Sami Parliament of Finland
The Sami Parliament of Finland (Finnish: Saamelaiskäräjät, Northern Sami: Sámediggi, Inari Sami: Sämitigge, Skolt Sami: Sääʹmteʹǧǧ) is the representative body for people of Sami heritage in Finland. The parliament consists of 21 elected mandates. The current president is Tiina Sanila-Aikio, the first vice-president is Heikki Paltto and the second vice president is Tuomas Aslak Juuso.
The act establishing the Finnish Sami Parliament was passed on 9 November 1973. The original name of was Sámi parlameanta in Northern Sami. Martti Ahtisaari passed the Act on the Sámi Parliament on 17 July 1995. This law was amended and a decree passed on 22 December 1995 and on 2 March 1996, Sámi parlameanta officially became Sámediggi.
Some of the responsibilities of the Finnish Sámi Parliament include matters related to the languages and culture of the Sámi, and also their status as an indigenous people. The Finnish Sámi Parliament decides on the distribution of the funds it receives that are earmarked for use by the Sámi. It can also sponsor bills and release statements on matters that fall under its jurisdiction.
The Finnish Sámi Parliament is a separate branch of the Ministry of Justice and is an independent legal body subject to public law with its own governing body, accountants as well as auditors.
The parliament has working groups for: education and education materiel, Sami livelihood and rights, culture, social issues and health, election, and Sami language.
The Finnish Sámi Parliament has 21 representatives and 4 deputy representatives who are elected every 4 years from the Sami Domicile Area. Each of the municipalities in the Sámi Domicile Area (Enontekiö, Utsjoki, Inari and Sodankylä) has thus at least 3 representatives and 1 deputy representative each.
Under the Section 3 of the Act on the Sámi Parliament a person is eligible for voting if they consider themselves as a Sámi, and:
- They, or one of their parents or grandparents used Sámi as mother tongue, or
- They are descended from a person in the mountain, forest, or fisher Lapp Sámi register (tunturi-, metsä tai kalastajalappalaiseksi), or
- At least one of their parents are, was, or could have been, eligible for voting at the Sámi parliament of 1995 or the Sámi council of 1973.
- Harju, Terhi (March 28, 2015). "Tiina Sanila-Aikio lij sääʹmteeʹǧǧ ođđ saaǥǥjååʹđteei" [Tiina Sanila-Aikio is the new president of the Sámi Parliament] (in Skolt Sami). Retrieved March 28, 2015.
- "Act on the Sámi Parliament (974/1995; amendments up to 1026/2003 included, laki saamelaiskäräjistä)" (PDF). Finlex. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- "Asetus saamelaiskäräjistä 22.12.1995/1727" [Decree on the Sámi Parliament]. Finlex (in Finnish). Retrieved 25 January 2015.