Negotiating an urban indigenous identity. Expectations, prejudices and claims faced by urban Sámi in two contemporary Norwegian cities
AuthorVuolab, Siv Eli
Indigeneity is often assumed to be a rural condition, but globally, indigenous peoples are now increasingly characterized as urban populations. Research suggests that a large proportion of the Sámi population in Norway reside in urban areas and that new generations of Sámi are growing up in cities; a phenomenon coined as a geographical re-organization of Sápmi. This thesis is an investigation of some of the challenges the urban Sámi face in negotiating and maintaining a Sámi identity in two contemporary Norwegian cities. The concepts of expectations and claims connected to a Sámi identity have functioned as running themes in the thesis and I argue that such expectations and claims come from both the Sámi and the non-Sámi community in regards what it means to be an urban Sámi. One central finding is that prejudices and stereotypes are common experiences to the urban Sámi, and I identify different strategies how to deal with such claims. I argue that the urban Sámi identity thus is something one needs to manage to a greater extent than other identities. Certain cultural traits, activities and skills function as performances of a Sámi identity. The city provides great freedom and allows the construction of an urban Sámi identity to be both creative and diverse, but the notion of an urban Sámi identity is at the same time challenged by predominant discourses of authenticity and stereotypical ideas. By insisting on ambiguity, the urban Sámi is combating the notion of cultural hierarchy.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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Copyright 2016 The Author(s)
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