This chapter describes the indigenous people of the North Scandinavia and, in particular, Kola Peninsula - the Saami people. This story doesn’t deal with the Saami of today but records of geographers and travelers of the last centuries; it could neither given a wide berth nor taken for granted. Today the Kola Saami are no different from us, they keep their culture and traditions, this story is about Saami’s old living as it was when the first European travelers came.
Lapps, hereafter Saami - are the representatives of Finno-Ugric ethnic group of the northern Europe. They are nonuniformly distributed geographically: the major part inhabits the territory of Finland, Norway and Sweden, the other - on the Kola Peninsula, in Russia (of about 1900 persons).
Generally, naming of this ethnic group as Lapps comes from Scandinavia. In ancient times Russians and Scandinavians called Saami like this. However, at that time they were also called as «lop» or even «Loplyane». That is why the territory where they live was named Lapland that can be literally translated as «Land of Lapps».
It should be noted the difference for Kola Saami and Scandinavian Saami. The first ones are called Saam’ or Saame, Saami, the representatives that live in the Scandinavian Peninsula are called different - Samek or Samelats. Recently both researchers and writers concurred that Lapps should be called Saami.
Kola Saami can be considered independent ethnic group. Previously Saami were found on the territory that now belongs to Karelia alongside the area of living nowadays.
As a rule, Saami activities depended on their habitat as well as local nature conditions. In most cases they are hunting (for land and sea animals), reindeer husbandry and fishing.
Saami identity is great. Their way of life, character is hard to explain and, therefore, being ethnographic mystery that attracts the attention of researchers.
Publius Cornelius Tacitus in his manuscript «The Origin and Situation of the Germans» pointed out their vulnerability and be ready to go with the flow.
They are unpretentious in food and clothing. «Essentials of life» for them is what Mother Nature will bring. Having no roof over their heads they are like vagabonds searching for livelihood. Their helpers are arrows with bone points instead of iron ones. It is fascinating that both women and men take part in hunting.
Moreover, both male and female equally claim for game. The only thing for the old and children left for themselves is to find shelter from bad weather and wild beasts under tents made of tree branches. It may seem absurd but everybody accepts it.
They prefer this way of living instead of working in the field and to have own house. They are lazy enough to consider necessary giving any other thoughts. The saddest thing is that they treat light-heartedly pagan idols, people around and themselves.
Publius Cornelius Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus, manuscript «The Origin and Situation of the Germans», 98 year, first century AD.