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Definition of a Saami
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Kirjoittaja Irja Seurujärvi-Kari +
Otsikko Definition of a Saami +
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TekstiThis property is a special property in this wiki. <P align="justify"> Definition of a <P align="justify"> Definition of a Saami has become established through the new [[Saami Parliament|Saami Parliament]] Acts of Norway (1989), Sweden (1993) and Finland (1995). In all three countries, Saami ethnicity is based primarily on self-identification, i.e. on whether the person concerned regards him- or herself as Saami and secondarily on language. However, language skills as such are not required from the person concerned; so-called retroactive language skills are sufficient. In Russia, the criterion is ethnic origin by birth, which is officially declared by the parents when the child is born. </P> <P align="justify"> Definitions of a Saami have become highly relevant as ethnic and minority movements have expanded and grown since the Second World War, thus marking the beginning of a period of reassessment and efforts to achieve people s rights to their own identity, and to preserve and develop their culture and language within their own ethnic groups. </P> <P align="justify"> Until the 1970s, in Sweden only the reindeer-herding Saami were officially classed as Saami. This population was estimated at 2500. It was not until the official Saami Committee Report of 1975 was published that the non-reindeer-herding Saami were included, and as a result the present Saami population of Sweden is estimated at 20,000, of whom some 3000 are engaged in reindeer husbandry.</P> <P align="justify"> Norway s semi-official definition of the Saami was based on an agreement of the Nordic Saami Council in the 1960s concerning a language-based definition of the Saami (see below). This concept of Saami status was applied in legislation and other connections without any precise definition. The policy was followed until 1989, when the Saami Parliament Act came into force. Based on various estimates, there are at least 40,000 Saami in Norway, although the à the Saami electoral roll and official census records give a much smaller number.</P> <P align="justify"> The most thorough studies and statistics concerning the Saami have been carried out and compiled in Finland since the 1950s. In 1949 Finland s Council of State (Cabinet) appointed a Saami Affairs Committee to plan state action to safeguard the future of the Saami in the economic and educational spheres. In its report, the committee itself used the term Saami of the ethnic group under investigation. To obtain a picture of the existing situation among the Saami population, the committee prepared demographic statistical material to serve its immediate needs. The committee noted that in Finland the definition of a Saami could not be associated with reindeer husbandry because in Southern Lapland, which was still Saami territory two centuries ago, reindeer herding had been adopted by the Finnish population as a means of livelihood. Therefore, the committee based its definition of a Saami on a more tangible aspect of practical life, knowledge of the Saami language . Accordingly, the following definition was presented:</P> :<P align="justify"><i>A person shall be regarded as a Saami either or both of whose parents speak or have spoken Saami as the language of the home, and who, except for infants or mute persons, speaks Saami satisfactorily.</i></P> <P align="justify"> The committee noted that this definition is restricted insofar as it excludes those ethnic Saami who do not speak the language satisfactorily. The Saami Act proposed by the committee was never passed, and therefore its definition of Saami never acquired legal status. </P> <P align="justify"> In a member motion to the Nordic Council in 1958, the council was urged to recommend to the respective Nordic governments that they should seek to standardize their legislation concerning the Saami with regard to the utilization of natural resources. As a result of this motion, the Nordic Council requested a statement on it from the Nordic Saami Council. In its ensuing statement, the [[Saami Council|Saami Council]] underlined the need for a joint Nordic definition of a Saami. The Saami Council felt that existing legislation on the Saami was limited as it only took account of the reindeer-herding Saami, despite the fact that only 17% of all Saami were engaged in reindeer husbandry. According to the statement, the Nordic Saami Council had agreed on the following language-based definition of the Saami:</P> :<P align="justify"><i>A person shall be regarded as being Saami if at least one of his or her parents or his or her grandparents speaks or has spoken Saami as the language of the home. The proposed definition of the Saami followed that of the Saami Affairs Committee a decade earlier in that it was based on language. But it differed from the previous definition by also taking into account the language spoken by the person s grandparents. And it did not require the person concerned to speak Saami herself or himself.</i></P> <P align="justify"> In 1959 the Third Nordic Saami Conference, held in Inari, expressed the wish that a detailed survey of the Saami be carried out. In negotiations between the Nordic Saami Council and the statistical authorities it was decided that the best course would be for the Saami Council to carry out the organization for the first survey in Finland. No corresponding surveys, however, were ever carried out in Sweden or Norway.