The Saami Council is a voluntary Saami organization (a non–governmental organization), with Saami member organizations in Finland, Russia, Norway and Sweden. Since it was founded in 1956 the Saami Council has actively dealt with Saami policy tasks. For this reason the Saami Council is one of the indigenous peoples’ organizations which have existed longest.
The primary aim of the Saami Council is the promotion of Saami rights and interests in the four countries where the Saami are living. The main task of the Saami Council is to consolidate the feeling of affinity among the Saami people, to attain recognition for the Saami as a nation and to maintain the cultural, political, economic and social rights of the Saami in the legislation of the four states. (Norway, Sweden, Russia and Finland) and in agreements between states and Saami representative organizations. The Saami Council participates in international processes on topics such as indigenous peoples, human rights and arctic and environment.
Saami Council renders opinions and makes proposals on questions concerning Saami people’s livelihoods, rights, language and culture and especially on issues concerning Saami in different countries.
The Saami Council gathers approximately twice a year to discuss current issues regarding the rights and culture of the Saami and other indigenous peoples. The Executie Board and the Secretariat are the preparatory organs of the council. Specialized work of the Saami Council is performed in units dedicated to important topics. The Saami cultural cooperation is handled by the cultural committee. The tasks of this committee is to increase and spread knowledge about the Saami culture, to improve the cooperation between cultural institutions and the Saami Council and to distribute cultural funds.
The Saami Council is funded by grants. The Saami Council is chaired by a president, who is elected for two years at a time.