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Tornedalians (Sweden)

Mećn-kieli, tornedalingar

Last modified: 2005-06-03 by phil nelson
Keywords: tornedalians | mean-kieli |
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[Flag of the Tornedalians] by Ivan Sache

[Flag of the Tornedalians] by Ivan Sache

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About the Tornedalian people

A Finnish minority, mainly in Norrbotten Province.

Unlike the recent immigrant Finnish group (SwedenFinns), the Tornedalians are native to Northern Sweden, as a result of arbiterary border settlement between Russia and Sweden in the 19th Century. Their language – mećn-kieli – is a form of old Finnish, substantially different from Finland Finnish.

Only recently, both Tornedalians and Swedish Finns were recognized as minorities in Sweden, joining Sami, Rom, Sinti and Jews as protected groups with cultural autonomy. The number of mećn-kieli speakers is estimated between 60-75 thousand.

According to Birger Winsa of Finnish Institute (Finska institutionen) of Stockholms universitet (Stockholm University []), they fly a semi-official flag of white-blue-yellow at their gatherings. The horizontal tri-color reflects colors of Swedish and Finnish flags. There is no universal consensus on that flag among Tornedalians, and some minority of them flies a four-bar, also horizontal, with the red stripe added at the top.
Chris Kretowicz, 20 May 2001