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Finno-Ugric.com

Internet Project: Finno-Ugric Peoples and Languages

The Sami people, also spelled Sami or Saami, are the indigenous people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sapmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sami are the only indigenous people of Scandinavia recognized and protected under the international conventions of Indigenous peoples, and hence the northernmost indigenous people of Europe. 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. Their traditional languages are the Sami languages and are classified as a branch of the Uralic language family.

Saami Family, 1900 year.jpg

Traditionally, the Sami have pursued a variety of livelihoods, including coastal fishing, fur trapping and sheep herding. Their best-known means of livelihood is semi-nomadic reindeer 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.

Sami or Saami is a general name for a group of Uralic languages spoken by the Sami people in northern Europe (in parts of northern Finland, Norway, Sweden and extreme northwestern Russia). Sami is frequently and erroneously believed to be a single language. Several names are used for the Sami languages: Saami, Sami, Saame, Samic, Saamic, as well as the exonyms Lappish and Lappic. The last two are, along with the term Lapp, are now often considered derogatory.