In 2008, the ministry with responsibility for Sami affairs (AID) decided to establish an Expert Group to edit and publish statistics on Sami issues. For a long time, there has been a need for quantitative knowledge on a wide range of topics relevant to a Sami context.
Since its establishment, the Expert Group has published approximately 80 articles written by researchers with in-depth knowledge on Sami affairs and statistics.
All articles have been published in both Sami and Norwegian. However, there has been an increasing demand for information on Sami topics in English so that researchers, scholars and others around the world are able to keep abreast of developments in Sami issues.
The following chapters are a good start for increasing and sharing knowledge on these subjects.
The most frequently used information sources for articles in Samiske tall forteller have been based on data from so-called STN-areas (Sami Parliament subsidy schemes for business development areas). These geographically based statistics have proided a lot of knowledge on Sami society. In a number of social areas, however, ethnicity based statistics would have provided more relevant information than geographically based ones but there is no data source that can be used to make ethnicity-based statistics in Norway. The article recommends that Statistics Norway continue to produce Sami statistics based on data from STN-areas. Further, it recommends a report on how to best chart Sami-speakers in Norway. A number of Sami social areas lack statistics. We must assess what information can be obtained from the data.
The Expert Analysis Group for Sami Statistics has completed its second four-year appointment, and the group has published eight issues of scientific papers, Samiske tall forteller 1 – 8. Based on available statistics, authors have commented and analyzed changes in Sami society. Many of the authors in Samiske tall forteller have also commented and assessed the data they based their articles on. The summaries in this article are based on these comments and assessments.
There is little quantitative knowledge about the Sami student-teacher ratio in Norway. Many hold that there is a considerable shortage of Sami teachers and others have claimed that Sami teachers lack formal teaching accreditation. This article surveys the number of South, Lule and North Sami teachers there are in Norway at the primary, lower secondary and upper secondary school levels.
The article also registers the formal competency of each Sami teacher in both pedagogy and Sami language. The survey shows that many Sami teachers lack formal pedagogical qualifications when compared to other teachers in Norway. At the same time, we see that formal competence in the language is at a very high level.
The student-teacher ratio for Lule Sami is high. It is at the same level as for the rest of Nordland and actually higher than that in Bodø. This shows that there is a clear shortage of teachers with competence in Lule Sami.
The lower student-teacher ratio for North and South Sami makes the situation not as precarious in the short term. However, the average age of Sami teachers point to a significant number of them retiring in the next ten years, and the number of applicants to Sami teacher training has been extremely low. Therefore, if recruitment to Sami teacher education does not significantly increase, we risk having much fewer Sami teachers in 10-20 years than today.
New research shows that many Samis report experiencing various forms of discrimination. The aim of this chapter is to give updated information on the challenges of discrimination Samis face in Norway. We will survey the occurrence of self-reported incidents of discrimination among adult Samis between the age of 18 and 69 years, study where discrimination happens, identify who discriminates and how an individual might respond to being discriminated against.
The figures are based on qualitative data collected in 2012 from 11,600 individuals (both Sami and majority Norwegians), from 25 municipalities in the five northernmost counties in Norway. The study is part of a health and living conditions investigation in areas with Sami and Norwegian communities, called the SAMINOR 2 survey, which was a questionnaire sent out to municipalities in Northern Norway and Trøndelag.
In the sample, approximately one in five experienced discrimination. About a third of those who had been discriminated against, say that the incident happened in the last two years. Samis experience discrimination much more frequently than majority Norwegians. Samis with strong Sami ties report the highest incidence of discrimination, both in the last two years and earlier.
The most common form of discrimination reported by Samis was ethnic discrimination, followed by discrimination based on gender and geographical affiliation. Sami women reported the highest rates of gender discrimination.
