(Bloomberg) -- A truth and reconciliation commission is being set up in Finland to probe injustices and discrimination against its indigenous population, the Sami.
The Sami, who number about 100,000 and reside in the far north of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia, have suffered from state assimilation policies that now threaten their surviving languages. Some traditional Sami livelihoods, such as reindeer herding, and holy places have also come under attack from other industries, such as logging and mining, including government-sponsored activity.
A similar process began in Norway in 2018, and Sweden has been exploring setting up a commission since 2015. The Nordic countries are drawing upon Canada’s experiences of reconciling its past with its own native populations in a process than ran from 2008 to 2015.
“Today marks the start of an important undertaking to investigate the discrimination experienced by the Sami and the consequences of state assimilation policy,” Tuomas Aslak Juuso, president of the Sami Parliament, said in a statement on Thursday. “There are still barriers to the recognition and implementation of the rights of the Sami as an indigenous people in Finland.”
The aim of the commission is to collect Sami people’s experiences of the actions of the Finnish state and its various authorities and to make this information visible to the public. It will report back on its work by the end of November 2023.
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