Lapland, high European North and popular winter destination for tourists, is home to the largest native people of Europe and the only indigenous people of the European Union, Sámi. There are between 80,000 and 100,000 of them and their territory, called Sapmi, spreads across four countries which are Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.
Though anthropologists develop several opposing theories on their origin, there is no doubt that they have been in Lapland for thousand years. The first document confirming their presence dates back to the 1st century AD with Tacite’s writings. United by the same history and culture across the borders, they have adopted a common national day, flag and anthem. However, they are also known for their diversity as there are 3 main Sami languages and some 30 traditional regional outfits.
This “Focus on Sámi culture” will first look at its legal recognition. Next ones “Focus on” will be about Sami’s cultural practices.