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The Sami people (also called Lapps or spelled as Saami) are an ethnic group of people living in Lapland. Lapland is area in the far north of Europe. Lapland is shared between the countries of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Sami people live in all of those countries. The number of Sami people in the world today is between 80,000 to 135,000.
There are 10 distinct different Sami languages which are spoken, and six of these can be written.
The best known of the Sami people were the Lapp nomads who raised reindeer. The Lapps survived in their harsh homeland by domesticating the reindeer. The Lapps were able to get everything they needed from the deer. They ate mostly meat, milk, and cheese. Their clothes were made froom reindeer skins and wool. Their tents were also made from deer skins. They are known for the beautifully decorated woolen clothing they made.
The Lapps protected the herds, moving with them as they migrated from summer to winter pastures. They used trained reindeer to pull sleds carrying their supplies. During the winter, the herds moved south of the treeline. The Lapps would live nearby in homes made of logs or sod. The Lapps were very careful not to waste anything they got from the reindeer. Milk was taken from the reindeer to drink or make cheese. Meat was taken for food. The blood was frozen in chunks and used for soup and pancakes. Knives and belt buckles were carved from the bones and antlers. The sinews (tendons) were used as sewing thread. Cleaned-out stomachs were used to carry milk or cheese. Every part of a dead reindeer was used.
Winter clothing was made from layers of deer skin. The inside layer would be worn with the fur facing in toward the person's skin. The second layer was worn with the fur facing out. Boots were also made of fur, lined with grass that had been gathered during the short summer. Every evening the grass would be taken out and dried by the fire, so it would be ready to use again the next day. This way, a Lapp could be warm and comfortable in even the coldest weather.
Today only a few of the Lapp people still follow the herds. Those few use modern tools on their ancient migration. They use snowmobiles to herd the reindeer and rifles to kill the wolves that chase them. Even helicopters and radios are used to locate and move the reindeer. Most of the Lapp people now live on small farms in one of the four nations of Lapland. They raise crops and animals, including a few reindeer, to meet their needs. The sale of reindeer meat is an important source of income for the Lapp people.
[change] Sami Crafts
Sami crafts are called 'Duodji'. The men make knives, drums and 'guksi' (burl cups) from wood, bone, and antlers. The women use leather and roots to make 'gakti' (clothing). Women also use birch and spruce to weave baskets.
[change] Sami Clothing
Sami clothing is called 'gakti' and was originally made from reindeer leather, but now it is usually made from wood, cotton, or silk. Traditionally, there are different types of clothing for men and women.
[change] Religion and Spirituality
Sami shamanism is the main religion of the Sami people. These beliefs are connected to the land, animalism, and the supernatural. Sami shamanism is a polytheistic religion, which means that there are many gods. The Sami shaman are called the 'Noadi'. There are some 'wise men' and 'wise women' who often try to heal sick people through rituals and traditional herbal remedies. Some Sami people have converted to Christianity to either the Russian Orthodox Church or Lutheranism.
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