Tuesday, May 17

It is short-sighted to think that the Sami Parliament should be abolished

  • Paula Lorentzen (21)

    Central board member and international responsible, Red Youth

It is time for the Sami to have real, not just advisory power in matters that concern us, writes Paula Lorentzen (21).

The Sami Parliament should rather have the power it deserves.

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Progress Party and Progress Party Youth (Fpu) will shut down The Sami Parliament.

I understand that one wonders why we have an institution that has no power, and that is only there. But in contrast to Frp and Fpu, we in Rød Ungdom believe that the solution is to give them power – not abolish it.

Let me remind them why we have The Sami Parliament Today.

Important in Norway and internationally

The Sami Parliament is a direct result of Alta conflict, where there were massive demonstrations by Sami and environmental activists to take care of Sami areas. Sami interests were not heard. The conflict showed that it is extra important that we have an independent democratic body. One that can determine the policy of the Sami, of the Sami.

The Sami face a number of challenges related to autonomy. In addition we are struggling by preserving the Sami language and ensuring that children and young people receive the education they are entitled to. Here, the Sami Parliament is an active and important piece in a way that the Storting and the Storting politicians had never been.

The least the Norwegian state can do is give us a veto against state interventions and abuses of nature in the Sami areas, such as recently with the Fosen case, where the Supreme Court has ruled that it was illegally built wind turbines on a reindeer herding winter pasture.

The Sami Parliament is not only important for Norway, but also important for international politics.

It participates in, among other things UN Permanent Indigenous Forum in New York. It shows that this is about so much more than just Norway and as far as Sápmi, but also about the cooperation between indigenous peoples around the world. Indigenous peoples who are repeatedly discriminated against or overrun by the states in which they live.

Needs trust – and power

It is important that the body has trust, support and democratic anchoring in the Sami population. It is about the decisions being made by those concerned. The Sami will be able to define their everyday lives and their development based on their own premises.

It would not have been the same if the Storting had chosen someone to represent the Sami, without the Sami themselves having had something to say about the issues. Is that what Frp and Fpu want?

It should not be controversial to say that the Storting has nothing to say on who or what the Sami send and mean on national and international assignments. This distinction is only achieved with an independent popularly elected body such as the Sami Parliament.

It is time for the Sami to have real, not just advisory, power in matters that concern us. Strengthen the Sami Parliament’s power, do not abolish it.

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