Skolt Sámi or Skolts are a
visible Orthodox ethnic group in Lapland, Finland.
currently live in and around the villages of Sevettijärvi, Keväjärvi, Nellim in the
municipality of Inari and also in
the village of Neiden in the
municipality of Tana, Norway.
are considered to be the indigenous
people of the Kola
Peninsula and belong
to the eastern group of Sámi on account
of their language and traditions.
Current estimates put their number at approximately 700, of which
approximately 400 can speak Skolt
result of the Treaty of Tartu
(1920), the Skolt homeland was split in two: the western part,
Petsamo, became part of Finland
and the eastern part became part of the Soviet Union.
The border became a threat to the entire
identity of the Skolts as it grew difficult for them to live as
they traditionally had with reindeer husbandry, hunting and fishing
as the source of their livelihood.
After the Winter War
(1939), Finland lost
its portion of the Rybachiy
to the Soviet Union and after the Continuation War
(1941-1944), it lost
Petsamo, too. As a result, the Skolts living in Suonikylä and Paatsjoki were evacuated to Finland, with the Suonikylä
Skolts settling in Sevettijärvi, the Paatsjoki Skolts in Keväjärvi and along the Rautujoki
River of Sevettijärvi, and the Petsamo Skolts in the villages of Mustola, and Sarmijärvi in Nellim.
Saint Tryphon of Pechenga
converted the Skolts to Christianity
the 16th century and even today, the majority of Skolts are members
of the Eastern Orthodox