Sami Indigenous Spirituality: Religion and Nation-building in Norwegian Sápmi

Authors

  • Siv Ellen Kraft Department of History and Religious Studies at the University of Tromsø, Norway.

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.33356/temenos.7900

Abstract

In March 2008, the university library in Tromsø celebrated the opening of what they referred to as an ‘indigenous room’. A collection of Sami literature was moved from its previous geographical and cultural context to what is today considered the more relevant company of American Indians, Australian aborigines and African peoples. Indicative of the increasing institutionalisation of the Sami as an indigenous people, the debate over what it means to be ‘indigenous’ is today important to Sami research, political strategies, cultural activities and religious creativity. In an attempt to take such innovations seriously, the article discusses some of the religious dimensions of Sami nation-building resulting from the ongoing processes of indigenisation. More specifically, I deal with a project structured by the international grammar of nation-building, which shares in the qualities of a civil religion and is at the same time shaped by ‘indigenous spirituality’. Although a fairly recent construct, what I refer to as ‘indigenous spirituality’ is nevertheless a significant global discourse, developed primarily through the UN and international law. According to this perspective, indigenous peoples are the children of Mother Earth, and as such are opposed to and differentiated from the religions and worldviews of the ‘western’ world.

Keywords: Sami, nation-building, indigenous, nature spirituality, Mother Earth

Author Biography

Siv Ellen Kraft, Department of History and Religious Studies at the University of Tromsø, Norway.

SIV ELLEN KRAFT, PhD, is Associate Professor at the Department of His- tory and Religious Studies at the University of Tromsø, Norway.

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Published

2009-09-01

How to Cite

Kraft, S. E. (2009). Sami Indigenous Spirituality: Religion and Nation-building in Norwegian Sápmi. Temenos - Nordic Journal of Comparative Religion, 45(2). https://doi.org/10.33356/temenos.7900

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Articles