An indigenous community consists of an indigenous population in a specific geographical area/territory who were present in that area before modern states and current borders (WHO – Indigenous populations). Indigenous populations live around the world. In the Arctic region, indigenous people are for instance Saami, Nenets, Khanty, Evenk, Chukchi, Aleut, Yupik, and Inuit. (Arctic Centre – University of Lapland – Arctic Indigenous Peoples). According to the University of Lapland, the Arctic region is today home to some four million people (13.1 million people live in the circumpolar north). (Nordregio – Indigenous population in the Arctic).
Although the Sami language has no official status as a national language in Finland, the Sami people have a legislative right to use and to maintain their own culture and language. Note from author: Finland has two official languages today, Finnish and Swedish. Finland´s national public service broadcasting company Yle offers news in the two official languages Finnish and Swedish, but also in Sami, sign language and in Russian, with more than 30.000 Russians living in Finland according to statistics from 2016: Statistics Finland – Foreign Citizens.
Indigenous population everywhere in the world, now discussing indigenous population in the Arctic region including Saami and Inuit people, are known for living according to the laws and rules of nature, i.e. natural way of living by causing as little as possible damage to the environment through their way of living. With climate change and legislative changes made without consideration for the indigenous population e.g. regarding the Saami people´s right to traditional fishing in Arctic rivers, indigenous people in the Arctic region now face completely new challenges for livelihood. For example Saami people have reported that due to climate change, weather is now almost impossible to predict, and ice sheets are becoming thin.
Learn more about what Saami´s think about new salmon fishing restrictions by watching 350.org´s video “Climate justice in Sápmi: Áslat Holmberg, Fisherman & Politician”:
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