Sámi Parliament of Norway

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Coordinates: 69°28′14.24″N 25°29′45.62″E / 69.4706222°N 25.4960056°E / 69.4706222; 25.4960056

Sámi Parliament in Norway

Northern Sami: Sámediggi
Lule Sami: Sámedigge
Pite Sami: Sámedigge
Ume Sami: Sámiediggie
Southern Sami: Saemiedigkie
Skolt Sami: Sääʹmteʹǧǧ
Norwegian: Sametinget
8th Sámi Parliamentary Assembly
Coat of arms or logo
Founded9 October 1989 (1989-10-09)
Preceded byNorwegian Sámi Council
Tom Sottinen, Labour
since 15 June 2018
Deputy speaker
Tor Gunnar Nystad, NSR
since 12 October 2017
President of the Sámi Parliament
Aili Keskitalo, NSR
since 12 October 2017
Mandatfordeling Sametinget 2017-2021.svg
Political groups
Governing council (23)
  •   Norwegian Sámi Association/NSR-SáB joint list (18)
  •   Johttisápmelaččaid Listu (1)
  •   Centre Party (2)
  •   Åarjel-Saemiej Gïelh (1)
  •   Non-affiliated (1) 1

Official opposition (7)

Other opposition (9)

Open list proportional representation
Modified Sainte-Laguë method
Last election
11 September 2017
Next election
Meeting place
Sámi Parliament of Norway Building
Karasjok, Norway
1Member of Sámi Parliament Elisabeth Erke announced on 7 May 2018 that she would resign from the Labour Party and serve as a non-affiliated member of the Sámi Parliament. On 21 August 2018, the Sámi newspaper Ságat reported that Erke had joined the Centre Party and was henceforth a part of the coalition. 2Member of Sámi Parliament Kåre Olli announced on 12 June 2018 that he would resign from the Labour Party and serve as a non-affiliated member of the Sámi Parliament.
Plenary 2013–17
Aerial photo of the parliament

The Sámi Parliament of Norway (Norwegian: Sametinget, Northern Sami: Sámediggi, Lule Sami and Pite Sami: Sámedigge, Ume Sami: Sámiediggie, Southern Sami: Saemiedigkie, Skolt Sami: Sääʹmteʹǧǧ) is the representative body for people of Sámi heritage in Norway. It acts as an institution of cultural autonomy for the indigenous Sami people.

The Parliament was opened on 9 October 1989. The seat is in the village of Kárášjohka (Karasjok) in Kárášjohka Municipality in Troms og Finnmark county. It currently has 39 representatives, who are elected every four years by direct vote from 7 constituencies. The last election was in 2017. Unlike in Finland, the 7 constituencies cover all of Norway. The current president is Aili Keskitalo who represents the Norwegian Sámi Association.


Plenary of the inaugural Sámi Parliament in 1989

In 1964, the Norwegian Sámi Council was established to address Sámi matters. The members of the body were appointed by state authorities. This body was replaced by the Sámi Parliament.

In 1978, the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate published a plan that called for the construction of a dam and hydroelectric power plant that would create an artificial lake and inundate the Sámi village of Máze. This plan was met by strong opposition from the Sámi, and resulted in the Alta controversy. As a result of the controversy, the Norwegian government held meetings in 1980 and 1981 with a Sámi delegation appointed by the Norwegian Sámi Association, the Sámi Reindeer Herders’ Association of Norway and the Norwegian Sámi Council. The meetings resulted in the establishment of a committee to discuss Sámi cultural issues, and the Sámi Rights Committee addressing Sámi legal relations. The latter proposed a democratically elected body for the Sámi, resulting in the Sámi Act of 1987. In addition, the Sámi Rights Committee resulted in the 1988 amendment of the Norwegian Constitution, and the adoption of the Finnmark Act in 2005.[1]

Harald V opening the new building in 2000

The Sámi Act (1987:56),[2] stipulating the responsibilities and powers of the Norwegian Sámi Parliament, was passed by the Norwegian Parliament on 12 June 1987 and took effect on 24 February 1989. The first session of the Sámi Parliament was convened on 9 October 1989 and was opened by King Olav V.


