Same Sámi? A comparison of self-reported Sámi ethnicity measures in 1970 and 2003 in selected rural areas in northern Norway
In post-war Norway, only the 1970 national census has recorded ethnicity information about the indigenous Sámi, however restricted to those living in selected areas in the north. In this study, we combine replies about Sámi ethnicity given by the same individuals in Norway’s 1970 census and in the population-based SAMINOR study in 2003–04, to compare self-reported Sámi ethnicity at two points in time that encompass a period when the effects of a long-standing assimilation policy gradually lost ground in favour of upcoming Sámi revitalization. We found self-reported Sámi ethnicity – measured as (1) Sámi as home language in each of three generations and (2) the respondent’s self-identification as Sámi – to have remained generally stable, but some changes were observed. We argue that the results reflect interplays between societal and individual factors. We conclude that any statistical study involving an indigenous people, when clarifying the ethnicity measures, should also address the issue of ethnic mobility.
Accepted manuscript version. Published version at 10.1080/01419870.2015.1031262.