Aboriginal Policy Research Consortium International (APRCi)


Henry Minde

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Journal of Indigenous Peoples Rights


In May 2002 the Norwegian Sami Parliament discussed a motion put forward by the government of establishing a Sami people's fund as an act of reconciliation; to compensate for the state's former policy of norwe- gianisation [assimilation]. In conjunction with this case, the present article was originally written as a background paper to depict the present state of knowledge about the minority policy toward the Sami (1850- 1980). The paper shows that on one hand great efforts have been made to clarify the political aspects of norwegianisation towards the Sami and the Kven. One can conclude that the state's efforts to make the Sami drop their language and change the basic values of their culture and national identity have been extensive and long-lasting. On the other hand, the consequences for the victims of this policy, both economically and social-psychological, have so far been examined to a small extent. The few contemporary sources from the Sami children's encounter with the school system are used to discuss the methodology and the ethical problems in studying the consequences of the meeting between a dominant and a minority culture.

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