Saami (also referred to as Sami) in Scandinavia can be compared to many other indigenous peoples. They now live in relative harmony with the mainstream population, but the relationship has by no means been one without conflict. In the past the Sami have been known as Lapps, though this term is now widely considered to be derogatory. The giant area named Sapmi, which covers all land north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Russian Kola Peninsula, as well as south into Jämtland and Dalarna in the northwest part of Sweden near the Norwegian border, is partly recognized as a Sami nation in all these countries. In Sweden, the Sami homeland area covers more than 150 000 square kilometers, around 35 percent of the countries' total area. There are Sami political, cultural and youth organizations in all four countries and a Sami parliament in each of the three Nordic countries. The Sametingslag, the Swedish Sami Parliament was established on January 1, 1993.
Through the years many efforts have been made to assimilate the Sami into the mainstream culture of Sweden with the hard custody of Sami peoples resulting in a great loss of their culture. The Sami still bear the consequences of language and culture loss related to generations of them being taken to missionary and/or state-run boarding schools, and the legacy of laws that were created to deny their rights. Yoiking, drumming and scarification have been regarded as "magic" or "sorcery", and banned during various periods of history. The Sami language has been forbidden in schools. In 1913-1920, the Swedish race-segregation policy created an institute which collected research material from living people and graves. Sami women were sterilized under the auspices of a programme that was in existence until 1975. In the 1990s the Swedish government revoked the Sami exclusive right for hunting within their communities and created a new law permitting non-Sami people to fish in lakes previously reserved for the Sami. Throughout history, settlers have been en-couraged to move to the northern regions through incentives such as land - and water - rights, tax-allowances, and military exemptions. Strong economic development in the form of mines and railways has led to a weakening of status and economy for the Saami. In 1998 Sweden formally apologized for the wrongs committed against the Sami and the authorities have been making an effort to build up Sami cultural institutions and promote Sami culture and language to make up for past suppression. But economic development, like the world's largest onshore wind farm being built where the Eastern Kikkejaure village has its winter reindeer pastures, are a cause of concern for the Sami.
Though they have, in most aspects, been fully assimilated in modern Swedish society, the Sami still proudly and energetically retain their traditional culture and lifestyle. A large majority of the Sami live in permanent urban and rural settings but an element of their traditional nomadic lifestyle remains as the reindeer herders and their families follow the herds over huge areas, from the forests in winter to the mountain highlands in summer, though today they use modern equipment such as snowmobiles, motorcycles and helicopters, rather than skis and dogs. The traditional Sami tepee is still used.