Outside of the royal palace, in Oslo, seven Sámi youths waited to speak with King Harald V of Norway. They wore gáktis, their traditional clothing, and on the lawn, near the neoclassical building, a lávvu stood — a temporary Sámi dwelling that resembles a teepee. Just after noon, the youths were granted an audience with the king.
The meeting was the culmination of several days of protests in Oslo that captured the boldness of young Sámi activists as well as the obstacle they face: challenging the government of Norway to respect its own laws and the rights of Indigenous Sámi people. To date, they have been unsuccessful.
The protests have been fueled by frustration and anger over the $1.3 billion Fosen wind farm, the largest wind project in Norway on the nation’s central-west coast. Exactly two years before protests began, Norway’s Supreme Court ruled that the wind park had been built illegally in Sápmi, the traditional territory of the Sámi, and violated the rights of Sámi reindeer herders as well as the cultural rights of the Sámi peoples. In the... Read more