The nomadic Sami people of Scandinavia are the only European Union’s only “indigenous” people, the bloc’s rotating presidency has claimed.
A social media account for the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU has described the nomadic Sami people of Scandinavia and north-west Russia, once more commonly described as Lapps or Laplanders, as being the EU’s only “indigenous” people.
The claim has been resolutely rejected by many, with one Member of the European Parliament (MEP) telling Breitbart that “all European peoples are indigenous to Europe”.
In a post celebrating Sami National Day, the account of the Presidency of the Council of the EU — which rotates between EU member-states, though there is a separate President of the European Council, currently Charles Michel — described the ethnic minority population as being the “only” population indigenous to the territory of the European Union.
“The Sami are the EU’s only indigenous people,” the presidency, which is currently held by Sweden, declared, describing the Sami as living in a number of parts of Northern Europe “since time immemorial” — a period which, at least according to English law, ended as recently as 1189 A.D.
Today is #SamiNationalDay!
The Sami are the EU’s only indigenous people. Since time immemorial, they have lived in an area stretching across parts of four countries: Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia. This area is called Sápmi. pic.twitter.com/c4UGWWcXhP
— Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU (@sweden2023eu) February 6, 2023
This claim perplexed a number of netizens online, however, with many asking the EU-linked account where the rest of Europe’s population is supposed to have come from.
They were not the only people to cast doubt over the social media account’s claim, with Flemish MEP Tom Vandendriessche outright rejecting the assertion by the Swedish council presidency.
“All European peoples are indigenous to Europe. Just as all the African peoples are indigenous to Africa,” the Vlaams Belang politician explained to Breitbart Europe. “French are indigenous to France, Italians to Italy, and Flemish to Flanders.”
“Our ancestors built our unique civilization and enlightened the world with our arts, scientific breakthroughs and philosophical insights,” he continued. “Standing on the shoulder of these giants, it is our duty to pass this heritage on to our children and grandchildren. It is our birthright.”
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Others have reportedly questioned why other minority groups present within the European Union are not included in the “indigenous” bracket.
One particular population raised was that of Irish Travellers who live in Ireland, parts of Britain, Canada, and the United States.
Also known as Mincéirs, the population has existed as a distinct ethnic group from the local Irish population for centuries, with a distinct language, culture and itinerant lifestyle setting them apart from other populations on the island.
The failure on the part of the Swedish presidency to describe this group as being “indigenous” is made even stranger by the fact that many within the population identify themselves as such, with the Irish Traveller Movement website defining the ethnic group as “an indigenous minority”.
Breitbart Europe has contacted the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU for comment.
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