The Sami People: Reindeer Herding and Cultural Survival in the Far North

April 4, 2019 - General
A Sámi family  in front of goahti and lavvu housing, early 1900s, Norway

The Sámi are the northernmost indigenous people of Europe. For thousands of years they have lived in an area called Sápmi – the northern sectors of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula. Traditional Sámi language, music, handicrafts, religion, and clothing differ from other Scandinavian ethnic groups; however settlement patterns and lifestyles can vary amongst Sámi people as well. For hundreds of years this culture has had to adapt and survive in some of the harshest conditions.

The Ancient Origins of the Sámi People

It’s believed that this Samoyed tribe arrived in their lands from the East. Elaborate petroglyphs, including motifs of zoomorphs (often elks and reindeer), boats, and anthropomorphs show that Sámi ancestors lived along the coast of the Arctic ocean in northern Norway 10,000 years ago. Later evidence of human settlement has been found all-over Sápmi.

Petroglyphs, Häljesta, Vastmanland, Sweden

Source: origins

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