Measures relating to the Sami and national minorities
Article 110 a of the Norwegian Constitution states that "It is the responsibility of the authorities of the State to create conditions enabling the Sami people to preserve and develop its language, culture and way of life."
Strengthening the arts and culture of the Sami is an important element in the Government’s commitment to strengthening cultural diversity.
The Government stresses that the Sami and members of national minorities should be effectively involved in matters concerning their communities and culture, and emphasises the need for a close dialogue about measures and priorities.
In 2009 the Government presented a White Paper on language policy to the parliament. Norwegian language policy shall safeguard and develop Norwegian sign language, Sami language and the languages of national minorities. Other important objectives include maintaining Nordic language comprehension and improving citizens’ foreign language skills.
Norway has ratified the Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, the European Charter for Minority and Regional Languages and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.
In addition to allocating an annual grant for arts and culture to the Sami Parliament, the Ministry of Culture provides direct funding to other Sami measures, such as an international indigenous festival, the International Sami Film Centre and press subsidies for Sami-language newspapers.
The National Sami Museum Network (Nasjonalt samisk museumsnettverk) was established in December 2007. In 2006, the National Museum Network for Minorities and Diversity (Nasjonalt museumsnettverk for minoriteter og mangfold) was formed. Both networks are monitored by Arts Council Norway
The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education and Research provide funding to several initiatives and measures related to safeguarding and promoting the cultural expressions of national minorities. Funding is allocated to safeguarding and developing the Kven language and culture; to safeguarding and disseminating knowledge about Judaism and Jewish culture, tradition and history in Norway; and to safeguarding the Forest Finn culture. Funding is also allocated to the Varanger Museum and the Glomdal Museum, both of which have departments dealing with Kven and Roma culture.
The Ministry of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs operates a grant scheme for national minorities. The grant scheme allocates funding to organisations and specific projects, of which several are arts and culture projects. In 2007, the said ministry launched the Fund for Roma/Tater Culture. The annual proceeds of the fund are allocated to projects and measures safeguarding and developing Roma/Tater language, history and culture.
In the museum field, Arts Council Norway (until 1 January 2011 the Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority) has in recent years pursued several strategies in order to give priority to promotion of cultural expressions that have been marginalised or absent from discussions on ‘national’ culture. Indigenous peoples, national minorities and new minorities are priority areas in the museum and archival sectors.
Arts Council Norway gives priority to externally managed projects that contribute to the documentation and promotion of minorities’ culture and history. Projects may be local or national, large or small scale and support granted for one or several years. Between 2007 and 2011, the Arts Council Norway funded a total of 48 minority projects in the archives and museum field, with a total allocation of nearly 12 million NOK.
The figure provided below refers to the resourced allocated from 2007 through 2011.