Lapland and the Sami people

Thursday 17, June 2010


Lapland and the Sami people


The sami people occupy large parts of Lapland and still practice Reindeer herding and husbandry today.



Lapland is a region rather than a country and stretches out across Norway, Sweden and Russia.  Lapland is relatively sparsely populated and almost completely covered in Rivers, Lakes and forests which makes it an ideal place for both winter and Summer vacations.  Lapland experiences huge seasonal changes and a traveller will get a completely different experience in winter than they will in summer.  The Sami people of Lapland are the indigenous people living in Lapland. The Sami people inhabit parts of Sweden, Finland and Norway. The traditional language they speak is the Sami language which comes from the Uralic language family.  The Sami people have various livelihoods with the most popular being Reindeer herding.  


The Sami people refer to themselves as Samit (The Sami’s). The Sami people have inhabited the Northern regions of Scandinavia and Russia for over 25000 years, because the Sami people are the earliest settlers to the area , they are considered  the indigenous population of the area.  There are still T.V broadcasts and daily news bulletins in Northern Sami and there are still some children’s programmes made in Sami.  There is also Radio programmes for Northern Sami in various Sami languages.  There is a single newspaper published in Northern Sami and a few magazines are also still published.  The Sami language is taught in all four countries, the Sami language is also studied in all universities in all four countries. 


Reindeer herding is still practiced today and is an important aspect of the Sami culture.  Reindeer husbandry is legally protected as a Sami culture in Norway, meaning that only families with a link to other Reindeer herding families can make a living from  reindeer herding and husbandry. 


There are various festivals that celebrate the Sami culture; many of these take place in the Sapmi area.  One of the festivals celebrated is the Easter festival which takes place Kautokeino area and is before the springtime Reindeer migration to the coast.  The festival combines all of the traditional cultures as well as modern pastimes, such as snowmobile races.  Music is also an important part of the Sami culture.  The singing of Joik includes dedicating songs to animals and nature or to special people. The music can be sad or joyful and in more recent times musical instruments have accompanied the singing of Joiks. 




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