Indigenous Sami groups face each other in Swedish court over reindeer grazing rights
Today, a unique trial gets underway in the district court of Lycksele, northern Sweden to decide who has the right to herd reindeer in an area along Sweden’s Norwegian border.
The case sees two “sameby” (literally “Sami village”) in a dispute over who can herd reindeer in the area.
A sameby is not an physical place but instead a sort of economic and administrative association that is connected to a specific geographical area. And only official members of a sameby have the right to herd and breed reindeer in that area.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Northern Canadians want caribou calving grounds protected, WWF says, Radio Canada International
Finland: The Arctic railway: Building a future… or destroying a culture?, Eye on the Arctic special report
Norway: “The ‘Smart Arctic’ is Indigenous,” Saami leader tells Arctic Frontiers, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Authorities in northwest Russia move to protect wild reindeer, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Indigenous reindeer herders request emergency aid after drought, wildfires ravage Sweden, Eye on the Arctic
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One should add that “sameby” is a construct created by Swedish state to define an interface between the state and the Sami community for taxation and such purposes. It is not based on the traditional way that the Sami have organized their society. The sami concept is/was “sida” (pronounced seaduh).