King Harald has opened the ninth Sami Parliament. Crown Prince Haakon was also present at the solemn opening in the city of Karasjok.
The Sami Parliament is the Sami people’s elected parliament in Norway. Every four year,s at the same time as the Norwegian parliament election, 39 representatives from 7 constituencies are elected to the Sami Parliament.
King Harald said it was an extra special pleasure to be able to meet people at the opening of the ninth Sami Parliament, after the restrictions the pandemic has set. In his speech, the King said: “For the Sami, closed borders have made it difficult to meet in cooperation on matters of common interest. Many also have close relatives and friends whom you have been barred from meeting. Fortunately, we are now beginning to return to more normal times “.
His Majesty continued: “The statistics paint a somewhat worrying picture of the development in Sami municipalities: The population is declining, and many young people do not return to their place of origin after completing their education. Traditional Sami industries are important language and culture carriers and have a central place in Sami communities. At the same time, there is a need to think more broadly. A greater diversity of jobs contributes to increased value creation and creativity”.
King Harald also pointed out that climate change is affecting the Arctic and indigenous peoples particularly hard. The King paid tribute to young Sami musicians and artists to highlight the diversity of Sami culture and language. The king asked God to bless the work of the Sami Parliament before he finally declared the ninth Sami Parliament open.
The speech was followed by speeches from the Norwegian Parliament by First Vice President Svein Harberg, from the Sami Parliament in Sweden by Plenary Leader Daniel Holst and from the Sami Parliament in Finland by Sami Parliament President Tuomas Aslak Juuso. The ceremony ended with “Sámi soga lávlla”, the song of the Sami people, performed by a choir. The first Sami Parliament was opened by His Majesty King Olav V of Norway on October 9th 1989.