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Dislocation of Sami people

The dislocation of Sami people was the ordered movement of 300–400 Sami people from Jukkasjärvi and Karesuando in the 1920s to 1940s.



This was outermost a result of political nature between Norway and Russia. Russia wanted the right to keep on fishing in Norwegian fjords but this was denied by Norway. In 1852 Russia answered by cutting off all relationships with Norway, causing regions in Torne Valley (on the Finnish-Russian side) to be excluded from Norwegian Samis' traditional pasture lands and vice versa. About 400 individuals from Norwegian Kautokeino area then started to change nationality to Swedish and settled in the parish of Karesuando, simply to gain access to previous pasture regions in Finland, since Russia said that Swedish Samis could enter Finland. This lasted until 1889, when Russia closed the border between Sweden and Finland also for Swedish Samis.


First movingsEdit

After the pasture in Karesuando became exhausted, which happened very quickly due to many of the families who left Kautokeino had very large herds, some of the original families of Karesuando and some of Kautokeino moved to the parishes of Jukkasjärvi, Gällivare, and Jokkmokk. Among these were Johan Turi. These first movings was all by own choice.

Forced relocationEdit

In 1919 Norway and Sweden wrote a new convention about reindeer pasture areas. This led to the four northernmost Sami villages losing their right to pasture in Norway. As the herds grew and the situation became worse, the Swedish parliament decided that the number of reindeer in Karesuando should be decreased or else moved. Most herders refused to cut down their herd and the authorities decided to move some families from Karesuando by force. In the early 1920s several families and 10,000s of reindeer were moved. Most of them to Arjeplog and Jokkmokk in south Norrbotten but also to Västerbotten particularly Tärnaby. This relocation is what most people mean when they talk about dislocation by force since those who resisted were threatened by law.

Third waveEdit

In the 1940s a few families moved from Karesuando to Jokkmokk and Norway. This was all by own choice.


Since the Northern Sami were different from the Sami originally living in the areas to which they moved, great controversy emerged. Most of the conflicts were centered around reindeer herding since the North Sami were used to other conditions and had different methods of herding. When the authorities intervened, they were unable to solve the problems; however they sided with the North Sami, claiming that they were more primitive – an opinion possibly based on clear racism. These conflicts between the original users of the land and the newcomers still divide the Sami in the area today.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit