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Archival Science

, 9:15 | Cite as

Public records and minorities: problems and possibilities for Sámi and Kven

  • Kaisa MaliniemiEmail author
Original paper

Abstract

The Kven and Sámi peoples of northern Norway have been represented as groups without a voice in public records. Through the project ‘National Minorities in Public Records in Norway,’ however, hundreds of documents written in the Sámi and Kven languages were found inside the public archives. These documents were neither labeled, nor cataloged in any way as non-Norwegian-language documents. This essay raises a number of questions related to how a lack of knowledge has influenced our understanding of ethnic minorities both in archives and in research related to minorities. Furthermore, recent experience leads us to a few more questions concerning the usage of sources. How do Norwegian ministries treat requests for access to official documents less than 60-years old related to the Kven and Sámi peoples? How were documents in minority languages arranged and archived by archival personnel? How can an oppressed collective memory serve as a counter-memory for minorities? How can archival documents change our understanding of minorities? What might archivists do to make minorities more visible in archives? This paper describes my personal experiences and reflections in connection with the project.

Keywords

Minorities Minority language Silence Archiving Norway 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian Association of Local and Private ArchivesTromsöNorway

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