Aftenposten Nettutgaven
 Saturday March 15 2008
Aftenposten Nettutgaven First published: 08 Feb 2008, 20:14
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Aftenposten from 1870

Samis don’t want to be ‘Lapps’

The Norwegian indigenous people officially known as Sami are upset about the use of what they call the "derogatory" terms Lapp and Lappland.

The Sami people celebrated their National Day on Wednesday.

PHOTO: ROLF M AAGAARD


Finnmark province, in the most northern part of Norway, bordering Russia and Finland, has printed up a brochure that urges tourists to visit "Norwegian Lappland".

"The words ‘Lappland’ and ‘Lapp’ are discriminating terms that we long thought had been out of use," said Sami Parliament representative Gunn-Britt Retter to Norwegian daily Aftenposten.

She says it is upsetting that these terms are being used to sell Sami culture internationally.

Finnmark’s tourism head, Jens-Harald Jenssen, says he has received positive feedback about the brochure, and points out that the term Lappland is much more recognized internationally than the official name "Sapmi".

"Our nearest and biggest competition comes from Finnish Lappland," said Jenssen. That’s where we got the idea to use Norwegian Lappland."

He added: "Our aim was to present the Sami people in a correct and good way. Of course we don’t mean to be discriminatory towards anyone."

Another Sami Parliament representative, Egil Olli, said: "I personally don’t find the term Lappland to be negative."

Lappland, or Lapland, comprises a vast region of northern Europe, largely within the Arctic Circle. It includes the Norwegian provinces of Finnmark and Troms and part of Nordland; the Swedish historic province of Lappland; Northern Finland; and the Kola Peninsula of Russia.

There are a total of about 80,000 Sami, with more than half of them living in Norway.

The Samis traditionally led a nomadic life, but now only about a tenth of them raise and follow reindeer herds, according to questia encyclopedia.

The Samis celebrated their National Day this week (February 6), which has been made an official flag day in Norway.

Aftenposten reporter
Ole Magnus Rapp

Aftenposten English Web Desk
Catherine Stein


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