Once up on a time the Sami Indigenous people were called by the Russians “lopari”. By the Europeans they were called Laplanders. Tacitus wrote at I century b.c. “ ...Those people are happier all of us who are laboring farming, getting tired by building a house and live in fear over our material possessions.”. Russian anthropologist A. I. Kelsiev wrote: ”lopari are honest people, kind, pleasant, hospitable, happy and highly mild in their family lives.”.

Sami language is part of the Finno - Ugric group. But stands aside since one third of the lexical sub-strata does not correspond to the other languages in the group. As far as the anthropologists are concerned the Sami have almost nothing in common with the Finno-Ugric people.

In the first quarter of the XIV century the Kola peninsula was “discovered” by the Norwegians. In the XV century the Norwegians divided the Kola Sami into four groups - Kontchan, Ter, Lesheu and the Wild (not baptized).

At the present the total number of Sami in Scandinavia and Russia is 31 000. Their language has 55 dialects. The Kola Sami have 4 dialects - Notozersky, Babinky, Iokan’gsky and Kildinsky.

The total number of the Kola Sami is 1700. Once the famous Russian writer Prishvin wrote: ”I read somewhere that Lopari must vanish from the face of the earth because no one will ever sing songs about their miserable life. I have met them. These people “forgotten by the world” laugh with innocent laughter of a child!”. May be the modern world should take the out most care of the Sami, in case people of the world will forget how to laugh then Sami will teach them how to do it.

Nadezhda Bolshakova,
Sami, IIC

Photo by V. Zagumennov