The Sámi people are the indigenous people of northern Europe, which today encompasses parts of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. The traditional Sami life style, dominated by hunting, fishing and trading, was preserved to the Late Middle Ages when the modern structures of the Nordic countries were established.

Nordic Sami people

Nordic Sami people

Few people know that the extreme north of Scandinavia is called Europe’s last wild land. In these places forgotten by the world, lives a people whose origins are lost in the mists of history. Sami culture comprises only 800,000 people, spread over four countries, they are Lapps, reindeer people.

Lapland in northern Finland, is a region of rare beauty with mountains with over 2,000 meters, vegetation abounds in large portions, tundra. The Arctic climate is offering residents and visitors a nature under white snow. Summer nights are actually day or moments of twilight, while the polar winter are long, interspersed with powerful storms, and blessed by the majestic spectacle of the Northern Lights.
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The Sámi have lived in relative co-existence with their neighbors for centuries, but for the last two hundred years – especially during the second half of the 20th century, there have been many dramatic changes in Sami culture, politics, economics and their relations with their neighboring societies. During the late-20th century, modern conflicts broke out over the construction of a hydroelectric dam, the reaction which created a reawakening and defense of Sami culture in recent years. From eleven different historically attested Sami languages or dialects, only nine have survived to the present day with most in danger of disappearing as well.

Sami Family

Sami Family

It is possible that the Sami people’s existence was documented by such writers as the Roman historian Tacitus. They have on uncertain grounds, but for a very long time, been associated with the ‘Fenni’. However, the first Nordic sources date from the introductions of runes and is the Account of the Viking Othere to King Alfred of England.

In 1986 the population Sámi identity is recognized and granted administrative autonomy rights. Unfortunately for the Sami people, the polytheistic religion with many gods and idols brought only trouble with the Swedes, which were Christians. By the middle of the seventeenth century Sweden mastered all Scandinavia, manifesting an expansionist policy. The Swedes began the systematic persecution of the Sami people, destroying and prohibiting the practice of religion, speech and rights to lands and forests, many Sami tribes struggle today in court to regain forests and grazing for the reindeer.
Traditionally, Sami art has been distinguished by its combination of functional appropriateness and vibrant, decorative beauty. Both qualities grew out of a deep respect for nature, embodied in the Sami’s animism. Their religion found its most complete expression in Shamanism, evident in their worship of the seite, an unusually shaped rock or tree stump that was assumed to be the home of a deity. Pictorial and sculptural art in the Western sense is a 20th-century innovation in Sami culture used to preserve and develop key aspects of a pantheistic culture, dependent on the rhythms of the seasons.
 Sami handler dressed in traditional clothing holds two animals from his herd

Sami handler dressed in traditional clothing holds two animals from his herd