.
  • Suddenly Sami, (2009) the filmmaker finds out that her mother has been hiding her Arctic indigenous Sámi heritage from her.
  • The Sami, a Mushkeg Media documentary about the state of aboriginal languages.

Sami books

  • Fragments of Lappish Mythology
    Fragments of Lappish Mythology
    Fragments of Lappish Mythology is the detailed documented account of the Sami religious beliefs and mythology during the mid-19th century. It was written between 1838–1845 by Swedish minister Lars Levi Læstadius, but was not published until 1997 in Swedish, Finnish in 2000 and in English in 2002...

    , a recently rediscovered book by Lars Levi Læstadius
    Lars Levi Læstadius
    Lars Levi Læstadius was a Swedish Lutheran pastor of partly Sami ancestry. From the mid 1840s and onward he became the leader of the Laestadian movement...

     that was lost from 1845 to 1997 about the traditional religions of the Sami.
  • The Germania
    Germania (book)
    The Germania , written by Gaius Cornelius Tacitus around 98, is an ethnographic work on the Germanic tribes outside the Roman Empire.-Contents:...

    by Tacitus
    Tacitus
    Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

     (Fenni
    Fenni
    The Fenni were an ancient people of northeastern Europe first described by Cornelius Tacitus in Germania in AD 98.- Ancient accounts :The Fenni are first mentioned by Cornelius Tacitus in Germania in 98 A.D...

    )

Sami government and policy

  • Dislocation of Sami people
    Dislocation of Sami people
    The Dislocation of Sami people refers to the ordered movement of 300-400 Sami peoples from Jukkasjärvi and Karesuando in 1920s to 1940s.-Background:This was outermost a result of political nature between Norway and Russia....

  • Norwegianization
    Norwegianization
    Norwegianization is a term used to described the official government policy carried out by the Norwegian government against the Sami and later the Kven people of northern Norway to assimilate non-Norwegian-speaking native populations into an ethnically and culturally uniform Norwegian population...

    The discontinued government program to forcibly assimilate the Sami into Norwegian culture.

External links