Skip to main content

The Indigenous Identity of the South Saami

Historical and Political Perspectives on a Minority within a Minority

  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2019

You have full access to this open access Book


  • Presents an essential resource for researchers and teachers in the field of indigenous studies worldwide
  • Offers unique insights on the under-researched history and culture of the Saami people in Central Scandinavia, and especially the South Sami – a minority within a minority
  • In a Nordic context, the book is of current interest in the light of the 2017 and 2018 centennials of the first national Saami congresses in Trondheim in 1917 and Østersund in 1918, and the current truth and reconciliation process in Norway

Buy print copy

Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Table of contents (9 chapters)

  1. Introduction

  2. Historical and Archaeological Perspectives

  3. Hegemony and Current Conflicts


About this book

This open access book is a novel contribution in two ways: It is a multi-disciplinary examination of the indigenous South Saami people in Fennoscandia, a social and cultural group that often is overlooked as it is a minority within the Saami minority. Based on both historical material such as archaeological evidence, 20th century newspapers, and postcard motives as well as current sources such as ongoing land-right trials and recent works of historiography, the articles highlight the culture and living conditions of this indigenous group, mapping the negotiations of different identities through the interaction of Saami and non-Saami people through the ages. By illuminating this under-researched field, the volume also enriches the more general debate on global indigenous history, and sheds light on the construction of a Scandinavian identity and the limits of the welfare state and the myth of heterogeneity and equality.


“This book makes for a thought-provoking read. It raises universal questions about how we define group identity, how these definitions can vary within a group, how others can define us, and what impact these understandings can have in our wider lives. This is nicely interwoven with stories of how the South Saami are currently negotiating these questions, leaving the reader with a nuanced awareness and knowledge of this dynamic minority within a minority.” (Nordicum-Mediterraneum, Vol. 19 (1), 2024)

Editors and Affiliations

  • The Faculty of Education and Arts, Nord University, Levanger, Norway

    Håkon Hermanstrand, Asbjørn Kolberg, Leiv Sem

  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

    Trond Risto Nilssen

About the editors

Håkon Hermanstrand is a historian and PhD candidate at the Faculty of Teacher Education and Arts, Nord University. He has specialized in South Saami history and focused on developing and imparting knowledge about this field. He has worked at Saemien Sïjte, the South Saami museum, published articles and written a book on regional South Saami history. Currently he is working on his PhD thesis on Saami land use and land-lease contracts in the eighteenth century. Recently, he has been appointed by the Norwegian Parliament to a truth and reconciliation commission mandated to investigate injustice and forced assimilation suffered by the Saami and the Finnic ethnic minority in Norway.

Asbjørn Kolberg is an Associate Professor of Norwegian Language and Literature at the Faculty of Education and Arts, Nord University. He is currently serving as the Coordinator of Nord University’s new South and Lule Saami Teacher Education Programme. His research interests include children’s literaturein a contemporary and historical perspective, critical text analysis, representations of indigenous people in literature and media and South Saami history and culture. In 2015 Kolberg was elected Honorary Fellow of the University of Latvia.

Trond Risto Nilssen is currently Associate Professor at Nord University, Faculty of Teacher Education and Arts, and at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Teacher Education. He was awarded his PhD at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. A historian, he has been working on Second World War subjects, the post-war settlement in Norway and the use of memorial sites in Europe (former Nazi camps). His latest research concentrates on political and historical perspectives related to the indigenous South Saami people of Norway.

Leiv Sem is a cultural historian and Associate Professor in Norwegian literature at the Faculty of Teacher Education and Arts, Nord University. He was awarded his PhD at the University of Oslo in 2010 with his thesis on the cultural memory of the Second World War in Norway. His other research interests include oral history, oral poetry and the history of literature. He has previously edited books on war commemoration culture in Europe and on Norwegian folkloristics. His most recent works focus on indigenous issues in the Norwegian cultural memory.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: The Indigenous Identity of the South Saami

  • Book Subtitle: Historical and Political Perspectives on a Minority within a Minority

  • Editors: Håkon Hermanstrand, Asbjørn Kolberg, Trond Risto Nilssen, Leiv Sem

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-05028-3Published: 25 February 2019

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-05029-0Published: 01 February 2019

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XI, 186

  • Number of Illustrations: 10 b/w illustrations, 13 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Scandinavian, Linguistic Anthropology, Language Policy and Planning, Archaeology

Publish with us