Sami Culture and History

The indigenous people of the North

The Sami people historically inhabited the area known as Sápmi, spanning Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. While rooted in tradition, their contemporary presence extends far beyond their ancestral lands, with Sami communities thriving worldwide. Today, the Sami history and traditions is visible in the city life, and you can find it in both music, art, handcrafts, literature, and in the everyday topics in the communities.


traditional sami housing

5 Facts about the Sami people

  1. There are 9-11 Sami Languages. The county of Nordland extands over five Sami Language areas; Northern-, Lule-, Pite-, Ume-, and South Sami.
  2. The traditional Sami clothing is called gákti (Northern), gáppte (Lule & Pite), gápttie (Ume), gaeptie (Southern) and kofte (Norwegian).
  3. Traditionally, the Sami had many different livelihoods depending on where they lived, like fishing, gathering, hunting, small-scale farming, and herding. Many also had close social and resource-based connection across the livelihood-boundaries, called the verdde-system.
  4. The traditional Sami singing technique is called joik. It differs from classical vocal technique and was traditionally done without instruments or with only a drum. Today, many artist use the joiking technique in modern music settings.
  5. The Sami National day is February 6. The day is celebrated in different ways, including activities for children, shared meals, dressing up in traditional clothing, decorating with the Sami flag and singing of the Sami national anthem.
Sami performance

from “Biejvvelådde”

Sami Events During 2024

Sami people fishing

traditional sami labor

Learn more about the Sami history and traditions

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