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Norway has recognized its Sami population as indigenous and has special rules for the protection of Sami cultural heritage. All Sami cultural heritage dating from prior to 1917, including gravesites, buildings, and objects, is automatically protected, while cultural heritage dating after that time may or may not be protected, depending on the circumstances.

Under Norwegian law, any cultural objects found must be reported to the police; failure to do so results in a fine or imprisonment. Sites designated as heritage sites may not be altered. Persons causing damage to heritage sites are subject to fines or imprisonment for up to two years for gross violations. Private owners of land may request funding to protect cultural heritage property.

Norwegian land use regulations also impact Sami cultural heritage protection. The indigenous Sami population of Norway, and in certain instances also Swedish Sami groups, have a right to use the land in Finnmark to fish and hunt, and to graze their reindeer. The question of the extent of this right to use natural resources is currently being challenged in Norwegian courts.  Land use is typically zoned by the municipality and the Norwegian state. All use of land is subject to a zoning plan, and the Sami Council has a right both to comment on proposals and appeal decisions that affect them. Almost 20% of Norway’s landmass is designated as national parks, which in itself may impinge on the freedom of the Sami people.

Norway has ratified both ILO Convention 169 and the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. Many Sami human remains were taken from Sami graves during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Most of these remains are now in the possession of research institutions, including Oslo University. In 1997, Norway became the first Nordic country in which Sami skulls were repatriated. Since then an additional ninety-seven skeletons have been repatriated and reburied in northern Norway.  

I. The Sami People

A. The Sami People

Norway is located on the far northern European peninsula, and includes parts of an area known as Sápmi, which runs through Norway, Sweden, and Finland, into Russia, where the Sami people live.[1] The Sami people are a diverse group speaking three main Sami languages/dialects and nine subdialects.[2] Norway was christened around the year 1,000 AD and starting in 1700 many Sami remains were buried in Norwegian State Church cemeteries.[3]

There are no official statistics for how many Sami are living throughout the Sápmi area as the local state governments (of Finland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden) do not generate official statistics for these groups.[4] Unofficial surveys claim that there are approximately 80,000 to 100,000 Sami living throughout Sápmi.[5] An estimated 50,000–65,000 of these live in the national state of Norway.[6] Thus, the Norwegian Sami population is the greatest across the area, both in real numbers and measured in per capita population.[7] The Norwegian Sami Council (Sametinget) had 16,958 registered voters in 2017.[8]

B. International Obligations and Domestic Law

1. Recognition of Sami People as Indigenous

Norway is a signatory to the International Labor Organization Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (ILO Convention 169).[9] Norway was the first country to ratify it in 1990.[10] Neither Sweden, Finland, nor Russia has ratified ILO 169 to recognize Sami as indigenous people.[11]  Thus, currently Norway is the only country that recognizes Sami as specifically indigenous. Sweden recognizes that the Sami are a “special people” but has not specifically recognized them as indigenous.[12] Norway on the other hand does recognize the Sami people as indigenous, and the Norwegian Constitution requires that the government “creates the conditions [that ensure] the Sami people can secure and develop its language, its culture, and its community.”[13]

2. Special Legislation Regarding the Sami People

The Sami Act regulates Sami conditions as well as establishes the Sami Council.[14]  The Sami Council is responsible for and represents the Sami people on matters that are of interest to the Sami people.[15] State agencies must also ask the Sami Council to comment on issues that concern them.[16] This includes central, regional, and local agencies.[17]

A special act, the Finnmark Act, also regulates the use of resources in Finnmark (a district in northern Norway that overlaps with the Sápmi area).[18] It specifically provides that the Sami Council can provide guidance on how to use the land.[19] It also provides that the law cannot limit any rights that the Sami have based on custom (hevd), or immemorial use (alders tid).[20]

3. International Obligations

In addition to ratifying the ILO 169 Convention, mentioned above, Norway has also ratified the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.[21] It is thus illegal to import cultural heritage objects from other states, and to export items that are of cultural importance to Norway, as specified in the Cultural Heritage Act.[22] In 1995 Norway ratified the European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (also known as the Valetta or Malta Convention) of 1972, which obliges Norway to protect and preserve the cultural heritage in a sound way.  The Convention entered into force in Norway in March 1996.[23] Its obligations are also part of the Cultural Heritage Act.

