Tor Gunnar Nystad met with the Peace Queen to discuss the plight of the Sami people in Norway. The Sámi people are indigenous people living in the north of Europe. Sámi communities exist in northern Norway (60,000-100,000), Sweden (15,000-25,000), Finland (6,400) and on Russian Kola peninsula (2,000).
The Second Speaker told Melannie that his people have been discriminated for centuries much like indigenous people around the world. He also explained how the Sami parliament is the representative body for people of Sami heritage in Norway. It acts as an institution of cultural autonomy for the Sami People.
The Parliament was opened in 1989. It currently has 39 representatives, who are elected every four years by direct vote from 7 constituencies.
The Peace Queen shared with the Second Speaker the idea that officially counting your numbers, census taking, may be a powerful tool against oppression. Melannie mentioned the Black Census as a good template to begin the process in Norway for the Sami people. “You don’t have to wait for the government to count your numbers, you can do it yourself,” she said.
Tor was intrigued.