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The Saami (there are other names for the same people, including Sámi, Lapp, Davvin, etc.) are an indigenous people of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, Siberia and the Kola peninsula in northern Russia. The Saami are one of the largest groups of indigenous peoples in Europe.

They call their ancestral lands Sápmi. The population of about 85,000 are primarily farmers and reindeer herders.

Many books and official documents call these people Lapps, but they prefer to be called Sámi or Saami, the name they use for themselves. They consider Lapp to be a particularly offensive term.

Reindeer have central importance in Saami culture, though nowadays reindeer herding is of dwindling economic relevance for the Saami people.

They speak several languages of their own from the Finno-Ugric family, related to Finnish but not to Swedish and kin. See Saami language.


One very interesting Saami tradition is the singing of jojk (in English, yoicks, not to be confused with the call used in fox hunting). Yoicks are traditionally sung a capella, usually sung slowly and deep in the throat with apparent emotional content of sorrow or anger. Christian missionaries and priests regarded these as "songs of the Devil". In recent years, yoicks are frequently accompanied by musical instruments.

It has been conjectured that yoicks are a highly modified form of Sama Veda, one of the four Vedic traditions of India and the one that pundits sing most slowly. The name of the Saami people may actually have been derived from the Sanskrit word Sama.

Other Northern Indigenous Peoples[?]: Aleut, Chukchee[?], Chuvans[?], Dolgans[?], Entsy[?], Evenks, Evens[?], Inuit, Itel'mens[?], Kets[?], Khanty[?], Koryaks, Kumandints[?], Mansi[?], Nanais[?], Negidals[?], Nenets, Nganasans[?], Nivkhi[?], Orochi, Oroks[?], Sel'kups[?], Shors[?], Teleuts[?], Tofalars[?], Tuvian-Todzhynts[?], Udege[?], Ul'chi[?] and the Yukagirs[?]

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