National Sámi Day celebrated across several nations

6 February marks Sámi national day, dedicated to the only indegenous group in the European Union. The origins of Sámi day stretch back over a hundred years.

The official Sámi flag Image: Emmi Korhonen / Lehtikuva

Tuesday marks the commemoration of national Sámi Day, a celebration held across Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia on the 6th of February.

The official commemoration of Sámi Day in Finland is still relatively young as the national day was only officially marked into the national calendar in 2004. The 1992 Sámi conference in Helsinki designated 6 February asthe Sámi national day, but the roots of the celebration stretch back to 1917.

It was in 1917 when the first Nordic Sámi conference met in Trondheim, Norway, under the leadership of Elsa Laula Renberg. The conference was held to discuss Sámi living conditions such as freedom of movement, land use, reindeer herding, and education related questions.

The political awakening of the Sámi can be traced back to that 1917 conference in Trondheim, as it marked the beginning of cross-border cooperation between the Sámi, after which their presence continued to grow.

The womens' organization Brurskanken Samiske Kvinneforening who brought together the Trondheim Conference. Elsa Laula Renberg is middle row, first from the left. Image: Hilfling-Rasmussen/NTNU

An abundance of color

The flag is made up of the traditional colors red, blue, yellow and green, with the red and blue symbolizing the sun and the moon respectively. The Gákti is another Sámi symbol that shares the same colors

The flag was accepted as the official flag of the Sámi on the 15th of August 1986 during the 13th Sámi conference in Åre. The Sámi Conference acts as the highest body of the Sámi Council, meeting every four years.

As the traditional Sámi reside accross four countries, there are various Sámi languages spoken and each area and family symbols can be noted on their personal Gáktis. But whilst the clothes and languages may vary, all Sámi share the same national day, flag and anthem.

The Sámi are the only recognized indigenous people inside the European Union, with an estimated 10,000 Sámi living in Finland, and around 100,000 combined between Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia.

Gákti, a tradition Sámi clothing. Image: Vesa Toppari / Yle

An uncertain but hopeful future

The relationship between the Sámi in Finland and the Finnish state has oftentimes been a strained one, with a series of ongoing disputes regarding topics of land rights, education, and the right to self-determination often in the spotlight. These are also topics often disputed in relation to the un-ratified ILO-169 convention, an act that would improve the rights of the indigenous Sámi in Finland.

In her 2018 Sámi day speech Tiina Sanila-Aikio, president of the Finnish Sámi Parliament, emphasized the importance of the land to Sámi. She noted that for the Sámi culture to continue living on for future generations, it is vital that the land and waters are treated in a way that supports and sustains life.

Read more news of Helsinki on our site.

yle.fi/
NationalSámiDay
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in january
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
The coach of a sports club in Hyvinkää, southern Finland has been remanded into police custody on suspicion of sexual abuse of minors he was coaching, the Itä-Uusimaa police department said on Thursday. Officials said that they are investigating the case as suspected child abuse but did not disclose the ages of the alleged victims. The suspect in the case, a 50-year-old man, was remanded into custody on Wednesday. The suspected sexual abuse is believed to...
Society
Finns increasingly forego do-it-yourself construction of prefab elements in favour of completely completed homes. Turnkey homes (where homes are fully finished and owners can immediately occupy them) have become more popular than traditional house packages, says the Finnish Association for Manufacturers of Prefabricated Houses. “About 7,500 detached homes are built in Finland every year, and about 70 percent of them are prefabricated houses of some kind,”...
Society
THE FESTIVE ATMOSPHERE in the Helsinki neighbourhood of Arabianranta was visibly subdued on Tuesday, as residents mourned the death of a local child who is believed to have been murdered. While little information has been released to the public, it is known that the victim was murdered near their home on the night of Christmas Eve (December 24). The police apprehended a suspect at the scene of the crime, who has been confirmed as a 36-year old male. Whethe...
Society
One of Finland’s most famous seafaring vessels, the titanic icebreaker Otso, was deployed on its first mission of the winter season last night, keeping sea routes open for the 22nd year in a row. Late in the evening of Christmas Day, Otso, the crowning glory of Arctia Oy’s extensive fleet, departed from Helsinki’s Katajanokka Harbour, heading north to the Bay of Bothnia. The 7000-ton Polar icebreaker has been tasked with keeping waterways open between Oulu...
Society
Eight Finnish political parties have published their a statement on future climate policy goals in Finland. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) in November invited all nine parliamentary parties to join a task force established to find an agreement on new, more ambitious climate goals for Finland. The one-month project was led by Kimmo Tiilikainen (Centre), the Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing. The Finns Party abandoned the task force last w...
Society
A 25-year-old man suspected of the sexual abuse of a girl under the age of 15 in Oulu, northwestern Finland, who was arrested in Germany last Tuesday is now reported to be at large. According to law enforcement officials in Oulu, the suspect was released by German police before he could be transferred to Finnish custody due to "a breakdown in communication between authorities". Oulu District Court ordered the suspect to be reprimanded into custody in absen...
Society
Finland’s high earners saw their real income grow more in 2017 than their peers in middle and low income groups, according to new data released by Statistics Finland on Tuesday. Incomes among the country’s highest income decile rose by 4.4 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, while the year-on-year increase was 1.3 percent for middle income earners. Incomes for the four lowest income deciles meanwhile grew by 1.2 percent over the one-year period. However amon...
Society
A man wanted in connection with a suspected arson attempt on a home in Helsinki’s Käpylä district was remanded into police custody on Sunday. The Helsinki district court has remanded a man suspected of attempted arson and attempted murder into police custody, ending a short-lived manhunt, police said on Sunday. The 25 year-old is suspected of using a Molotov cocktail to cause a fire at a flat in Käpylä, Helsinki last Monday. The apartment was completely de...
Society
Helsinki Central Library Oodi will opened its doors to the public on 5 December at 8am, a day before Finland’s 101st birthday. Designed by ALA Architects, this library of a new era is an ode to Finnish culture, equality and freedom of expression. Oodi offers everyone an open, public urban space at Kansalaistori Square, right opposite Parliament House. Central Library Oodi is an active and functional meeting point with 2.5 million expected annual visitors....