Sven-Roald Nystø, Aili Keskitalo and Ole Henrik Magga were the first three presidents

The Norwegian Sámi Parliament plenary (dievasčoahkkin) has 39 representatives elected by direct vote from 7 constituencies. The plenary is the highest body in the Sámi Parliament and it is sovereign in the execution of the Sámi Parliaments duties within the framework of the Sámi Act. The representatives from the largest party (or from a collaboration of parties) form a governing council (Sámediggeráđđi), and selects a president. Although the position of vice-president was formally removed from the Sámi Parliament's Rules of Procedure in 2013, it is considered the concern of the President of the Sámi Parliament whether he or she wants to appoint a vice-president. The governing council is responsible for executing the roles and responsibilities of the parliament between plenary meetings. In addition there are multiple thematic committees addressing specific cases.[3]


President Term Party
Ole Henrik Magga 1989–1993 Norwegian Sámi Association
Sven-Roald Nystø 1997–2001
Aili Keskitalo 2005–2007
Egil Olli 2007–2009 Labour Party
Aili Keskitalo 2013–2016 Norwegian Sámi Association
Vibeke Larsen 2016–2017 non-affiliated
Aili Keskitalo 2017–present Norwegian Sámi Association


The Sámi Parliament building in Norway
The Guovdageaidnu office of the Sámi Parliament of Norway

The Sámi Parliament of Norway is located in Karasjok (Kárášjohka), and the building was inaugurated on 2 November 2000. There are also offices in Guovdageaidnu (Kautokeino), Unjárga (Nesseby), Gáivuotna (Kåfjord), Romsa(Tromsø), Skánik(Evenskjær) Ájluokta (Drag), Aarbort(Hattfjelldal) and Snåase (Snåsa).

The town of Kárášjohka is considered an important center of Sámi culture in Norway. Approximately 80% of the town's population is Sámi-speaking, and the town also hosts Sámi broadcasting stations and several public and private Sámi institutions such as the Sámi Museum and the organization Sami Trade and Industry.[4][5]


The building was designed by the architects Stein Halvorsen & Christian Sundby, who won the Norwegian government's call for projects in 1995, and inaugurated in 2005. The government called for a building such that "the Sami Parliament appears in a dignified way" and "reflects Sami architecture." Hence the peaked structure of the Plenary Assembly Hall resembles the tipis the Sámi used as a nomadic culture. The parliament building also houses a Sámi library focusing on books in the Sámi language or on Sámi topics, and the Sámi chamber of commerce, Sámi Trade and Industry'.[6][7]


The parliament works with political issues it considers relevant or of interest to the Sámi people. The responsibilities of the Sámi Parliament in Norway are: "(1) to serve as the Sámi’s elected political body to promote political initiatives and (2) to carry out the administrative tasks delegated from national authorities or by law to the Sami Parliament.".[3]

The extent of responsibility that was assigned and transferred from the Norwegian government at the time of establishment was modest (1989). However, more responsibilities have been added including:[8]

  • Management of the Sámi Development Fund, which is used for grants to Sami organizations and Sami duodji (1989).
  • Responsibility for the development of the Sámi language in Norway, including allocation of funds to Sámi language municipalities and counties (1992).
  • Responsibility for Sámi culture, including a fund from the Norwegian Council for Cultural Affairs (1993).
  • Protection of Sámi cultural heritage sites (1994).
  • Development of Sámi teaching aids, including allocation of grants for this purpose (2000).
  • Election of 50% of the members to the board in the Finnmark Estate (2006).
The library of the Sámi Parliament in Norway.

One of the responsibilities is ensuring that the section 1–5 of the Saami Act (1987:56)[2] is upheld, i.e., that the Sámi languages and Norwegian continue to have the same status. A good example of this is the current situation in Tysfjord, where speakers of Lule Sámi cannot conduct their official business in that language as the municipality has not provided anyone who can speak it to assist them.[citation needed] This is the only municipality in Norway where speakers of that language should theoretically be able to speak it with officials, but this has not come to fruition; therefore, the Sámi Parliament must fight for this cause with Tysfjord and must bring it to the attention of the Norwegian Government, if Tysfjord fails to rectify the situation.



