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Further Assimilation

Lifjell, Ole-Henrik

My name is Ole-Henrik Lifjell. I am a 24-year-old Sámi on the Norwegian side of Sápmi. I am what you call an Åarjel-saemie, a southern Sámi. Sápmi is the term we Sámi use to refer to the geographical area in which we reside. This includes the countries of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. The Sámi are widely spread out and there are cultural differences and differences in language between us, even though we are one People.

We see that the way the Sámi are treated by governments also differs among the four countries in which we live. This has historically made—and still makes—it difficult for us Sámi to stand united as one People. We do not face the same challenges in our respective countries, and the governments in each country have different histories in the way they treated our ancestors (and how that has led to the way we are treated today). This is something that, in my experience, is dividing us Sámi.

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Also Published In

Global Indigenous Youth: Through Their Eyes

More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University
Published Here
October 28, 2019


This is a chapter from "Global Indigenous Youth: Through Their Eyes". The entire volume is available in Academic Commons at