• Sweden's news in English

More freedom proposed for Sami reindeer herders

TT/David Landes · 16 Sep 2009, 15:13

Published: 16 Sep 2009 15:13 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

According to current laws, Sami reindeer herders are restricted from engaging in any other activities besides reindeer herding, something the working group finds out of date.

Today, fewer and fewer Sami are able to support themselves by tending to reindeer and as a result, the rules governing how Sami organize themselves to manage reindeer herding need to be updated.

Thus, the proposal would also allow Sami not involved in reindeer herding to become members of one of Sweden’s 51 samebys, the administrative and financial collectives which by law have the sole right to conduct reindeer herding in Sweden.

Currently, about 10 percent of Sweden’s Sami population belong to a sameby (literally ‘Sami village’ in English). In addition to the right to control reindeer herding, members of a sameby also have hunting and fishing rights within its designated area.

The government would also agree to consult with the Sami Parliament (Sametinget) when preparing legislation and regulations which would affect Sami living conditions, the working group wrote in an article published in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

Sara Larsson, head of the Sami Parliament’s governing board had a mixed reaction to the proposal.

“There are some good things there, but we had hoped for greater reforms which take into account the land and water rights of all Sami,” she told the TT news agency.

Larsson is worried that the proposal allowing Sami not involved in reindeer herding to become members of samebys may create internal divisions within the collectives.

Story continues below…

She is also critical of the working group for not proposing that Sweden sign on to the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 1989.

However, Larsson praised suggestions that would allow samebys to pursue activities other than reindeer herding and would ensure that the government consult the Sami Parliament regarding pertinent legislation.

An estimated 20,000 Sami live in Sweden, with the population concentrated in the far north of the country.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

20:53 September 16, 2009 by Coalbanks
A dilema for Sami & Swedes? For the Sami: live an increasinly poor life in the archaic, indigenous fashion or leave their indigenous ways & rights & join the common non-sami herd/assimilate. For the Swedes: Continue in the non-pc policies that encourage assimilation & extinguishment of indigenous rights or support/provide indigenous Sami benefits to anyone with any degree of Sami heritage regardless of how little connection they have to the indigenous Sami culture.
23:57 September 16, 2009 by badgerknox
what sort of economic activity are we talking here? What can't Samis do that every other Swede can do? I have little knowledge and really don't know. What will they do? Logging? Casinos like our Indians have in America? Pastoral lifestyles really don't equate to economic success, as far as I can see.
12:36 September 17, 2009 by karex
I'm not an expert on this but I believe that the title and some of the text of this article are a bit misleading. I have a friend who is a Sami and she's a CPA...

I think that this is how it works: there are restrictions about herding what are considered wild animals in Sweden, and the reindeer fall into that category. An exception has been made to the ethnic Sami since it is an important part of their culture and history. The average Swede cannot engage in reindeer herding. Even as a Sami, I believe that they must join a Sameby to have permission to herd. The restrictions on what kind of economic activities that are allowed are placed on the Sameby organizations, not the individual Samis themselves. As far as I understand, you only qualify for membership in a Sameby if you are an ethnic Sami. If you don't belong to a Sameby, you can do whatever you like, just like everyone else.
Today's headlines
Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Revealed: Game of Thrones could be coming to Sweden
Game of Thrones cast members at the Emmy Awards in September. Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

The producers of the hit show have asked for three rounds of location pictures of Swedish island Gotland.

Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available