Today Saami people mostly reside in arctic regions of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. Their prehistoric trajectories, predating “borders,” are as nonlinear as the antecedent trajectories that implicate more and more, eventually all, of us humans. Saami and other Fourth World peoples share concerns about the survival of their cultures, their languages, themselves. Their “homeland” consists in the rights they claim in their now enveloping nation-states. In contrast, refugees' historic trajectories have entailed the transgression of borders—centripetally and centrifugally, by gradual or urgent leaks and absorptions—sometimes landing them in the same, already contested, spaces. In this essay, traditionally nomadic Saami encounter the most contemporary of global migrants and refugees.

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