Any keen person will know that the global agenda has in the recent decade shifted towards sustainable development, rights of the indigenous people, climate change, circular economy and such. In fact, at the heart of the UN charter is a need to guarantee the rights of and protect the indigenous people wherever they are. Protection in this sense means preserving their culture and protecting their highly nature based livelihoods. When we talk of indigenous people, we quickly think of some undocumented or recently reached populations in Papua New Guinea or a traditional community in Botswana and such. But the truth is that we have the Sami as indigenous people in Scandinavia who may have been forgotten and instead considered modern.
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The indigenous Sami of Scandinavia
For eternity, Scandinavia has an attachment to intriguing culture, scenic beauty, and the happiest of Worlds’ ranks. A guest to this part of the world will patently have a liking for everything, if not everyone. But over and above, their dark side of loathing towards their indigenous people is a thing to question. It might be a bitter taste for Scandinavians, but the truth remains-the Sami are the true indigenous people of Scandinavia.
Having a liking for Northern regions, the Sami have a big settlement in Northern Scandinavian Peninsula. It means they live in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. For one, it is unclear to tell on the Scandinavian hatred of Sami in countries where efficiency meets industry is not a mean feat. In fact, Scandinavians cohabit with Sami for lack of what to do. Unluckily, their devious actions landed them in bad books, thanks to the UN reporters.
The exact population of the Sami people is not known. However, they are estimated to be between 50,000 to 100,000. They are believed to have a higher population in Norway, between 50,000 to 65,000. Besides, about 20,00 of the Sami live in Sweden.
Cultures of the Sami People in Scandinavia
While you may think that the Sami life is entirely on herding reindeer and duoddji handicrafts, you missed it. Their deep, enriching culture is even more alive in rap music and modern architecture. Wait until you visit the Sami center for contemporary art to meet Sami’s vintage wear. Like other Scandinavians, they got a deep and historical attachment to nature. Though I also believe the Scandinavian region is also attached to nature. That is why their region is called a green economy.
Without intentions of missing the Riddu Riđđu Festival, you are yet to explore more music concerts under the midnight sun. If you wish to try on a reindeer race or perhaps lasso throwing, mark the date six of February. You can also extend the visit to Finland. Through that, you will catch a glimpse of the Sami capital’s top-tier tent-like architectural design.
The unique ability to speak up to five languages is on the list of fascinating cultural facts! Did you even know the languages differ from one another? However, it is so sad that until now, only half the population can speak the Sami dialect. It is not that bad though.
While there is much to say, failure to mention joik music and kofte attire is unfair to readers. The joik is a song with a positive vibe of dedication to a ‘person or animal. To spice up ceremonies like weddings, a unique design of kofte was perfect. It consists of duoddji, crafts, and several traditional attires. These may include woodcrafts, pearl embroidery…name it.
Institutions of the Sami People
Politically, the Sami operate through a voluntary council. It is called the Sami council. Furthermore, the council works to safeguard the rights and interests of Sami in the four countries. The council gets in touch with Sami in a specific country through the executive board of the country in question. In educational systems, Sami people believe in learning by experience. However, the government and church boards forced them into westernized education.
Did you know that the Norwegians and the Sami occupied different economic niches in 1349? For instance, the Sami fished and hunted. However, since the Norwegians had the main European trade routes, they traded fish for southern products.
Without a classroom affair, the children learned from multiple who shared ideas in diverse areas. From craftwork, herding, and architectural skill to gender-based social responsibilities, this is all to expect. Apart from those, lessons on moral virtues played the center stage of all.
Challenges Facing the Sami People in Scandinavia
Much pop into your mind when you hear of an indigenous community, in a happy country. The thought of well-organized political systems and diverse cultural aspects is all you fantasize about. Let alone concrete and natural ways of earning a living.
Speaking the truth, the Sami were all these, except for the nosy church boards and government. Not only did they fail to recognize them as an indigenous community, but view them as inferior. To some extent, they do feel like they are unwanted in the region.
Unfortunately, even the public has displayed discrimination towards the Sami. As if that is not enough, the government uses strict rules to encroach on their territory. Taking large tracts of land, the dream of reindeer rearing is somehow short-lived. To make it even worse, the oil drills and mining that slowly change their climatic situation.
As a people, Sami took pride in their cultural practices. By altering the educational systems and language of the Sami, its culture is halfway dead. The UN Racial discrimination committee has already sent a sound warning to Norway and Sweden. The committee is against the forceful assimilation of the Sami and the fact that natives view them as uncivilized.
In Sweden, for example, the bitter taste of hatred and discrimination is too loud to the Sami. Sadly, many people are unaware of their existence. Even much worse to recognize their rich culture. By enacting strict assimilation laws on them, they have to endure the erosion of culture.
Policies You Should Know About the Samis
- According to Article 110a, ‘It is the responsibility of the authorities of the State to create conditions enabling the Sámi people to preserve and develop its language, culture, and way of life.’
- The Samis have their own parliament and they are elected by the Samis
- Samis are the ones who decide the activities of their parliament