Project of the Week: Sámi Cultural Centre to keep Sámi people's cultural heritage alive
(23 April 2012)
The project 'Sámi Cultural Centre' in Inari, Lapland(Northern Finland) has been operational since January 2012. It aims to create better opportunities for the Sámi people in Finland to preserve and develop their own language, culture and business activities. It also helps to manage and develop the Sámi cultural self-government and to improve their living conditions.
The Sámi people are the only indigenous people in the European Union whose cultural and linguistic rights are secured in Finland's constitutional legislation, but only inside the Sámi homeland. Taking into account the fact that 65% out of 9000 Finnish Sámi people are living outside of their homeland, the existence of the cultural centre will provide job opportunities and therefore incentives for young and educated Sámi people to return to their region of origin.
The 'Sámi Cultural Centre', which benefitted from an EU investment of EUR 2.6 million, is a multifunctional building which provides the Sámi population with welfare and education services and support for business development. It also offers cultural services like language courses, language studies, events, congresses and fairs to promote the Sámi culture and hosts the Sámi Library and Archives. Moreover, two enterprises were established in its walls: a restaurant and the Sámi handicraft shop.
So far 50 people are working in the 'Sámi Cultural Centre'. The centre is intending to employ 10 more people in the near future.
Mr Juha Guttorm, Executive Director of the Sámi Parliament, and responsible for the implementation of the project, says:
"Sámi Cultural Centre is mainly intended to benefit Sámi people, their culture and language remaining and to support their cultural self-government, but it also benefits other people in the region like culture operators, tourists, event visitors and event organizers. It has therefore a positive impact on the economy in the region and contributes to the creation of growth and jobs. By its virtual studies, beneficiaries are Sámi culture and language students from all around Finland".
More information on the Sami Cultural Centre:
- Regional Council of Lapland (managing authority)
- Sámi Parliament (project implementer)