</P><P align="justify"> The Saami demographic survey of 1962 was headed by Karl Nickul, Secretary of the Nordic Saami Council. It was conducted in the form of an interview with each inhabitant of the municipalities of Enontekiö, Inari and Utsjoki and the northernmost parts of Kittilä and Sodankylä either or both of whose parents or any of whose grandparents had spoken Saami as their first language. The raw data of this demographic survey were analyzed in 1968 by Erkki Nickul. Regarding the final definition of the Saami provided by the study, Nickul noted the following:</P> :<P align="justify"><i>A person is a Saami if he, his mother or father or one of his grandparents has learned Saami as his first language in childhood. </i></P> <P align="justify"> Although the demographic survey of 1962 did not taken any position on how to define Saami ethnicity, the definition of the Saami given in Finland s Act on the Saami Delegation (824/73) of 1973 and the electoral roll, among other things, on the information of the survey. The official statute of 1973 (Subsection 2 of Section 1) defined a person eligible to vote in the elections of the Saami Delegation as follows: </P> :<P align="justify"> <i>This statute defines as Saami a person who herself or himself or at least one of whose parents or grandparents is reported as having learned the Saami language as his or her first language according to the 1962 census carried out by the Finnish Sections of the Nordic Saami Council, or is so reported by other means. </i></P> <P align="justify"> A new statute on the Saami Delegation was issued in 1990, in which a self-identification requirement was added to the definition of Saami, viz. that the person concerned regard herself or himself as Saami. There was no reference to the 1962 census. The new definition of the Saami (Subsection 2 of Section 1) was as follows:</P> :<P align="justify"><i>This statute defines a person as Saami who regards herself or himself as Saami, upon the condition that she o he r or at least one of her or his parents or grandparents has learned the Saami language as her or his first language.</i></P> <P align="justify"> The definition of Saami of the 1990 Statute remained in force until early 1996, when it was replaced by the definition in the Act on the Saami Parliament, in connection with which the definition of Saami was extended to include the so-called Taxed Lapps . </P> <P align="justify"> Since the beginning of 1996 the Saami of Finland have enjoyed [[Cultural self-government|cultural self-determination]], the specific content and scope of which is given in the Act on the Saami Parliament. This act contains a revised and expanded definition of who is entitled to participate in the elections of the Saami Parliament.</P> :<P align="justify"><i>§ 3 Saami This Act defines as Saami a person who regards himself or herself as Saami, upon the following conditions:<BR><BR> 1) that he or she or at least one of his or her parents or grandparents has learned Saami as his or her first language; or<BR><BR> 2) that he or she is the descendant of a person recorded as a Fell, Forest or Fisher Lapp in cadastres, tax records or census registers; or<BR><BR>3) that at least one of his or her parents is listed or could have been listed as eligible to vote in the elections of the Saami Delegation or the Saami Parliament.</i></P> <P align="justify"> The Act aroused opposition even in its draft stages, at the time mainly from non-Saami living in the northern parts of Finland . The Act on the Cultural Self-determination of the Saami led to years of debate in Finnish Lapland between non-Saami people, mainly those belonging to the so-called Lapp Heritage Association, and the various Saami organizations. The first point of contention was whether there was any actual need for the Act, and after it was passed it was debated whether the descendants of the so-called Taxed. Lapps of the Lapp villages could be included in the Saami the electoral roll. </P> <P align="justify"> The debate led to numerous investigations concerning the definition of a Saami by jurists and others. The Finnish Ministry of Justice prepared two studies of the matter (1996-1997): statements on the definition of a Saami in the Saami Parliament Act were made by Kristian Myntti, a specialist on the subject, and Erkki Rintala, Chief Justice of the Vaasa Court of Appeal.</P> <P align="justify"> In the autumn of 1999 the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland issued rulings on the first appeals concerning the registering of persons in the electoral rolls as stipulated in the Act. The main issue of the appeal was the fact that the appellants regarded themselves as Saami on the basis of the so-called Lapp grounds of the Saami definition of Subsection 2 of the Saami Parliament Act, maintaining that they were therefore entitled to vote in the Saami Parliament elections in the autumn. Almost all the appellants based their claim on ancestors last recorded as Lapps in cadastres or tax records between the years 1739 and 1857. In the autumn of 1999 the Supreme Administrative Court granted the status of Saami on the basis of a Lapp ancestor to less than one percent of all 656 appellants. There had originally been over a thousand appeals. The Court justified its rulings by noting that in defining a person as a Saami language constitutes the criterion for voting rights. </P> <P align="justify"> The specific objective of the [[ILO Convention (No. 169) concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independet Countries|1989 ILO Convention no 169]] is to assist indigenous peoples and the Saami are the only indigenous people in the Nordic countries to preserve their language, culture, customs and lifestyle. According to the definition of indigenous people in the ILO Convention, the essential criterion is that the people concerned regard themselves as an indigenous or tribal people. Self-identification thus provides important, albeit not definitive, grounds. </P>albeit not definitive, grounds. </P>  +
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