Funding is granted by the Norwegian state over various national budget lines. But the parliament can distribute the received funds according to its own priorities. In the Norwegian government the main responsibility for Sámi affairs, including the allocation of funds, is the Ministry of Local government.[3]

Salaries and other expenses[edit]

The president's salary is 80% of that of the members of the Norwegian cabinet. The salary of the other 4 members of the Sámediggeráđđi (governing council) is 75% of the president's salary. The speaker's salary is 80% of the president's.[9]


To be eligible to vote or be elected to the Norwegian Sámi Parliament a person needs to be included in the Sámi Parliament’s electoral roll. In order to be included the following criteria must be met as stipulated in Section 2–6 of the Sámi Act: "Everyone who declares that they consider themselves to be Sámi, and who either has Sámi as his or her home language, or has or has had a parent, grandparent or great-grandparent with Sámi as his or her home language, or who is a child of someone who is or has been registered in the Sámi Parliament’s electoral roll, has the right to be enrolled in the Electoral roll of the Sámi Parliament in the municipality of residence."[3] Results of the last election:

e • d Summary of the 11 September 2017 Norwegian Sámi parliamentary election results
Parties Votes % +/− Seats +/−
  Norwegian Sami Association
(Norgga Sámiid Riikkasearvi, Norske Samers Riksforbund, NSR)
3.303 28.1 +3.9 16 +5
  Norwegian Labour Party
(Norgga Bargiidbellodat, Arbeiderpartiet)
1,998 17.0 −4.1 9 −1
  Árja 911 7.7 –3.8 1 –3
  Centre Party (Guovddásbellodat, Senterpartiet) 889 7.6 +2.8 2 +2
  Progress Party (Ovddádusbellodat, Fremskrittspartiet) 879 7.5 –1.5 1 –1
  Nordkalottfolket 772 6.6 +2.2 3
  Conservative Party (Olgešbellodat, Høyre) 752 6.4 –0.6 1 –1
  Norwegian Sami National Association and
Sami People joint list
(Norgga Sámiid Riikkasearvvi ja Sámeálbmot Bellodaga oktasaslista, NSR felles)
493 4.2 –0.5 2
  Kautokeino reindeer herders list
(Johttisápmelaccaid listu, Kautokeino flyttsameliste)
291 2.5 –0.9 1
  Šiella 272 2.3 +2.3 1 +1
  Sami People's Party (Samefolkets parti) 238 2.0 +0.2 1 +1
  People's Federation of the Saami
(Sámiid Álbmotlihttu, Samenes Folkeforbund)
204 1.7 +1.7 0
  Åarjel-Saemiej Gïelh 200 1.7 –0.4 1 –1
  Kautokeino non-reindeer herders list
(Guovdageainnu dálon searvi)
177 1.5 +1.5 1 +1
  Sámi democrats and Šiella
(Sámedemokrahtat ja Šiella, Samedemokratene og Šiella)
117 1.0 +1.0 0
  Jiehkkevárri 82 0.7 +0.7 0
  Sámi earth
78 0.7 +0.7 0
  Non-reindeer herders list
(Dáloniid Listu, Fastboendes Liste på Sametinget)
76 0.6 –2.0 0 –1
  Socialist Left Party (Sosialistalaš Gurutbellodat, Sosialistisk Venstreparti) 25 0.2 +0.2 0
11,925[a] 100% 39
  1. ^ Including 168 scratch votes and 28 rejected votes

Cooperation with the state government[edit]

Plenary hall

In the Norwegian central administration the coordinating organ and central administrator for Sámi issues is the Department of Sámi and Minority Affairs in the Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion. This department also coordinates inter-ministerial and Nordic state cooperation regarding Sámi issues. The Sámi Parliament is consulted when state government issues affect Sámi interests.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 12 August 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 March 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b c d "The respond by the Sami Parliament of Norway on the UNPFII Questionnaire 2016" (PDF). Un.org. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  4. ^ "The Town with the Sami Parliament", Cristian Uluru, 2006.
  5. ^ See the Wikipedia article on Kárášjohka.
  6. ^ "Parliament for the Sami people", SH arkitekter, on the Modern Architectural Concepts blog, consulted 3 November 2010
  7. ^ "Norway’s Sami Parliament: Getting to 50-50" Archived 2011-07-28 at the Wayback Machine, on the International Museum of Women website, consulted 3 November 2010.
  8. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 12 August 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Sametingets budsjett 2019, punkt 13. (17th of January 2019). Sametinget. Read on the 18th of May 2019 at sametinget.no
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 12 August 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]