The National Archivists in Finland, Sweden and Norway agreed to raise the cross-border Sámi archival challenges to a Nordic level. The Sámi community extends across the national borders between Norway, Sweden, Finland (and Russia). The Sámi people’s archive situation is therefore in a special position and the Sámi archive issues should be included in long-term Nordic co-operation.
The international archival community are now starting to recognize indigenous peoples ́ right to preserve, manage and control their own cultural heritage on their premises. This has been written down in the declaration “Challenging and Decolonizing the Archive”, presented in Tandanya – Adelaide following the ICA 2019. Another sign is the newly established ICA Indigenous Matters Expert Group.
Access to relevant archives is a key to one´s own history and makes it possible to link past times with present and future, and thus contribute to identity creation and new knowledge.
The archives of the Nordic national archival institutions should ideally reflect a comprehensive documentation of all parts of the society. Collecting archives can help to strengthen the Sámi languages and make them more visible. The archival institutions therefore need to develop more appropriate means of collecting, preserving and enhancing the availability of the Sámi archival material.
There is a great need for a joint Nordic initiative to give better access to Sámi archival material in the national archives and other cultural heritage institutions concerned. The National Archivists see it as a common goal to anchor future project collaborations in strategic forms of cooperation at a Nordic level.
- Work together with Nordic universities in order to establish a university degree in archival and information science with a Sámi perspective.
- Develop guidelines for collecting and preserving Sámi archives and documentation within the Nordic area.
- Improve the search for Sámi archive material in the national archive databases.
- Find new ways to disseminate Sámi archival material and show how Sámi history can be conveyed through archive material.
National Archive of Norway