Sami National Day: 100th Anniversary

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Photo: Frode Nagel Dahl, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington

Feb. 6 is the annual Sami National Day, and this year’s event marks the 100th anniversary of the date when Norwegian and Swedish Sami officials came together to hold the first Sami congress in Trondheim in 1917.

Today, 100 years have passed since that historic meeting. Sami National Day, which was first observed in 1993 – the same year the United Nations’ International Year of the World's Indigenous People opened in Karasjok, Norway – will be celebrated throughout Scandinavia and parts of Russia.

Tråante 2017, an event to be held in Trondheim Feb. 6-9, aims to display and convey the diversity of Sami culture. By looking back at the events that took place in Trondheim 100 years ago, the aim is ultimately to direct attention forward, focusing on what can be done in the future.

Present at the event will be, among others, His Majesty King Harald, members of the governments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and Sami officials from all three countries.

The Sami are the indigenous peoples of Scandinavia and Northwestern Russia. They are the northernmost indigenous people of Europe and the only group in Scandinavia recognized and protected under the international conventions of indigenous peoples.

In Norway, Sami National Day has been celebrated as an official flagging holiday since 2004. This means that all municipal buildings are required to raise the Norwegian flag – and, if they choose, the Sami flag – in observance of the occasion.