Sámi Parliament of Norway

Last updated

Coordinates: 69°28′15″N25°29′46″E / 69.47083°N 25.49611°E / 69.47083; 25.49611


Sámi Parliament in Norway

Northern Sami: Sámediggi
Lule Sami: Sámedigge
Pite Sami: Sámedigge
Ume Sami: Sámiediggie
Southern Sami: Saemiedigkie
Skolt Sami: Sääʹmteʹǧǧ
Norwegian: Sametinget
9th Sámi Parliamentary Assembly
Nordsamisk farge symmetrisk stor-01.svg
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
Silje Karine Muotka [1] , NSR
since 21 October 2021
Sami Parliament of Norway current.svg
Political groups
Governing Council (21)
  •   Norwegian Sámi Association (17)
  •   Centre Party (3)
  •   Ávjovári Moving Sámi List (1)

Opposition (18)

Open list proportional representation
Modified Sainte-Laguë method
Last election
13 September 2021
Next election
Meeting place
Sámi Parliament of Norway Building
Karasjok, Norway
Plenary 2013-17 Plenum 2013-2017 (10323811996).jpg
Plenary 2013–17
Aerial photo of the parliament Sametinget fra luften.jpg
Aerial photo of the parliament

The Sámi Parliament of Norway (Norwegian : Sametinget, Northern Sami : Sámediggi [ˈsaːmeˌtiɡːiː] , 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 2021. Unlike in Finland, the 7 constituencies cover all of Norway. The current president is Silje Karine Muotka who represents the Norwegian Sámi Association. [1]


Plenary of the inaugural Sami Parliament in 1989 Sametinget 1989 (10344362835).jpg
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. [2]

Harald V opening the new building in 2000 H.M. Kongen taler (10345062316).jpg
Harald V opening the new building in 2000

The Sámi Act (1987:56), [3] 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 Nysto, Aili Keskitalo and Ole Henrik Magga were the first three presidents 3NorwSamiPresidents-2.jpg
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. [4]


PortraitElectedTook officeLeft officePolitical partyCouncil(s)
1 Ole Henrik Magga
Valgbilde Ole Henrik Magga farger (3849685006) (cropped).jpg 1989
19891997 Norwegian Sámi Association Magga
2 Sven-Roald Nystø
Sven-Roald Nysto.jpg 1997
199720 October 2005 Norwegian Sámi Association Nystø
3 Aili Keskitalo
Aili Keskitalo 1.jpg 2005 20 October 200526 September 2007 Norwegian Sámi Association Keskitalo I
4 Egil Olli
Egil Olli IMG 5022.JPG
26 September 200716 October 2013 Labour Party Olli I
Olli II
5 Aili Keskitalo
Aili Keskitalo nyvalgt 2013.jpg 2013 16 October 20138 December 2016 Norwegian Sámi Association Keskitalo II
6 Vibeke Larsen
Vibeke Larsen (Arbeiderpartiet) (10328123535).jpg 8 December 201612 October 2017 Labour Party Larsen
7 Aili Keskitalo
Keskitalo, Aili (Foto Kenneth Haetta) (37058259423).jpg 2017 12 October 201721 October 2021 Norwegian Sámi Association Keskitalo III
8 Silje Karine Muotka
Muotka, Silje Karine (Foto Kenneth Haetta) (37470969540).jpg 2021 21 October 2021 [1] Incumbent Norwegian Sámi Association Muotka


The Sami Parliament building in Norway Samediggi03.jpg
The Sámi Parliament building in Norway
The Guovdageaidnu office of the Sami Parliament of Norway Samediggi-Guovdageaidnu.JPG
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), Aarborte (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. [5] [6]


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'. [7] [8]


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.". [4]

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: [9]

The library of the Sami Parliament in Norway. Sami parliament library 2016.jpg
The library of the Sámi Parliament in Norway.

One of the responsibilities is ensuring that the section 15 of the Saami Act (1987:56) [3] is upheld, i.e., that the Sámi languages and Norwegian continue to have the same status.



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. [4]

Salaries and other expenses

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. [10]


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." [4] Results of the last election:

Summary of the 13 September 2021 Norwegian Sámi parliamentary election results
Sami Parliament of Norway 2021.svg
# %±#±
Norwegian Sámi Association (NSR)4,41431.9%+3.8%17-1
North Calotte People (NKF)2,52918.3%+11.7%9+6
Labour Party (Ap)2,08115.0%-2.0%7-2
Centre Party (Sp)1,3269.6%+2.0%3+1
Sámi People's Party (SfP)7725.6%+3.6%1+0
Árja 7385.3%-2.4%0-1
Progress Party (FrP)6604.8%-2.7%10
Conservative Party (H)5964.3%-2.1%0-1
Ávjovári Moving Sámi List (JSL)3292.4%-0.1%1+0
People's Federation of the Saami (SFF)2001.4%-0.3%0+0
Ávjovári Residents List (FABL)1891.4%-0.1%0-1
Blank and invalid votes296
Registered voters/turnout20,54168.6-1.7
Source: valgresultat.no

    Cooperation with the state government

    Plenary hall Sametingets plenumssal (10308329505).jpg
    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. [11]

    See also

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    1. 1 2 3 "Keskitalo guodá – Muotká joarkká". NRK Sápmi (in Lule Sami). 21 October 2021. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
    2. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 12 August 2007.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
    3. 1 2 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 March 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2007.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
    4. 1 2 3 4 "The respond by the Sami Parliament of Norway on the UNPFII Questionnaire 2016" (PDF). Un.org. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
    5. "The Town with the Sami Parliament", Cristian Uluru, 2006.
    6. See the Wikipedia article on Kárášjohka.
    7. "Parliament for the Sami people", SH arkitekter, on the Modern Architectural Concepts blog, consulted 3 November 2010
    8. "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.
    9. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 12 August 2007.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
    10. Sametingets budsjett 2019, punkt 13. (17th of January 2019). Sametinget. Read on the 18th of May 2019 at sametinget.no
    11. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 12 August 2007.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)