Sami Identity and Traditional Livelihood Practices: From Non-Indigenous to Indigenous Food Frameworks

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This chapter investigates the relationship between traditional food systems, livelihood practice and the identity of Sami Indigenous communities living in Northern Europe. The theoretical framework of this chapter draws from three non-Indigenous fields of study: food ethics, food security, and food sovereignty. Firstly, food ethics discourses are used to outline the significance of traditional food in Sami culture. Secondly, food security, as a global discourse on food policy, is employed to shed light to the accessibility and availability of nutritious and sufficient food for a healthy and active life. Lastly, food sovereignty is used to highlight the relationship between food and issues of inequality and injustice, and the importance of strengthening local food production. These analytical frameworks help point out the strong relationship of the Sami’s traditional livelihood activities of reindeer herding and salmon fishing with their dignity, self-determination, and identity as the Sami Indigenous community, even though the discourses about these topics remain in the settler’s realm and language. To empower Sami Indigenous People, it is essential to decolonise food security and indigenise food sovereignty discourses. In Sami communities, this means letting the Sami people develop their own definitions for food security and food sovereignty and set their own food policies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFood Security in the High North : Contemporary Challenges Across the Circumpolar Region
EditorsKamrul Hossain, Lena Maria Nilsson, Thora Martina Herrmann
Number of pages16
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-37006-7
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-003-05775-8
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in Polar Regions

Bibliographical note

Open access article, direct link to my article

Fields of Science

  • 611 Philosophy
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Food Ethics
  • food sovereignty
  • Food Security
  • Sami traditional livelihood practices
  • Sami identity
  • Sami traditional food system
  • decolonise food security
  • indigenise food sovereignty

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