Sámi Peoples Celebrate Their National Day


Photo: Official website of the Murmansk Regional Duma

Today, on 6 February, the Sámi peoples in Finland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden celebrate their Sámi National Day. The Sámi National Day has been celebrated since 1993 on this date to commemorate the first Sámi congress held in Trondheim, Norway in 1917.

The day is celebrated by raising the Sámi flag with its bright colours of red, green, yellow, and blue and the two circles representing the sun and moon. In some countries, the country's national flag is raised alongside the Sámi flag. While the flags are raised the song of the Sámi peoples is sung in the regional Sámi dialect.

Traditionally, the Sámi have been nomadic reindeer herders, relying on the animals for sustenance and as a central element of their cultural identity.

State support is provided in some countries to protect traditional Sámi culture. Russia is one of them. There are 39 registered Sámi communities in the Murmansk region, one of Russia’s Arctic territories. According to statistics, there has been a constant decrease in the Sámi population: in 2002, 1769 representatives of this indigenous people lived in the Murmansk region, in 2010, there were already 1599, while in 2021 - 1363.

In order to preserve this Arctic indigenous people and their traditional way of life, Russia has taken the following support measures.

In 2023, the regional government allocated 35.9 million roubles [$395 thousand] to support reindeer herding farms.

Besides, the regional government provides comprehensive support, including measures such as the right to engage in northern reindeer husbandry, the granting of land plots for grazing, rent incentives, subsidies to reindeer herding farms for venison production, and the purchase of new machinery and equipment. In 2023, about 53 million rubles [$583 thousand] were allocated from the federal and regional budgets for subsidies and grants.