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You Say "Laplander" - They Say "Sami"

The Sami are one of the indigenous peoples of Europe. Often referred to as Laplanders from the Finnish "lappalainen", Samis ( or Saamis) prefer their own name for themselves.

They inhabit a region of northern Europe largely within the Arctic Circle, and the Sami homeland ("Sapmi" in Sami) reaches from central Norway and Sweden through the northernmost part of Finland and into Russia's Kola Peninsula.

Today, there are more than 40,000 Sami in Norway, 15,000-25,000 in Sweden, 6,500 in Finland, and about 2,000 in Russia.

Even though the Samis are one people that share a common past, various groups have developed many differences over the ages which are expressed in traditional clothing, handicrafts and songs.

The Sami language also differs from area to area, so much so that when one person travels from one end of the Sami nation to the other, the dialects change so much as to become incomprehensible.

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