What is the Sámi Flag?

The current Sámi flag was designed by the artist Astrid Båhl and approved by the 13th Nordic Sámi Conference in 1986. It was a revision of an earlier Sámi flag, designed by Synnøve Persen in 1977. The newer flag added a circle (representing the sun and the moon) and a green stripe, to the red, yellow and blue of Persen’s design. The sun and moon symbol derives from similar symbols on old Sámi shamanic drums, and was inspired by the Sámi poet Anders Fjellner’s (1795-1876) epic poem “Paiven Parneh” (The Son of the Sun), which tells of the origins of the Sámi people as descendants of the Son of the Sun and a giantess.

The Sámi flag was deliberately designed to be different from the Nordic cross flags, and does not comply with the rules of European heraldry. This is, in part, to show that the Sámi nation is not part of the Eurocentric state system.

Today the Sámi flag is recognized and honored in Norway, Sweden and Finland on eleven official flag days. It is also flown at Sámi events, and when Sámi people are celebrating special occasions, such as February 6, our national day.