Sami Siida of North America
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The Sami Siida of North America is a loosely organized group of regional communities, primarily in Canada and the United States, who share the Sami (Saami) culture and heritage from northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. This area has traditionally been referred to using the endonyms Sápmi and Samiland as well as the exonym Lapland. Individuals within the North American Siida are immigrants, descendants of immigrants, or are supporters of the Sami culture, although may not have any family lineage from Sápmi.
Purpose of the North American Siida
The North American Siida often performs educational shows, Sami community get-togethers, and related events over the course of the year, often with other Scandinavian events such as FinnFestUSA, American Swedish Institute, and the Norwegian-American Bygdelagenes Fellesraad (NABF). The Siida also hosts a larger gathering approximately every two years called the "Siiddastallen."  Within the NABF, the Siida has a strong representative status as a separate Lag under that organization, under the Lapmark Lag.
The Siida also serves as a cultural ‘storehouse’ to disseminate and exchange knowledge between individuals about Sami culture and provide moral support for a cultural identity that is spread out over an entire continent. The Siida also acknowledges individuals who are considered ‘elders’ within the community because of their cultural knowledge, and who are sought after for this reason. The Siida also maintains an observer seat on the International Saami Council.
The Scandinavian Sami siida system, which covers a whole range of Sami culture and economic interests such as, pastoral rights for reindeer herding, geography, varied economic agreements, and describes a legal definition of varying degrees within each of the Scandinavian countries. Within North America, these legal definitions of “siida” do not apply. Rather it is a group of individuals and families who have chosen to identify and show support the Sami culture and the immigrant issues that are inherent of the North American Sami.
The Siida was started in 1995 and the Arran newsletter is the official publication of the Siida and is published four times a year. Arran is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.