Sami demand rights as indigenous people

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The Sami flag. (Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP)
The Sami flag in Swedish Lapland. (Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP)
Sweden’s indigenous Sami people no longer want to be considered a national minority.

Instead the Sami Parliament calls for the legal rights and formal recognition of indigenous people, Radio Sami news reports.

The Swedish government officially recognized the Samis as an indigenous people in the late 1970’s, but they still don’t enjoy the legal rights of other indigenous people as stated by the United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

Question of land ownership

Instead, they’re considered one of Sweden’s five national minorities. The current legislation gives Samis the right to things like childcare and elderly care in their native language, but if the Swedish government went with the UN’s recommendations instead, it would give the Samis a much clearer ownership of their land.

“Politicians are trying to escape their responsibility by not fully recognizing our status as an indigenous people,” says Josefina Lundgren Skerk of the Sami Parliament.

The Sami Parliament will put forward this demand to the Swedish government in September.

Related stories from around the North:

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Finland: Sámi petition gains ground in Finland, YLE News

Greenland: What the EU seal ban has meant for Inuit communities in the Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Alarming situation for indigenous peoples in Russia, Barents Observer

Russia: Russia to give indigenous peoples priority in Barents chairmanship, Barents Observer

Sweden: UN report critical of Sweden’s treatment of the Sami, Radio Sweden

United States:  Alaska cultural tourism comes with challenges, Alaska Dispatch News

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Radio Sweden

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