Thursday’s ruling brought to an end a decade long legal battle that pitted Girjas, the small cooperative that organizes reindeer herding in the area, against the state which owns the land.
The verdict means the Sami community in Norrbotten county will control who gets to fish and hunt small game in the group’s reindeer herding area which covers some 5,500 square kilometers in parts of Gällivare and Kiruna municipalities.
That right used to belong to the Swedish state, which managed hunting and fishing through local county administrative boards. Though the court said its ruling only applied to Girjas and not all Sami areas in general.
In response to the ruling, the government says it will need a thorough review of the verdict first before making any decisions on what to do next.
Related stories from around the North:
Finland: The Arctic railway: Building a future… or destroying a culture?, Eye on the Arctic special report
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
United States: Bill to protect ANWR passes early hurdle in Washington, CBC News