• Indigenous peoples in Sápmi

    Indigenous peoples in Sápmi

    The Sámi people are the indigenous people of the northern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula and large parts of the Kola Peninsula and live in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. They number between 50,000 and 100,000.
  • People

    The Sámi peoples spreads across the countries Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.
    It is estimated that there are 50,000-10,000 Sámi people.
  • Politics

    Politically, the Sámi people are represented by three Sámi parliaments, one in Sweden, one in Norway and one in Finland, whereas on the Russian side they are organised into NGOs.
  • Challenges

    The main challenges for the Sámi peoples concerns extractive industry operations.
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  • Supreme Court recognizes Sami grazing rights

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.

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About IWGIA

IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for indigenous peoples worldwide. Read The Indigenous World.

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Phone: (+45) 53 73 28 30
E-mail: iwgia@iwgia.org
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