Samis experience discrimination in several arenas. The most common is at school, work and in the local community. Additionally, many Samis report discrimination in public, on the internet and at stores or restaurants. Samis, to a greater extent than majority Norwegians, have and still experience discrimination from fellow students, teachers and other employees at school, work colleagues, public sector employees, other ethnic groups (majority population), strangers and other Samis. Even though many Samis experience discrimination, few file reports with The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombudsman (LDO- Likestillings- og diskrimineringsombudet).
Since the 2005/06 school year, fewer and fewer students are taking Sami as a Second Language at the primary and lower secondary level. The article shows that the decrease appears to have stopped and that the number of students has stabilised, albeit at a lower level than before. The decline in student numbers for South Sami as a second language, however, is still worrisome. There is also a decline in the number of students learning Sami as a first language. Special attention is focused on the differences between the number of students who learn Sami as a mother tongue and the number of students who have Sami as the language of instruction. More and more students at the primary and lower secondary level are choosing to take Sami as a first language without having any other subject taught in Sami.
The availability of instructional material to teach subjects other than Sami language in Sami has improved over the las four years. Nevertheless, the situation is still critical for Lule and South Sami where students still lack teaching material in most of the subjects at the primary and lower secondary level.
A review of the Office of the County Governor’s inspection reports on Sami education shows that all of the inspections in Nordland and Oslo/Akershus found breaches of the law. In Finnmark, the reports are uniformly positive. A review of Sami education in other counties has not been undertaken.
The sustainability of reindeer herding has been a relevant discussion over the last 20 years in terms of both international policy as well as reindeer herding policy. The Reindeer Herding Act states that reindeer herding is to be ecologically, economically and culturally sustainable. Currently, this is only defined concretely in terms of ecological sustainability, through a 2008 advisory from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. For a more fundamental starting point, I will use the approach of international common resource research.
This chapter gives an industrial economics overview of reindeer herding in Norway with respect to physical geography and legal history. It presents a complex picture from south to northeast. Semi-domestic reindeer herds in central Sør-Norge has a long history influenced by South Sami herders. These enterprises have the highest productivity of all reindeer enterprises in Norway, with the highest slaughter yields, high productivity and stable and good finances.
South Sami reindeer herding south of Stjørdalen has had a very difficult history because of political setbacks with especially severe consequences. Reindeer herders in Trollheimen lost all their rights with the decisions upheld by the Supreme Court as late as 1981. The Ministry of Agriculture and the Norwegian Parliament preserved the future of reindeer herding in this area through a new law in 1984. Samis who earn a living through reindeer herding in the Røros area have been exposed to high pressure from the expanding agricultural community and authorities. It was worse around the turn of the last century, when unreasonable compensation for alleged damage to farms ruined many Sami reindeer herders. After the war, and especially from the 1970s, Sami reindeer herders in this area have created a new and more productive reindeer herding industry, but have still needed to fight for their rights against both farmers and the legal system, which have been influenced by old attitudes. Reindeer owners finally won full acceptance of their rights in a 2001 Supreme Court decision but, especially in the last 10 years, have sustained a decrease in productivity because of increased predation.
Reindeer herding in Nord-Trøndelag has also taken part in the productivity revolution of the 1980s but since the early 1990, has more and more felt the consequences of the new policies regarding predation. The percentage loss has gradually increased and both slaughter yield and productivity have diminished from a high to a middle level. Reindeer herding areas in Nordland and Troms have both been affected by border clashes between Norway and Sweden in 1751, which led to Norway receiving an excess of summer pasture and Sweden receiving an excess of winter pasture. Nationalistic ideologies from the middle and end of the 1800s led to stronger control of reindeer herding to promote agricultural expansion and, in 1923, to the exclusion of Swedish reindeer Samis from, among other areas, the islands in Troms. Norway and Sweden are currently without a valid convention and questions can be raised about the validity of Norway’s one-sided extension of the 1972 convention in 2005. The last convention negotiations were very difficult but a Sami working group has recently presented recommendations for a new convention.
