The Saami are the only indigenous people in Finland. According to data collected by the Saami Parliament, around 10,500 Saami people live in Finland. It is difficult to estimate the total number of people speaking the Saami languages, because many have not registered Saami as their native language in the Population Information System. Under the Constitution, the Saami, as an indigenous people, have the right to maintain and develop their own language and culture. In their native region, the Saami have linguistic and cultural self-government.
The Saami native region comprises the municipalities of Enontekiö, Inari and Utsjoki and part of the Sodankylä region. The Saami people have more extensive linguistic rights in their native region than outside it. The Saami Language Act applies to all three Saami languages spoken in Finland: Inari Saami, Skolt Saami and North Saami.
Maija Iles, Senior Specialist, Legal Affairs
Ministry of Justice, Department for Democracy and Public Law, Autonomy and Equality Telephone:0295150038