Indigenous Peoples Week in Udmurt language

Finno-Ugric People

related: indigenous, europe, sami
spotlight: Vuokkiniemi, Finno-Ugric Cultural Capital 2017
countries: finland, udmurtia, hungary


According to recent studies, the peoples that speak Finno-Ugric languages have lived in Europe for about ten millennia.

It seems that before the Great Migration, primarily Finno-Ugric languages were spoken in Eastern and Central Europe. Today, almost 25 million people belong to the Uralic (Finno-Ugric and Samoyed) language family, living within an area that stretches from Norway in the West to the Ob River region in the East, and to the lower reaches of the Danube in the South. Thus, various Finno-Ugric enclaves can be found within this massive domain. These groups are generally surrounded by people speaking Indo-European (Germanic, Slavic, Romance) and Turkic languages.

Uralic is sometimes used as a synonym for Finno-Ugric, though Finno-Ugric is widely understood to exclude the Samoyedic languages. Speakers of Finno-Ugric languages represent about 24 different peoples, whose political fate and status vary greatly. Despite the fact that they are the aboriginal inhabitants of the territories they live in, most of them have never had their own nation state. Only about 15 million Hungarian, 5 million Finnish, and 1 million Estonian speakers have their own independent states.

The Sámis , on the other hand, live in the territories of four different countries. The Western Sámis (in Norway, Sweden, and Finland) have been successful in not only preserving but even developing their culture and ethnic identity. The first Nordic Sámi conference was held in 1953. Together with the First Nations of Northern America, the Western Sámis founded the World Council of Indigenous Peoples in 1975.

Although on the western shore of the Baltic Sea in Latvia the Livonians (or Livs) have been constitutionally recognised as an indigenous people, the Livonian language is taught only at the university level. In the 1990s, there were fewer than 20 Livonian-speaking natives.

Setos are noticeably different from Estonians ethnologically and have claimed a separate ethnicity. This is not recognised by the Estonian state, but Estonia still supports Seto culture and language with a special fund.

The remaining 17 out of the 24 different Finno-Ugric peoples live in Russia. The largest Finno-Ugric peoples have their own so-called republics (the Karelians, the Mordvins, the Maris, and the Udmurts) or autonomous regions (the Khantys, the Mansis, and the Nenets), in all of which they are minorities. The Vepses (or Vepsians), Ingrian Finns, Izhorians, and the Selkups (Ostyak Samoyeds) have no territorial autonomy of any kind.

Indigenous Peoples Week in Khanty language

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7th Congress of the Finno-Ugric Peoples took place June 15-17 in Lahti, Finland
Hashtag: #FUcongress2016
Twitter @FUcongress2016
Facebook FUCongress
Kontakte FUcongress2016

One of the thematic sessions - Economy and environment included presentations and discussions about
• Sustainable economic development, Indigenous peoples and business;
• Sustainable tourism (ecological and ethnic tourism).
Participants: aivar ruukel



Elsewhere on the Web


Finno-Ugric HeritageFinno Ugric Tastes
Finno-Ugric capitals of Culture






Информационный центр Финно-угорских народов


Listen to Finno-Ugric music playlist on YouTube


Finno-Ugric recipes on YouTube
Finno-Ugric Tastes on Facebook


"My interest is in the culture of Finno-Ugric and Siberian people of which many are small is not casual as well. They are not as noticeable as the large developed nations but, at the same time, they keep their unique traditions and respectful attitude to environment and have a lot which they can teach us", writes artist Nikolay Fomin about his work.

КостяникаМорошкаТолокнянкаОблепихаМалинаКрасная смородина


Where to taste Finno-Ugric local food?
See the map



October 2011 First Finno-Ugric Branding Conference in Tallinn. Conference initiated a systematic process for raising global awareness of, and interest in the Finno-Ugric common cultural roots and ongoing international cooperation (“Finno-Ugric movement”). More on Conference Website.

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