Ale jaskkot eatnigiella. Alkuperäiskansaliikkeen ja saamen kielen merkitys saamelaisten identiteetille

Irja Seurujärvi-Kari

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


This study examines the Sámi people and the construction of the Sámi identity in the cross-border Sámi movement within the context of the international indigenous movement and discourse between 1962 and 2008. The Sámi movement began as a reaction to state assimilation policies. This led to the birth of indigenous processes strengthening the Sámi cultures and languages. Activities across borders and the ethnopolitical processes in each of the Nordic countries in question also formed the basis of the internationalization of the Sámi people. The discourse on indigenous peoples has grown into a question of human rights, which is examined in different national and international contexts.
The study is based on ethnographic data that has been collected via interviews, questionnaires and participant observation with the researched people in different meetings and events. Archive and newsprint material are also used. The approach of the study is auto-ethnographic. The post-colonial theories used in the study strive to destabilize power relations and the distinctions of otherness produced by colonialism, and to reclaim both one's own culture and language in the context of the indigenous movement. A standard model for this type of approach was created by Edward W. Said in his 1978 work Orientalism. The central concepts of the analysis are decolonization, otherness, ethnicity and identity.
The dissertation consists of four published articles and an introduction. The subject matter is analyzed on three levels: global, European and Nordic. On the global level, the results demonstrate that the indigenous movement has constructed a new understanding of indigenousness with new rights. International treaties have facilitated the unification of new concepts and rights, such as the right to self-determination and language, also helping in transforming them into rights of the Sámi people on a national level.
On the Nordic level, aligning the Sámi culture with indigenous discourse became significant for the process of developing the Sámi identity in the Sámi movement. In this process, the Sámi movement made use of Sámi languages in order to mobilize groups of people and to construct relatedness between different Sámi groups. The realization that one’s own language is significant to one’s culture has resulted in recreating the vitality, visibility and the legitimation of language in society more generally.
The migration of the Sámi people from their traditional territories to increasingly multi-ethnic urban areas alters one’s relationship to one’s own community as the relationship to cultural traditions changes. Among the urban Sámi, who form a group of new Sáminess, linguistic discrimination and assimilation continue because of the lack of legislative and other effective language policy measures to promote the learning and use of the Sámi language.

Original languageFinnish
Place of PublicationHelsingin yliopisto
EditionAS Pakett Tallinna
Print ISBNs978-952-10-7575-9
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2012
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Fields of Science

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Cite this

Seurujärvi-Kari, I. (2012). Ale jaskkot eatnigiella. Alkuperäiskansaliikkeen ja saamen kielen merkitys saamelaisten identiteetille. (AS Pakett Tallinna ed.). Helsingin yliopisto: [Irja Seurujärvi-Kari].