Sami National Day (Samisk nasjonaldag)
Sami National Day is celebrated on 6th February. It was first celebrated in 1993, when the United Nations proclaimed the International Year of Indigenous People open in Jokkmokk, Sweden. Sami National Day is for all Sami people, regardless of the country in which they live.
In Norway, it is compulsory for municipal administrative buildings to fly the Norwegian flag and also the Sami flag if they choose to, on 6th February. Some larger places also arrange festivities in the week around Sami National Day, especially Oslo and in towns and cities in the north of the country.
The date of the celebration, 6th February, was chosen as it was the start date of the first Sami National Congress, held in Trondheim in 1917. Elsa Laula Renberg, a reindeer owner and political activist, was prominent in the foundation of the first National Congress.
In 2017, there were 100 year celebrations of the first congress in Trondheim (Tråante is Trondheim in the South Sami language):
The Sami flag is the flag of the Sami people of the Nordic regions and Kola peninsula. The flag is also sometimes used to represent the territory of Sapmi (the traditional area of Sami habitation).
The first, unofficial Sami flag was designed by Sami artist Synnøve Persen in 1977. It was used as a national symbol in the demonstrations against the planned Alta Dam. The colours (blue, red and yellow) are commonly used on gáktis – traditional Sami clothing (for more information about gáktis, look at http://folkcostume.blogspot.no/2013/05/overview-of-saami-costume.html).
The first official Sami flag was recognized and inaugurated on 15 August 1986. This design was by the Coast Sami artist Astrid Båhl. The basic structure of Persen’s unofficial flag was retained, but the colour green was added – a colour which is popular in many South Sami gáktis. Båhl also added a motif which derived from a sun/moon symbol appearing on many noaidis‘ drums.
Sameblod (film 110min)
Sameblod (Sami Blood) was released in 2016 to great critical acclaim. The story follows a young Sami woman in Sweden in the 1930s. The film tells the story of many young Sami women at that time – sent to boarding school, restricted by ideas of racial biology and paternalistic attitudes in Swedish society.
Other materials on the Sami
Links in English:
- On this website you can find articles introducing the Sami,about Norwegianization of the Sami, about Sami history after WW2 , joik (Sami song) and reindeer herding.
- This webpage is produced by the UN and gives an overview of the Sami: http://www.unric.org/en/indigenous-people/27307-the-sami-of-northern-europe–one-people-four-countries
- On this website you can also find out more about modern Sami issues, especially concerning the environment and fishing rights.
- This poem by Niillas Holmberg, translated into English, is relevant for the Sami in Norway, but also Indigenous peoples all over the world.