Sami native region (Finland)
The Sami native region of Finland (Saamelaisten kotiseutualue in Finnish, Sámiid ruovttuguovllu in Northern Sami, Samernas hembygdsområde in Swedish) is the northernmost part of Lappi administrative region in Finland (formerly Lappi Province), home of approximately half of Finland's Sami population. The area is defined in and protected by the Finnish constitution (17 § and 121 §) to be autonomous on issues relating to the Sami culture and language.
The Sami native region consists of the municipalities of Enontekiö, Utsjoki and Inari as well as a part of the municipality of Sodankylä. Finns are the majority population on the area. An important activity organized in Finland's Sami native region is the election of the Sami Parliament of Finland (Saamelaiskäräjät) every four years. Only Sami residents are eligible in the elections. The Sami Parliament of Finland was established in 1973.
Depending on the definition of "Sami," various percentages may be given for Sami population's share in different municipalities. The Finnish Population Registry Center defines a Sami as a person whose mother tongue is Sami (based on what the parents tell at birth or later changes). Based on this, the Sami percentages in the municipalities are:
- Inari 5.7%
- Enontekiö 7.4%
- Utsjoki 46.7%
- Sodankylä 1.4%
However, the Sami Parliament of Finland applies a wider definition by defining a Sami as a person who considers himself a Sami and has at least one parent or grandparent who spoke a Sami language. Thus the official percentages are:
- Inari 30%
- Enontekiö 19%
- Utsjoki 70%
- Sodankylä 4%
- Constitution of Finland (in English)
- On the other side of the Arctic by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (in English)
- Article on the Sami native region by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health of Finland (in Finnish)