Swedish government gives Indigenous peoples land to mining company

by August 23, 2013

Aug. 22, 2013 – Today the Swedish government took a decision which has fundamental significance for all the Sami people in Sweden. In the opinion of the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications the national interest of mineral extraction is more important than the national interest of reindeer husbandry and other indigenous rights – the right of the Sami people to keep its culture. This decision was made in connection with the planned large-scale mining at Sami grounds which are used all the year round, at Rönnbäck near Tärnaby in Sápmi, Northern Sweden. The project is carried out by a company risking bankruptcy and which is under investigation for economic crime as well as has halted trading on the Stock Exchange. The government’s decision is of great importance since it is the first time the Swedish government has to decide between these two national interests and there are several mining projects planned in swedish Sápmi.

It is with dismay we have taken part of this decision, which shows a total lack of respect for the Sami people and for internationally recognized indigenous rights. It is deeply tragic and humiliating that the possibilities for Sami children to take part of their cultural heritage and to continue to live and have their outcome in their area should be decided at the table of the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications. It is very provocative that vague descriptions and pure speculations about possible financial advantages for a mining industry should be decisive and outweigh Sami traditional rights. We take a strong position against this act which is building on continuing colonization of the Sami people and of Sápmi. We condemn the decision of the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications and will research possibilities to continue this process on an international level.

Story continues below

Landspartiet Svenska Samer – a party in the Sami Parliament
Min Geaidnu, Mijá Gäjnno, Mijjen Geajjnoe – a party in the Sami Parliament
Landsförbundet Svenska Samer – Sami National organization
Vadtejen Saemiej Sijte – local Sami organization
Älvräddarna – The River Saviors National organization
Urbergsgruppen – National organization for water, land, Indigenous People and origin
The Network Stop Rönnbäck Nickel Mining Project, Tärnaby