A National day of the North


The Sámi people is a nation of four countries, with no state of their own. They are an indigenous people of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola peninsula of Russia. Today, February 6th, was their national day, and I want to express my greetings with a picture from a few days ago. The reindeer herders are so few, even few among the Sámi, but this is such an important aspect of Sami culture. During the years of forced assimiliation, the areas of reindeer herding were among the few where the Sami culture and language survived. Today there is less than 3000 people engaged in reindeer herding in all of Norway , and just a tiny fraction of those live in my area. That doesn’t make them less important, on the contrary.

The Sami national day, 6 February, was established in 1992 in Helsinki,  to celebrate a crucial event for Sami history. On February 6th of 1917, northern and southern Sámi crossed their National borders to come together for their first meeting in Trondheim, Norway. The first National day was celebrated on 6th February 1993, together with the proclamation of the opening of the International Year of Indigenous People in Jokkmokk (Sweden) by the United Nations. There are about 40,000 Sami in Norway, 20,000 in Sweden, 7,000 in Finland and an estimated 2,000 Sami in Russia.


The Sámi flag (from 1986) in the middle, between the Swedish (blue and yellow) and the Norwegian.


43 thoughts on “A National day of the North

  1. I am glad these people are surviving. I knew nothing about herding reindeer until I started reading your blog, and I am so glad to have learned a bit here and in previous posts. Thanks!


  2. How marvelous that the Sami are still clinging to their culture despite the trend for natives to be subsumed by the larger populations in too many lands. I always love to see your pictures of the reindeer. And thanks for telling us of this event.


  3. Reindeer are intriguing. Their coloring is beautiful, and they seem especially alert — they’re clearly “keeping an eye on things.” In the first photo, is the one with the color a leader, like a belled cow? or just a fashionista?


  4. Always love your reindeer photos! I’m glad there are still people out there that follow and want to protect their heritage. Thank you for sharing the photos and the history lesson 😀


  5. Merci de partager ce moment avec nous et de nous faire connaitre un peu plus la culture Sami. Ça doit être superbe à voir. Un grand moment. Bonne soirée à toi Bente, à bientôt 🙂


  6. Wow! What a cool place this looks like. I haven’t seen too many people posting reindeer photos! Awesome.


  7. Amazing photo! Trying to find Rudolph through that pack! I’m an aspiring photographer and artist; I look up to people like you. Check out my website – jefftoots.wordpress.com


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