During the opening ceremonies of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, I was fascinated by references to the Sami people in the region. Being only 11 at the time, I promptly forgot about these mysterious (well, mysterious to me) people.
Then today an AP article caught my eye. Apparently, the Sami peoples in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia today held their National Day today.
The Sami are one of the earliest inhabitants of the Arctic region. They may share a common ancestry with the Basque and Catalonian peoples. Their language is part of the Finnic family of languages. Today, after centuries of persecution, efforts are being made to preserve the language.
And the Sami's traditional occupation as reindeer herders may have contributed to the modern image of Santa Claus. Who knew?