The Sami are Sweden's, and in principle Europe's, only indigenous people. The Sami culture is a part of Umeå's diversity and the city's history. Umeå will be the first Capital of Culture in Europe to spotlight an indigenous people.
Since 1642 Umeå has had three reindeer heads in its coat of arms and a reindeer is also featured in the provincial coat of arms of Västerbotten County. The Sami culture is a natural part of Västerbotten's and Umeå's history. The Sami culture in Umeå is visible today among other things in exhibitions at Bildmuseet and the Museum of Västerbotten. Sami Week is arranged every year. Umeå University conducts research and offers programmes and courses in Sami language and culture. At the beginning of 2009, Umeå University took the decision to create another academic research centre. During Umeå's year as European Capital of Culture in 2014, the mottos will be the Northern Space, diversity and cross-border interaction. The Sami culture is highlighted in several different ways; the eight seasons of the Sami calendar form the foundation of the programme. Over the course of the year, the programme will comprise different forms of Sami cultural expression such as improvised chant, handicraft, modern Sami music, design, children's culture, films, and language and concerts, among much else. One of the highlights of the year will of course be Sami Week, which will take place in March.
Quick facts about the Sami:
- Sweden's only recognised indigenous people
- One of Sweden's five national minorities
- Exist in four countries
- Speak nine different languages
- Have been represented by the Sami Parliament since 1993