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The Sámi people

©Trym Ivar Bergsmo/Samfoto©Trym Ivar Bergsmo/Samfoto

The Sámi are an indigenous people who have lived in the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia for a long time. An indigenous people are the group of people who have lived in a country the longest.

The Sámi population is estimated at around 100,000 people, and 40,000 to 50,000 of these people live in Norway.

The Sámi have their own language called the Sámi language. The Sámi language has several different dialects and not all Sámi understand each other’s dialect. The Sámi have their own culture and religion, even though a large number of Sámi are now Christians. The Sámi have their own music traditions. Most people associate Sámi music with the joik. A joik is a combination of singing and using your voice as an instrument.

The earliest Sámi lived by hunting and fishing. Some Sámi also reared large herds of reindeer on the huge plains of Northern Norway. Today, only around 10% of Sámi make their living by keeping reindeer. Most of them work in other jobs.

Most Sámi still live in Northern Norway, though Oslo is also one of country’s municipalities in which the largest number of Sámi live.

In 1989, the first Sámi Ting was opened in Norway. The Sámi Ting is the Sámi people’s own democratically elected assembly. The Sámi Ting works on issues such as Sámi culture and education, among other things.

The Sámi people have indigenous people status. Discuss the situations of various indigenous peoples around the world.

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