Last week the Norwegian government published a rapport outlining measures that can be used to reconcile the Norwegian state and the Sami, Kven and Norwegian Finns. These indigenous and minority groups were over several decades victim to human rights violations through an assimilation policy known as Norwegianisation.
Senior researcher at Chr. Michelsen Institute, Elin Skaar and a PhD candidate at the University of Bergen, Elin Monstad, published a newspaper article in Vårtland before this government rapport was released. One of the questions Skaar and Monstad raise in their article is how the governments commission will define the term ´reconciliation´ in their rapport.
Skaar and Monstad are a part of the research project “TRUCOM”, which has carried out a national survey where the Norwegian population was asked what they associate with the term ´reconciliation´. The survey highlighted that the Norwegian population does not associate ´reconciliation´ with the type of measures that the governments commission has been working on. Only ten of the 2000 respondents mentioned the state or the Norwegian government when they were asked what they associate with the word ´reconciliation´. Therefore it is interesting to see how the government defines this term in their rapport.
Skaar and Monstad also question who will ensure that reconciliation occurs. They emphasise that their survey shows that only three prosent of the respondents that identified as Norwegian felt that reconciliation concerned them. Meanwhile 34 prosent of the respondents that identified as a Sami, Kven or Norwegian Finnish felt that reconciliation concerned them.
The article by Skaar and Monstad can be read in Norwegian here.
More information about the national research project Expectations, Truth and Reconciliation in Democratic Welfare State (TRUCOM) can be found here.
Photo credit: Flickr, Sámi leavga – Sámi flag – Saamen lippu, March 2020, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0