Large portions of reindeer herding in Finnmark are in a precarious position. The exception is Polmak/Varanger which has sustained a productivity revolution and has had good profits. Over the last 30 years, the number of reindeer in Karasjok and the 10 inner districts of Kautokeino has fluctuated greatly, but is still higher than before. Use of pasture in Finnmark is therefore much more intensive than before. The authorities’ monitoring program documents that lichen regrowth in Finnmark is much better than expected. However, increases in reindeer numbers in the 2000s have none the less resulted in a pasture situation again in rapid decline.
After demands from NRL (Norske Reindriftsamers Landforbund - Sami Reindeer Herders Association of Norway), investigation and dialogue, a new Reindeer Herding Act was enacted in 2007. In addition to sustainability, this act focuses on particular reindeer herding institutions and processes, but has an exemption clause which gives central authorities the power to overrule reindeer husbandry agencies. The authorities have now used this to initiate compulsory processes to reduce reindeer numbers. I fear that these measures will function as a derailment and stop, rather than promote, the industry’s essential processes.
The results of common resource research are clear; resource users themselves should be responsible for solving their own problems. The government’s role should be to support processes that build institutions and solve problems.
Statistics are a useful tool when devising policies to boost minority languages. In order to ensure adequate official language planning, it is important to know how many people understand a language, how many speak it, how many read and write it, how old these people are and where they live, how many families pass on the language informally from generation to generation, how many people encounter the language in kindergartens and schools, the degree to which the language is used in the most popular media, and the extent to which the language can be used when accessing public services.
However, obtaining figures on all these factors is not enough in itself. To be able to interpret the figures we need comparable data showing changes over time. We should also seek to establish which direction things are heading in before taking action.
Most past research into Sámi languages concerns grammar and language history. This research looks at the actual language, more or less independently of social factors. In recent years, however, some research has been conducted which looks at the Sámi languages in a contemporary social perspective. Most of these studies have raised issues concerning language shifts, revitalisation and ethnic identity, and the data sources have usually been in-depth interviews. Figures and statistics are therefore rather scarce elements in Sámi language research. We will be looking more closely at the published quantitative sources and research that do exist.
The reports and articles we will be examining contain more statistics and quantitative information than we will be discussing here. The objective for the selections has been to look for figures that can tell us something about changes in the status of the Sámi languages. We will be covering five different areas: (1) sources for the total number of Sámi-speaking people, (2) quantitative research that tells us something about the handing down of Sámi language in the home, (3) statistics on the choice of language in primary and lower secondary schools after 1990, (4) commissioned research on the use of Sámi in public services after the creation of the Sámi language administrative district, and (5) figures on the status of the written Sámi languages.
We see an uneven gender distribution in STN-areas (Sami Parliament subsidy schemes for business development) in a range of fields. In these areas, there is an excess of women only in the 80 and older age category. Based on data from 2001-2005, the probability of reaching the age of 75 for 15 year olds in STN-areas is about 56% for men and 80% for women. Approximately 5% of the population received disability benefits between 2004 and 2008, slightly more men than women. In 2004, 2.1% of men and 1.2% of women received social security benefits. In reindeer herding and agricultural areas, 80% of men are either siidainnehavere (siida proprietors) or main users, and 97% have their main employment in fisheries. The register of voters has shown a small but clear majority of men in all Sami Parliament votes, and in 2009 only the constituency of ‘Sør-Norge’ had a majority of women voters. In 2009, there was a marked majority of women voters between the age of 18 and 29. In the 2010/11 school year, almost 10% more girls than boys were learning Sami as a First of Second Language at the primary and lower secondary level. At the high school level, the difference had risen to almost 12%. In STN-areas, 13% more women than men have more than three years of post-secondary education. Boys in STN-areas have a higher high school dropout rate, especially for those in vocational programs, where only about a fourth of students complete their education within five years.
This chapter presents and comments on data from published works based on health surveys conducted among Sami populations in Norway. The chapter focuses on works that look at disease and disease risk factors as well as include information on Sami ethnicity.