Girjas sameby courtcase against the Swedish state

In a debate article, we (59 researchers) want to make a statement against the rhetoric used in the Girjas court case, in which representatives of the Swedish State undermine both indigenous rights and research on Sámi matters.

The Girjas reindeer herding community and the National Union of the Swedish Sami (Svenska Samernas Riksförbund, SSR) have sued the Swedish state for the confiscation of the sameby’s exclusive rights to hunt and fish on its land.

In court, the Office of the Chancellor of Justice has for instance rejected research about Sámi questions and argued in favor of the use of the term Lapp instead of the indigenous term Sámi. In sum, “the state shows a problematic attitude towards modern research about Sami matters and questions the Sami people’s status as an Indigenous people. Furthermore, the state’s characterisation of Sami people uses a rhetoric that evokes an antiquated cultural hierarchy and racial biology.”

This opinion piece, initiated by the Center for Sami Research in Umeå, has been published in Dagens Nyheter and received attention in other Swedish media as well.

More about the Girjas courtcase (in Swedish): here and here (in Swedish). Or follow #girjasmotstaten.


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