The Minister of Culture solemnly drops the Sami marking

– I think it is surprising and actually quite unfortunate that the government is not able to send a single minister on such a historically important and symbol-heavy celebration as this, says the incoming leader of the family and culture committee in the Storting, Grunde Almeland (V), to NTB.

On Tuesday, the «Sami Magna Carta», the Lappekodisillen, will be handed over to the Sami archive in Kautokeino. The document from 1751 has been absolutely central to securing Sami rights.

King Harald is present during the ceremony, and the plan was for the Minister of Culture and Gender Equality to be responsible for the actual handover.

But after the change of government, the plans have changed, and Minister of Culture and Gender Equality Anette Trettebergstuen (Labor Party) sends State Secretary Gry Haugsbakken (Labor Party) to the ceremony instead.

– Unfortunately, it turned out that after the change of government, we have to put in place changes in the state budget, with short deadlines and a lot that needs to be in place. In addition, we in the Storting where the accession debate requires that we who are in government are present. Unfortunately, this means that the plans that were made a while ago must be changed, and that I will not be able to attend. I am of course disappointed, says Trettebergstuen to NTB.

– Should have found time

Almeland understands that you must be present in the Storting.

– But there are a large number of ministers in the new government, and it is not the case that everyone must be present at the same time in a throne debate. I think the government should have found time for this, he says.

The left-wing politician is sure that party colleague Abid Raja would have given priority to being present if he was still Minister of Culture.

– This was high on his list and was as I understand it planned for several months, he says.

Disappointing

Another who reacts is the leader of the Conservative Party’s Sami political committee, Ellen Inga O Hætta.

– I think it’s disappointing. With all due respect to state secretaries, it does not give the same weight, she says to NTB.

On behalf of the Sami Conservatives and also the Sami population, she thinks it is regrettable.

– I understand that it is difficult to enter into agreements made by the previous government, but having said that, the king himself prioritises this. I hope this is not the trend of the new government, that they do not prioritize Sami issues. It would be a shame, says Hætta.

She is surprised by the decision.

– I actually thought that they managed to prioritize it. I myself have been in a government apparatus and think that it is not very strategic not to be in the Sami political arena, first and foremost, says Hætta.

Historical document

The Lapp codicil ensures, among other things, the Sami’s right to move reindeer across national borders. Although the document is from 1751, it is still effective.

The outgoing Sami Parliament President Aili Keskitalo will receive the document during the ceremony in Kautokeino.

– The previous minister was interested in contributing, but the new minister clearly does not have the opportunity or can not prioritize it. But on a day like this, we all come in the shadow of the king no matter what, she tells NTB.

– What do you think about it?

– No, we had hoped to greet the new Minister of Culture, but I expect that she will find another opportunity as soon as possible to visit Sami cultural institutions, Keskitalo says.

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