C. Prevalence of Sami Historic Items

Several Sami historical items are spread throughout Europe, including skulls, full skeletons, religious drums, clothes, and items for everyday use (such as cooking utensils).[24] A large number of human remains are located at research facilities. For example, Uppsala University has thirteen skulls in its collection.[25] These thirteen skulls have been collected both from Swedish and Norwegian cemeteries.[26] Oslo University has numerous skulls and skeletons that were excavated from Sami graves during the early 1900s; at its height the collection included between five hundred and one thousand Sami skeletons.[27] Some of the Skolt-Sami holdings (Neidensamlingen) were returned to the Skolt-Sami ancestors in 2007 and 2011, and resulted in the reburial of more than one hundred skulls.[28]

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II. Protection of Cultural Objects and Cultural Heritage

A. Objects Protected under the Cultural Heritage Act

Cultural objects and cultural heritage are protected by the Norwegian Cultural Heritage Act (Kulturminneloven).[29] The enumerated list includes the following examples of protected cultural objects:[30]

a) settlement sites, caves, natural rock shelters with evidence that people have lived or worked there, sites of dwellings or churches, churches, houses and structures of all kinds, and remains or parts of these, mounds marking ancient farming settlements, farms, homesteads, courtyard sites or any other groups of structures, such as market sites and trading places, town sites and the like or remains of these.

b) Work or workshop sites of all kinds such as quarries and other mining sites, iron extraction sites, charcoal burning and tar-making sites, and other traces of crafts or industry.

c) Traces of land cultivation of any kind, such as clearance cairns; ditches and plough furrows; fences and enclosures; and hunting, fishing, and trapping devices.

d) Roads and tracks of any kind, whether unpaved or paved with stone, wood, or other material; dams, bridges, fords, harbor installations, and crew-change stations; landing places and slipways; ferry berths and portages or their remains; obstructions in fairways;, road markers; and navigation markers.

e) Defense items of any kind such as hill-forts, entrenchments, ramparts, moats, fortifications, and remains of these and beacons, cairns, etc.

f) Council sites; cult sites; cult deposition sites; and cairns, wells, springs and other places associated with archeological finds, traditions, beliefs, legends, or customs.

g) Stones, rocks, and mountains with inscriptions or images such as runic inscriptions, rock carvings, and rock paintings, cup-marks, grooves, and other rock art.

h) Monoliths, crosses, and other similar monuments.

i) Stone settings, stone pavings, etc.

j) Gravesites of any kind, single ones or in groups, such as burial mounds, burial cairns, burial chambers, cremation burials, urn burials, coffin burials, cemeteries, and their enclosures, and sepulchral monuments of all kinds.[31]

Whereas “Norwegian” objects listed above must date back to 1537 or earlier to be protected, Sami cultural objects are protected if dating back to prior to 1917.[32] Areas surrounding cultural heritage sites are also protected.[33] As seen from the list above, most of the Sami objects from 1917 or earlier, including sacred places, are protectable. Also, more recent cultural heritage may be protected if it is tied to important historic events.[34]

B. Preservation of Sami Cultural Heritage

1. Automatic Protection of Sami Cultural Heritage and Sami Buildings from 1917 or Earlier

The Norwegian Cultural Heritage Act protects Norwegian cultural heritage, including Sami cultural heritage, and Sami buildings.[35] Following a legislative change in 2018, Norway now automatically protects all Sami cultural heritage that date back to 1917 and earlier.[36] Under the previous rules the Norwegian Cultural Heritage Act automatically protected all Sami cultural heritage (Samiske kulturminner) that was more than one hundred years old.[37] The new rules adopted by the Norwegian Parliament in June of 2018 freezes the period of protection, to 1917 and earlier. According to the Norwegian government, the fixed 1917 date, as opposed to a moving one-hundred-year mark, makes conservation easier and more predictable.[38] The seemingly arbitrary selection of 1917 as the historic threshold is a result of the first national assembly of the Sami at Trondheim in 1917.[39] Any Sami cultural heritage that is from 1918 and forward thus must instead seek protection under sections 15, 19, and 20 of the Cultural Heritage Act.[40] Such protections are made available for areas surrounding a protected area, or for new areas that otherwise have a unique cultural value (særart) where protecting it would protect the cultural heritage. Examples of Sami cultural heritage other than buildings include Sami offering sites.[41]

The Directorate for Cultural Heritage (Riksantikvaren) has a special program that covers protected Sami cultural buildings.[42] A review and inventory of protected buildings was initiated in 2011[43] and the full registry (Samiske bygningsregistreringer) was completed in 2017.[44] The list then included eight hundred to nine hundred buildings.[45] An example of a protected Sami building includes the Buret pa Fagerbakken (Cage on the Fager Hill).[46]

The government has provided funds, subject to an application, for the protection and preservation of privately owned cultural heritage sites and Sami buildings.[47] The Directorate for Cultural Heritage processes the application and grants the funding.[48]

2. Automatic Protection of Gravesites from Prior to 1917

Similar to other Sami cultural objects, Sami gravesites that date back to 1917 or earlier are automatically protected under the Norwegian Cultural Heritage Act.[49] The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (Norsk institutt for kulturminneforskning, NIKU) has published a report on the protected gravesites of the Sami, which are generally located in the northern parts of the country.[50] During its 2002 survey the NIKU found essentially five different types of Sami graves.[51] The older Sami graves (from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries) were located just outside the cemetery and were unmarked.[52] The newer graves (after the 1750s) were located in cemeteries and marked with a wooden cross with a name or initials.[53] For these graves, the information provided on Sami graves was typically less than the information included on the graves of non-Sami Norwegians, and many of the graves from prior to the 1900s had wooden crosses that had been destroyed, making the information illegible.[54] NIKU’s graveyard group that conducted the survey of the protected gravesites called for additional areas to be registered, including more southern areas where the Sami ancestors no longer identify as Sami.[55] Sami graveyards that are protected by the automatic protection provided by the Norwegian Cultural Heritage Act may not be altered.[56] Sami graveyards from 1918 or later are not automatically protected.[57] However, more recent Sami graveyards may be protected under the provision protecting all graves for forty years from burial.[58]

C. Limits on Land Use Based on the Cultural Heritage Act

1. Preservation

Persons who use and own land have a duty to examine whether it is subject to cultural heritage protection.[59] If the site is a protected cultural heritage site the person who wants to modify the site must make a request with the Directorate for Cultural Heritage or the police.[60] Although costs to protect and preserve automatically protected heritage sites must generally be borne by the owner or the person who takes the measure affecting the site, the Directorate of Cultural Heritage may decide to reimburse certain costs.[61]

The Norwegian state must provide compensation for moveable property that it expropriates on the basis of the property being of protected cultural value.[62] The state may also excavate human remains including skulls and skeletons.[63]

2. Prohibition on Alterations, Damage, Etc.

Buildings or cultural heritage sites that are automatically protected may not be altered.[64] The law specifically provides that ”[n]o action—unless otherwise permissible under § 8—may be initiated if it will damage, destroy, excavate, move, change, cover, hide, or in another way unduly hurt  automatically protected cultural heritage, or create a risk that this may happen.”[65]  Violations of this provision are subject to fines or one year of imprisonment (two years if the violation is especially heinous).[66] A recent example of a violation of a Sami heritage site is the Kallenholmen incident, where an individual, using a metal detector to mark the spots, dug up eighty holes in the Kallenholmen Sami heritage site.[67] The police did not manage to locate the perpetrator.[68] Previous surveys conducted by the police and Oslo University show that local police officers generally express that they lack expertise in how to investigate and prevent violations of heritage protection laws and damage to heritage sites.[69]

Examples of instances where fines were issued for the destruction of a cultural site include an NOK 150,000 (about US$14,000) fine issued to the Eigursund municipality for allowing one of its contractors to dig up parts of a Norwegian (non-Sami) heritage site.[70] Tønsberg municipality received a larger, NOK 1.5 million (about US$175,000) fine in 2016 when it dug into a heritage site.[71] Here the circumstances suggested the municipality was culpable and had not notified the county of its intended actions.[72]

Examples of instances where a prison sentence was delivered include a farmer who, absent prior approval, dug up parts of his land.[73] He was sentenced to a sixty-day jail sentence and an NOK 60,000 (about US$7,000) fine.[74]

D. Finder’s Rights and Obligations

By law, the finder of a cultural object (as defined in the Act on Cultural Heritage, see Part III(A), above) must report it to the police.[75] Failure to do so is subject to a fine or imprisonment for up to one year.[76]

A finder of a cultural object may be entitled to a finder’s fee. Finder’s fees are determined on an ad hoc basis by the sole discretion of the Directorate for Cultural Heritage.[77] If the object found is made of silver or gold then the reimbursement must be based on the value of the item as determined by the weight of the metal.[78]

Persons who violate the Cultural Heritage Act either through their actions or inaction may be fined or imprisoned for up to one year.[79]

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III. Repatriation of Human Remains

In 1997, Norway became the first Nordic country in which Sami human remains were repatriated.[80] Oslo University returned the skull of Mons Somby (one of the beheaded leaders behind the Kautokeino Uprising of 1852) to the Sami Cultural Board (Samisk kulturminneråd) in 1996.[81] He was later reburied together with Aslak Hætta, whose skull was found at the University of Copenhagen, in 1997.[82] Other descendants of Sami individuals have also requested to have their ancestors’ skulls returned and reburied.[83] For instance, Oslo University holds hundreds of skulls that were taken from the Sami.[84]  In 2011 a total of ninety-four Skolt-Sami (skoltesamer) remains were reburied in a mass grave in Neiden, an area on the Norwegian-Finnish-Russian border.[85] The government has not passed legal requirements or issued ethical guidelines for the conservation and return of Sami skulls and human remains.  

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IV. Excavation of Sami Graves

Excavation and archeological studies of Sami graves may be conducted by (or at the direction of) the Norwegian government, provided that certain rules are followed, including notifying the landowner.[86] The cultural heritage site must also be restored and the objects returned.[87] If the objects cannot be returned they must be preserved by the relevant government agency.[88] 

In 2005 an excavation and archeological survey of Sami grave sites in Øyo was conducted to determine whether pre-Christian customs of burial ceremonies (such as being buried with personal items) carried over to post-Christian Sami burial ceremonies.[89]

Newer graves, which do not qualify automatically for heritage protection, are protected in the Funeral Act.[90] The Act specifies when graves may be opened or moved.[91] New graves are typically protected for forty years.[92] Older graves that are considered cultural heritage, compare above, are automatically protected.[93]

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V. Laws Regulating Land Use, Conservation, and Sami Territorial Rights

A. Land Protection Legislation

The use of land in Norway is subject to several laws, including the Cultural Heritage Act mentioned above. In addition to that Act, the use of land is also subject to limitations found in the Nature Diversity Act and the Planning and Building Act.

1. Nature Diversity Act

The purpose of the Nature Diversity Act is to ensure that ”nature with its biological, geographic and geological diversity and ecological processes is taken care of through sustainable use and protection, also in a way that it provides a basis for mankind’s activities, culture, health and well-being, now and in the future, and also a basis for Sami culture.”[94] The law also requires that Sami usage of an area, as well as the impact on Sami culture, be considered before measures are undertaken to change the land.[95] The law specifically requires that the Sami Council be heard or have a chance to comment on issues that affect the Sami people.[96]

Under the Nature Diversity Act, protected areas such as national parks may be established.[97] If established, the use of these spaces is regulated and no activity having a lasting impact on nature or cultural heritage sites and objects may be undertaken.[98] As of 2017, 17% of Norway’s landmass was protected as national parks.[99] National parks may also be established on private land as the result of an amendment to the legislation.[100]  In determining whether a protected area should be established, both cultural interests and financial interests must be considered.[101]

