The Sami (also spelled Saami) are the 100,000 Indigenous inhabitants of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Russian Kola Peninsula. Their history parallels that of other Indigenous circumpolar Peoples. After a 500-year period of colonization by Norway and Sweden during which the Sami nature religion, the Sami language, and the Sami joik were forbidden, the Sami people in the Nordic countries are experiencing a rebirth of their ancestral belief system, language and cultural expressions. Concern for the environment has lead them to become active in international Indigenous organizations including NGO (non-governmental organization) status in the UN.
At least 30,000 people of Sami ancestry live in North America. Some are the descendants of Sami people who emigrated to the United States and Canada as Norwegians, Swedes, and Finns and some are the descendants of "Lapp" herders from the Alaska Reindeer Project who introduced reindeer husbandry to the Inuit and Yup'ik peoples. The appearance of BÁIKI: The International Sami Journal inspired the reawakening of Sami consciousness among these groups and created a community of people who share an interest in the Sami culture.
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