Saami People Of Lapland
Saami People Of Lapland - Introduction
The Saami People of Lapland are an indigenous people living in the northernmost parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland & western Russia.
The area they live in is collectively known as Lapland. It's approximately 390,000 sq km in area.
The people were known as Lapps but prefer Saami.
There are around 70,000 Saami People Of Lapland, more than half live in Norway.
Saami speak a language known as Saami, it is related to Finnish & Hungarian & there 3 distinct regional versions and many dialects.
About a third of Saami People Of Lapland are nomadic and still live in the traditional way.
Their main occupation is reindeer herding, using them for food, clothing, footwear and tents similar to teepees.
This lifestyle was impacted by radio-active fallout from Chernobyl in 1986. Lichen the reindeer eat was contaminated, making the meat radio-active and inedible.
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Saami People Of Lapland - History
The Saami People of Lapland are believed to have entered northern Europe from the east several thousand years ago, before the Scandinavians, Finns & Russians.
Were originally a nomadic people living in small communties which each had a specified hunting ground.
In the 16th C they switched to reindeer herding and began to follow the seasonal movement of the deer.
From 17th C onwards there have been many attempts at forced assimilation into society.
This lead to severe damage to their culture through dislocation from their land & bans on speaking Saami.
From the 1960's this has begun to change and developments include the teaching of Saami at schools.
In 1989 the Sameting, a Saami parliament was opened in Norway (Karasjok). It reports to the national government.
There are ongoing problems facing the Saami People Of Lapland including land & mineral rights issues and poverty.
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