The use of the Sámi language in the public administration

Active and wider use of the Sámi language is a very important element in the further development of Sámi culture. Similarly, it is also important that the Sámi language is used in the public context.

The Sámi and Norwegian languages have equal status, cf. the Sámi Act § 1-5 and chapter 3. Within the administrative district for the Sámi languages (the municipalities of Kåfjord, Kautokeino, Karasjok, Nesseby, Porsanger, Tana, Lavangen, Tysfjord, Snåsa og Røyrvik), Sámi and Norwegian are languages with equal status.

The Government works with an aim of securing Sámi to be a living language. Active and wider use of the Sámi language is a very important element in the further development of Sámi culture. Similarly, it is also important that the Sámi language is used in the public context. The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development launched its Sámi-language web pages on 6 February 2003, on the Sámi People’s Day. The Government’s web pages in Sámi are intended to be the main channel for information from the Government and the Ministries in Sámi: reports to the Storting, propositions, acts of law, regulations and other Sámi language documents.

Public bodies are expected to comply with the language rules in the Sámi Act and to be able to communicate in writing in the Sámi language. Public information must also be adapted to the Sámi population, which means, for example, that official forms must also be available in Sámi. The report A study and report on public Sámi information services, which was produced by the Nordic Sámi Institute for the Ministry of Local Government and Regional development in 2001, proposes, among other things, measures to increase the use of the Sámi language and information in Sámi. In order to strengthen the Sámi language, the Government has decided that central government agencies shall be required to assess the need for support for the Sámi language in their systems.

The Lule Sámi and South Sámi languages are particularly vulnerable, and more must be done to maintain and develop these languages.

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