– «samefolkets dag» eller «samenes nasjonaldag»?
This article is based on the current debate about whether or not the official Sami flag day 6 February may and should be referred to as "Sami Day" or "Sami National Day." While the Norwegian government is consistently referring to the Sami as a people (folk), the Sami decided in 2005 that the celebration referred to the Sami as a nation. The use of the term “nation” by the Sámi Parliament has created reactions among parts of the non Sami population, especially in current and historical Sami core areas, and in some political parties, especially representatives from the Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet). The negative statements in connection with the national identity of the Sami, reflects specific attitudes to the power relationship between the majority community and the Sami.
In light of these criticisms, it may be useful to see the historical development of the Sámi political mobilization and the common European tradition from which it was born. The Sami National Consciousness grew up in the early 1900s, equivalent to Norwegian nationalism in the wake of union resolution with Sweden. At first glance, The Sami opposition in the period after 1905 seems to be in the business and cultural spheres, but looking at the sources, there is a language that was also indicative of the Norwegian majority community in the same period. The Sami opposition to the Norwegian authorities developed early strategies to respond to assimilation and cultural imperialism. Although the pressure of the Sami opposition fell in periods, it was an important self-awareness of the Sami as political subjects. The Sami initiative is important symbols of Sami political commitment and the national consciousness. The Sami resistance struggle testifies that the conditions of the Sami not only came under the reconciliation policy of the Norwegian authorities, but that Sami demands for rights and respect for language and culture have been fought through well over hundred years.
The fact that the Sami nation-building process has been overlooked in Norwegian history writing is arguably an important reason why the idea of a Sami nation seems alien, provocative and partly revolutionary from a majority point of view. However, the Sami nation constitutes itself first and foremost as a cultural nation (cultural heritage, languages, myths, folklore, customs and history), not through demands for political independence.
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