Supreme Court recognizes Sami grazing rights
The Swedish Supreme Court has upheld the lower courts, in a landmark decision that recognizes the rights of Sweden’s indigenous population and their reindeer herding. The case has been before the courts here for 14 years. In 1997, 104 landowners in the northern province of Västerbotten sued three reindeer herding collectives owned by indigenous Sami, or Lapp, people in the area.
They charged that reindeer grazing was causing major damage to their land and forests, and protested that the Samis’ traditional rights in the area were not legal. The Samis argued that they had been herding there for countless generations, and before the Swedes had moved into the north. Both a district court and an appeals court agreed with the Samis, and the case finally ended up in the Swedish Supreme Court.