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Indigenous people

The Sami people are one of several indigenous peoples in the Far North. The Sami have their own culture, language, history and traditional territories, called Sápmi in the Sami language. Sápmi extends over four different countries – Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. In Norway, the Sami people have traditionally lived in the areas from Finnmark in the north to Hedmark in the south. The Sami way of life has been adapted to the natural environment. They have traditionally lived from hunting, fishing, reindeer husbandry or farming. Today, the Sami people are part of modern society. They live in towns and have all kinds of occupations. There are nine different Sami languages in all and three main Sami languages in Norway: North Sami, Lule Sami and South Sami.

During the period between 1850 and 1950, the Norwegian authorities tried to prevent Sami people from preserving their own language, culture and way of life. This policy was called Norwegianisation. Its aim was to make the Sami people as Norwegian as possible. Today, on the other hand, Sami people's rights are protected under Norwegian and international law. In the Constitution, the Norwegian State has committed itself to protecting the Sami people and safeguarding their interests. One important institution in this respect is the Sami Parliament, the Sami elected assembly. The Sami Parliament has many tasks relating to preserving and developing the Sami language, culture, occupations and social life.

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