Violations of the Nature Diversity Act are punishable by fine, unless a greater punishment is warranted because of other laws.[102] Thus, in the case of violations of Sami heritage sites in national parks, the Heritage Act and its specified punishments (a fine or imprisonment) would apply.[103]

Sami representatives are members of the National Park Boards in all National Parks where Sami people live or operate.[104]  

2. The Planning and Building Act

The Planning and Building Act is meant to coordinate efforts between the Norwegian state, municipalities, and districts in planning the zoning and use of land in Norway.[105] It is intended to create “sustainable development in the best interest of the individual, the community, and for future generations.”[106] Under the law, any development of Norwegian land must first be preapproved by the Ministry of Local Government and Modernization.[107] Development of an area not correctly zoned is prohibited, and violations of the Planning and Building Act may result in forced restitution as well as administrative fees, fines, or imprisonment.[108] Both the municipality and the Norwegian state must provide updated zoning plans.[109] Consideration must be given to “protection of important geographical and cultural areas,” but the plan should also create an opportunity for value appreciation and the development of industry.[110] The Sami Council has a right and duty to participate in local planning, and also has a right to comment on proposals and appeal decisions that affect them.[111] The state plan is revised every four years by the government.[112]  Sami reindeer herders have objected to the urbanization of northern areas.[113]

B. The Right to Roam

Generally, the right to roam (allemansretten) provides a public right to walk on private land (utmark), as well as a duty of care, i.e. persons are not allowed to damage the property.[114] The right to roam has been a foundation of Norwegian society since the 1700s when Norwegian settlers moved to Finnmark, the lands previously utilized primarily by the Sami people.[115] The right to exercise the right to roam and to use natural resources “such as stones, twigs, plants etc., of little or no financial value” is also illustrated by a section in the Penal Code that exempts the taking of these items from the provision on theft.[116] Similarly, property owners may not erect fences or other obstacles that would hinder the public’s use of their right to roam.[117] The right to roam must be exercised with due care for cultural heritage sites and objects.[118]

C. Reindeer Grazing Rights

1. Law and Customary Rights

The Sami people have a special right to use land in Finnmarken, the northern parts of Norway. About 40% of the Norwegian mainland is used for reindeer grazing.[119] The right is based both on custom and black letter law.[120]  Specifically, authorized Sami reindeer herders may allow their reindeer to graze in certain areas.[121] Norwegian law differentiates between the grazing rights during summer and winter months.[122] Finnmarken is controlled by the Finnmark Estate Agency  (Finnmarkseiendommen, FeFo), a special administrative agency that is made up of both Sami representatives and non-Sami representatives, all of whom must reside in Finnmarken.[123]

2. Recent Case Law on Grazing Rights

Although Norway recognizes the right of immemorial use by Sami reindeer herders, there are limits on the right to use the land for reindeer grazing or other activities. In January of 2019 the Norwegian Court of Appeals found that a Swedish Sami village that enjoys grazing rights during the winter months does not enjoy these same rights during the summer months.[124] This case may be appealed to the Supreme Court.[125] The Norwegian Supreme Court also held in 2018 that a Sami village in Finnmark, while possessing user rights based on immemorial use (alders tids bruk), did not have a right to regulate fishing, trapping, and hunting in Finnmark.[126] The right to regulate instead rested with the Finnmark Estate Agency as owner (grundeier) of the land.[127]

D. Current Land-Use Conflicts

The absence of a right for Sami people to administer the land that they use, as well as any determination that their use is based on the season, has consequences with regard to the granting of mining operations, creation of hydroelectric power stations, and other permissible uses of land used by the Sami. Some of the larger conflicts regarding land-use rights are between traditional Sami land use and mining.[128] For example, a copper mine in Kvalsund, which the Sami oppose, will be required to halt its operations during the reindeer calving period.[129] Another example of a land-use conflict is the prohibition on snowmobiles and other motorized traffic in protected areas (such as national parks), technology that the Sami reindeer herders use.[130] These prohibitions are often in place to protect cultural sites and the environment, including Sami heritage sites. The tourism industry also creates a potential for conflict, and the creation of national parks may limit the freedom of the Sami.

