The Sami people, also spelled Sámi or Saami, are the indigenous people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are the only indigenous people of Scandinavia recognized and protected under the international conventions of indigenous peoples, and hence the northernmost indigenous people of Europe. Sami ancestral lands span an area of approximately 388,350 km2 (150,000 sq. mi.), which is approximately the size of Sweden, in the Nordic countries. Their traditional languages are the Sami languages and are classified as a branch of the Uralic language family.
Traditionally, the Sami have pursued a variety of livelihoods, including coastal fishing, fur trapping and sheep herding. Their best-known means of livelihood is semi-nomadic reindeer herding, with which about 10% of the Sami are currently connected and 2,800 actively involved on a full-time basis. For traditional, environmental, cultural and political reasons, reindeer herding is legally reserved only for Sami people in certain regions of the Nordic countries.
The Sámi are and often known in other languages by the exonyms Lap, Lapp, or Laplanders, but many Sami regard these as pejorative terms. Variants of the name Lapp were originally used in Sweden and Finland and, through Swedish, adopted by all major European languages: English: Lapps, German, Dutch: Lappen, Russian: лопари́ (lopari), Ukrainian: лопарі́ , French: Lapons, Greek: Λάπωνες (Lápōnes), Italian: Lapponi, Polish: Lapończycy, Spanish: Lapón, Portuguese: Lapões, Turkish: Lâpon.