Sweden’s indigenous Sami people win rights battle against state…

Pete's Write Place

Court grants Arctic village rights over hunting and fishing after lawyers for state were accused of ‘rhetoric of race biology’

Sami reindeer herders in northern Sweden.
Sami reindeer herders in northern Sweden. Photograph: Alamy

Sweden’s nomadic reindeer herders have won a 30-year battle for land rights in a court case that has seen the state accused of racism towards the country’s only indigenous people.

A decision in Gällivare district court on Wednesday granted the tiny Sami village of Girjas, inside the Arctic Circle, exclusive rights to control hunting and fishing in the area, restoring powers stripped from the Sami people, or Laplanders, by Sweden’s parliament in 1993.

“It is a symbolic step towards getting Sami rights acknowledged, and we hope that this verdict can shape policies towards Sami issues in Sweden, that was the main goal,” said Åsa Larsson Blind, vice-president of the Sami Council, which represents Sami people in

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