ČSV is an initialism used to promote Sámi identity and activism. The three letters are the most commonly used in Sámi languages, and together they can stand for a variety of phrases, although the most common modern meaning is Čájet Sámi Vuoiŋŋa! (Show Sámi Spirit).

A ČSV badge


In the early 1970s, Sámi activists adopted ČSV as a watchword similar to how the American Indian Movement and the Black Panthers used the phrases "Red Power" and "Black Power" respectively. [1] ČSV did not represent a group, but more of an idea that minority groups should take a more confrontational stance in demanding change. Johan Jernsletten [no] is credited with coming up with the purposefully vague acronym during the protests in Máze, Norway in 1970, saying that it stood for Čiegus Sámi Viehka (Secret Sámi Helper).[2] Although the phrase originated among the Northern Sámi community in Finnmark, Norway, it soon spread across Sápmi and to other Sámi language groups.[3][4] In general, someone who works actively to support the Sámi community has been referred to a ČSV.[5] As an ethnocultural movement, ČSV has been associated with a certain style, including wearing gáktis, nutukas, tin-thread embroidery, and the Sami colors.[6]


While the origin of ČSV was political, it soon became a cultural identifier drawing the attention of authors and artists.[3][7] In 1972, participants at a Sirma, Norway, cultural seminar to promote Sámi literature were tasked with writing what ČSV meant for them as part of an exercise to encourage Sámi to write about Sámi experiences.[8] The literary anthology Čállagat launched out of this seminar, publishing 16 issues and featuring many first-time Sámi authors. A number of issues of Čállagat featured poems with words containing the letters ČSV.[9]

In 2013, Kildin Sámi photographer Sergey Gavrilov asked Sámi youth to repeat the ČSV exercise for an exhibition at the Sami Center for Contemporary Art in Kárášjohka, Norway.[10] In 2014, the play ČSV-Republihkka explored the idea of a unified, independent Sápmi and how different Sámi communities and languages might engage with one another and the world.[11]


Expressing the meaning of ČSV for many is an exercise in creativity, demonstrating the adaptability of the Sámi people and languages.[2] Common meanings include: [12]

  • Čájet Sámi Vuoiŋŋa! (Show Sámi Spirit!)
  • Čohkke Sámiid Vuitui! (Sámi Unite for Victory!)
  • Čállet Sámi Verddet! (Write, Sámi friends!)


  1. ^ Minde, Henry (2003). "The Challenge of Indigenism". In Svein Jentoft; Henry Minde; Ranger Nilsen (eds.). Indigenous Peoples: Resource Management and Global Rights: 7th Circumpolar Universities Cooperation Conference. Delf, Netherlands: Eburon Uitgeverij B.V. p. 90. ISBN 978-90-5166-978-7. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b DuBois, Thomas A.; Cocq, Coppélie (2019). Sámi Media and Indigenous Agency in the Arctic North. Seattle, Washington: University of Washington Press. ISBN 978-0-295-74661-6. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b Kalstad, Johan Klemet Hætta. "ČSV – sámi nationalisttaid dahje sámenašuvnna doaimmalaččaid muitun". Sámi Dieđalaš Áigečála (in Northern Sami). 2013 (1): 29–48. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  4. ^ Lundström, Jan-Erik (2014). "Decades of Change: Visual Arts in Finnmark, Norway in the 1970s and 1980s". In Katajamäki, Jonna (ed.). Northern Beauty: Barents Visual Arts in the 1970s and the 1980s (PDF). Rovaniemi, Finland: University of Lapland. pp. 93–113. ISBN 978-952-484-744-5. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  5. ^ Hætta, Mathis (5 January 2012). "Vi trenger nye ČSV-ere" [We need new ČSVs]. NRK Sápmi (in Norwegian). Kárášjohka, Norway. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  6. ^ Hernes, Maria (2007). Being Sami Enough: Increasing the Sami Stage of Performance (PDF) (MA). University of Oslo. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  7. ^ Mathisen, Hans Ragnar. "ČSV. Čájet Sámi Vuoiŋŋa! A look at one of the most important symbols of Sámi revitalization in the early 1970-ies". Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  8. ^ Frederiksen, Lill Tove (October 1, 2019). "A brief history of Sámi literature". Aarhus, Denmark: nordics.info. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  9. ^ Domokos, Johanna (2018). A Writing Hand Reaches Further: "Čálli giehta ollá guhkás" — Recommendations for the improvement of the Sámi literary field. Helsinki, Finland: Culture for All Service. ISBN 9789526677422.
  10. ^ "ČSV: A Few Thoughts". Kárášjohka, Norway: Sámi Dáiddaguovddás. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  11. ^ Johansen, Siri Broch (August 2014). "ČSV Republihkain Sámis Johtit" [ČSV Republic Moves from Sápmi] (PDF). Sámis (in Northern Sami). No. 15. Kárášjohka, Norway. pp. 18–24. ISSN 0809-7410. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  12. ^ Kuhn, Gabriel (2020). Liberating Sápmi: Indigenous Resistance in Europe's Far North. Oakland, California: PM Press. ISBN 978-1-62963-779-2.