Country of Origin:
Saamis-Laplanders are a unique group of indigenous people. While they are classified as one group, their origin is not limited to one specific region or country. Since they are considered nomadic people its difficult to associate the origin to just one location. The historic research community cannot agree on one location either, and the origins of the Sami, are said to include the Alps or early Siberia. Geographic Location:
This indigenous group calls Norway, Sweden, Finland, and parts of northwestern Russia home. While the Sami are credited with being the longest living group of people on the Scandinavia peninsula, the majority of today’s population resides in the northern most region of the land. The native people refer to this area of land as Samiland. The land is comprised of glacier like, sub-artic terrain, which is an ideal climate for the reindeer they herd and live off. Ethnicity:
The Sami people are categorized as a non-Germanic ethnic group. Their native tongue is similar to Finnish but is called, ‘Finno-Ugric,’ which comes in the form of multiple dialects. The multiple dialects are most likely the result of different Sami bands living in remote, isolated parts of the land. Their Finno-Ugric language is the distinguishable trait that tends to separate the Sami people from other ethnic groups of the Nordic land. Age:
The Saamis are noted as being a prideful indigenous group. That being said, older generations understand the importance of passing on the culture on to younger generations. Their form of storytelling is known as yoiking. Yoiking embodies traditional folklore mixed with singing which creates an inimitable art. While the elders have perfected the art, Sami children are taught the art form at an early age, although there are imposed restrictions as to when children can perform yoiking, and when they cannot. Many of the customs such as textile making, along with other rituals, and rites of passage that the Sami have, are taught to their children at an early age, and are not exclusive to a particular age group. With the exception of marriage, which tends to occur between people in there 20’s, Sami elders want the youth to embrace their culture as early as they can. Social Structure:
Over the past century the Sami people have experienced dwindling numbers. As of today it is estimated that the population is around 60,000. With the majority of the Sami people living in Norway, followed by Sweden, then Finland, and a small percentage that makes up the remainder living in Russia. About half of the Sami today still practice their traditional heritage of herding reindeer. Others have tried to migrate to a more modern lifestyle by making a living as either farmers, fishermen, or in bigger towns as miners and loggers. The Sami people attempting to live a more modern way of life and have the financial means to do it, buy and dress in the European styles of today. Saving their traditional form of dress for festivals and celebrations. With the exception of a small percentage that has accumulated wealth over the years, most Sami families make a humble living, and rarely live beyond their means. Religion:
Sami people living in the more northern regions of the land practice the religion of Læstadian. Sami villages that practice religion have constructed Lapp-chapels in which Lapp-sermons are held. Not all Sami people continue to practice or believe in the once popular shamanistic religion. Those that do continue to practice look to the uninhibited power of nature and all it encompasses as way of living their life. Government:
The Sami Parliament is a representative organization that was created to protect the rights of the Sami people from mistreatment by other Nordic governments. The Parliament, whose leaders are elected from Norway, Sweden, and Finland, annually fight to protect the identity, treatment, and future...