Saami women’s migration in and from the Arctic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This article presents the findings on Saami women’s (N = 15) migration from the core Saami areas and between these regions, as a national and cross-national phenomenon, within the Saami core regions, from one country to another. The Saami people live traditionally in four countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia. More and more Saami people, similar to Indigenous people worldwide, now live in suburban areas outside their traditional core areas, as a result of long-term migration. However, some Saami people also choose to move or work between the Saami countries, which is known as cross-border migration. This article explores Saami migration, both within the Saami countries in the Arctic, and when they move to suburban areas away from the Arctic. These two migration types differ in terms of the motivations prompting them. The data gathered in this research show that the motivation for cross-border migration is to live in the Saami regions and be surrounded by the Saami language and culture, while suburban migration is motivated by the desire to find modern work and live among the rest of the world’s possibilities. Depending on their family situations, migrants may decide to either work or live in a different country or else commute between work and home. Saami ‘worldliness’ can be seen in their choice to migrate within the Arctic area, and, in this respect, the Saami women appear to be an important part of the workforce in terms of their language skills and education. The reachability to Saami language and cultural supplements are the reasons to migrate within the Saami core areas as a cross-border element. The possibility to reach the Saami cultural features is at least partly missed by moving away from the core areas to the urban centres outside the Saami core areas causing then diasporic connection to the Saami culture and places.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Future of the Arctic Human Population
Subtitle of host publicationMigration in the North
EditorsNafisa Yeasmin, Satu Uusiautti, Timo Koivurova, Timothy Heleniak
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781003185024
ISBN (Print)9781032026749, 9781032027500
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

Series Routledge Research in Polar Regions

Field of science

  • Social policy


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