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The Sami of Northern Europe.
If you were to mention indigenous or aboriginal peoples, the first people's you would think of are either Inuit's, Australian Aborigines or the Native American tribe's. One of the other people who are often overlooked include the Sami of Europe. The Sami are a people of Europe, who have kept their culture for over a thousand year's.The Sami people's are not known as a war like tribe and have existed in the same fashion as hunter gatherer's for much of recorded history. They were known to the Roman's as a tribe that resided to the far North of the continent of Europe, their ancestral lands encompass parts of Arctic Russia, Sweden, Finland and Norway.
The Sami population in Europe
Like other minority tribal groups in various countries across the world, the Sami have fought to cling on to their tradition and heritage within Europe. In some case's they have been forced to settle into the dominant culture, but on the whole have managed to maintain their cultural identity. It is possible that this is down to their own determination and survival instincts, that the tribe's did not disappear off the Historical map. Due to the harsh environment they usually inhabit and the fact the Sami where nomadic, other European people's may have preferred to leave the Sami to their own existence for much of Europe's history.
The Sami speak a language which can be broken down into Three main divisions and they are served by numerous regional different dialect's. The Three type's of Sami language are Southern, Eastern and Central. It's closest European tongue is the Finnish language, it is possible they evolved separately due to the Sami's mobility around the continent.
- Tribes of Europe: The Frisians
The Frisian's are a people who settled along the shore's of the North Sea coast's. They are not as well known as their Germanic cousin's like the Angle's or the Saxon's, but they have contributed to many European nation's culture.
- Tribes of Europe: The Franks
The Frank's were a Germanic tribe who gained control of much of Western and Central Europe after the decline of the Roman Empire in the West.
Inuit's and Sami
Although their style of living is similar the Sami and Inuit people's are very genetically different. The Sami share much of their genetic identity with the Northern European's with a hint of Asian influence. The Inuit people's have the same Genetic roots as the Native American tribes. They would have crossed the Bearing Strait's land bridge or walked over the thick Sea ice over 40,000 years ago.
Having walked into modern day Alaska they would have headed East across the America's and settled in Northern Canada and parts of Greenland. The Sami as a people would have followed their prey such as the Reindeer and occupy the land made new by retreating glacier's to the North of Europe.
The Reindeer have provided the Sami people with much of their survival tools and the materials to build shelter from the elements. The Reindeer provide Food, Drink and Clothing for all of the tribe, the creature's are respected and are not killed only to be wasted. The use's the Sami have for the animal are vast, from the sinew used as string to the animal's fat and waste used as fuel.
Do we take for granted the knowledge of the Aboriginal tribe's?
Like all indigenous tribe's they have had to suffer under the rules and policies of other more dominant European people's. For example as recent as the last century the government of Norway wanted the Sami people to conform to the Norwegian culture and efforts where made to suppress the Sami language and culture in these lands. In the 1850's the Sami took a lot of discrimination when the Norwegian's were griped in a trend of Nationalistic feelings mixed with a form of racism masked as Social Darwinism. Norway was not alone in trying to administer such policies on the Sami tribe, similar measures had been used across Europe where any wandering tribe was present. The taxation of the Sami tribe was a great source of revenue for the Northern Scandinavian nation's as they migrated with their Reindeer herds over national boundaries.
Since the end of the Second World War the United Nation's has been able to assert the fundamental rights of all Indigenous tribes throughout the world. The Sami have been able to register their voice in all democratic countries that they move through. The Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish government have now created Sami Parliament's to help give the Sami people a level of self-determination. In accordance with UN directive's all children born of Sami parentage have the fundamental right to learn their native language, this will protect the Sami's rich heritage.
The Sami like other native tribes, have lesson's they can teach the rest of the world. The Sami are able to live in harmony with their environment and are aware of the effects of their action's on the eco-system and food chain. If a society ending event happened, the skill's the Sami possess would allow them to survive the turmoil in their remote location's.
The Sami can adapt to changing climate condition's like their ancestor's did at the end of the last Ice Age.It can only be a positive thing, that their proud tradition's and knowledge can continue to be shared throughout the modern age in tandem with all our societies technological advance's. If any aboriginal knowledge was to die out, then our world will be a poorer place for the further severing of connection's to our natural world.
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