News Release

Indigenous self-determination takes different paths in Northern Canada and Norway

February 5, 2019 Print

Montreal – Campaigns for Indigenous self-determination around the world have taken different paths. In many ways Canada and Norway have been trailblazers, but their approaches differ considerably, explains a new study from the Institute for Research on Public Policy.

In contrast, the Norwegian Sámi have focused on developing non-territory-based, shared-rule institutions that connect to non-Indigenous governments in order to influence decisions that affect them. The most notable achievement was the creation of the Sámediggi in 1989, an elected Indigenous parliament that represents the Sámi from all parts of the country. It has limited jurisdictional authority over language, culture and education, and has close links to the Norwegian government.

Wilson and Selle conclude that despite the progress in both countries, there is still work to do: “Although the Inuit and the Sámi continue to face resistance to change from non-Indigenous governments, pursuing the development of robust institutions that build a better balance between self-rule and shared rule will be critical to their success.”

For the Inuit, this means developing additional governance processes for Inuit representatives to interact with non-Indigenous governments. In Norway, the Sámi need to work toward strengthening the means for regional self-rule.

Indigenous Self-Determination in Northern Canada and Norway, by Gary N. Wilson and Per Selle, can be downloaded from the Institute’s website.


The Institute for Research on Public Policy is an independent, national, bilingual, not-for-profit organization based in Montreal. To receive updates from the IRPP, please subscribe to our e‑mail list.

Media contact:  Shirley Cardenas, tel. 514-594-6877  scardenas@nullirpp.org

Indigenous Self-Determination in Northern Canada and Norway

Indigenous Self-Determination in Northern Canada and Norway

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Media Contact

Shirley Cardenas
Communications Coordinator
Tel. 514-594-6877 • scardenas@irpp.org