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Prepared by Elin Hofverberg
Foreign Law Specialist
March 2019

[2] Language, Dialect or Variety?, Samer, (last visited Mar. 5, 2019), archived at

[3] Kathryn W. Shanley & Bjørg Evjen, Mapping Indigenous Presence: North Scandinavian and North American Perspectives 29 (2015).

[5] Antalet samer i Sápmi, Samer, (last visited Mar. 5, 2019), archived at

[6] Id.; Statistisk Sentralbyrå, supra note 1.

[7] Statistisk Sentralbyrå, supra note 1.

[8] Id. at 25. For the area of residence of the Sami voters see id. at 23.

[9] Convention Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, ILO 1989 No. 169, June 27, 1989 (entered into force Sept. 5, 1991), NO::P12100_ILO_CODE:C169, archived at; ILO‑konvensjon nr. 169 om urfolk og stammefolk i selvstendige stater, Regjeringen (Dec. 3, 2018),, archived at; Ratifications of C169 - Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169), ILO,, archived at

[10] Ratifications of C169 - Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169), ILO, supra note 9.

[11] Id.

[12] 1 kap. 2 § Regeringsformen [Instrument of Government] (Svensk författningssamling [SFS] 1794:152),, archived at

[13] § 108 Grunnloven [Norwegian Constitution] (LOV 1817-05-17), 1814-05-17, archived at (translation by author).

[14] §§ 1-1 and 1-2 Lov om Sametinget og Andre Samiske Rettsforhold (Sameloven) [Act on the Sami Council and Other Sami Legal Relationship (Sami Act)] (LOV-1987-06-12-56), lov/1987-06-12-56, archived at See also Norges Offentlige Utredninger [Government Report], NOU 1997: 5, Urfolks landrettigheter etter folkerett og utenlandsk rett – Bakgrunnsmateriale for Samerettsutvalge [Indigenous Peoples Rights According to International Law and Foreign Law – Background Material for the Sami Rights Survey] (Jan. 1997), contentassets/5b44693549934f36af8a901cfbf3f3cd/no/pdfa/nou1997 19970005000dddpdfa.pdf, archived at

[15] Id.

[16] Id. § 2-2.

[17] Odelstings Proposisjon [Ot.prp.] [Government Bill] nr. 33 (1986–1987) Om lov om Sametinget og andre samiske rettsforhold (sameloven) [Regarding Act on the Sami Council and Other Sami Relations (Sami Act)], at 118.

[18] Lov om rettsforhold og forvaltning av grunn og naturressurser i Finnmark fylke (Finnmarksloven) [Act on the Legal Relationship and Administration of Ground and Natural Resources in Finnmark (The Finnmark Act)] (LOV 2005-06-17-85),, archived at

[19] Id. § 4.

[20] Id. § 5. For further discussions on the land use rights of the Sami reindeer herders see Part V, below.

[21] UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, Paris, Nov. 14, 1970, 13039&language=E, archived at; Forskrift om tilbakelevering av stjålne og ulovlig utførte kulturgjenstande (FOR-2001-10-04-1179),, archived at

[22] §§ 23 and 23a Lov om kulturminner [kulturminneloven] [Act on Cultural Heritage Objects (Cultural Heritage Act)] (LOV 1987-06-09-50),, archived at

[23] European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage, Jan. 16, 1992, ETS No. 143,, archived at of Signatures and Ratifications of Treaty 143, Status as of 13/03/2019, Council of Europe,, archived at

[24] Gunnilla Edbom, Samiskt kulturarv i samlingar - Rapport från ett projekt om återföringsfrågor gällande samiska föremål, Arkeologisk rapport 2005:1, Ájtte, Svenskt Fjäll- och Samemuseum (2015), http://www.ajtte. com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Samiskt_kulturarv_i_samlingar.pdf, archived at

[25] Id. at 41.

[26] Id.

[27] Yngve Vogt, UiO har tusenvis av skjeletter i skapet, Apollon (June 14, 2018), https://www.apollon.uio. no/artikler/2018/2_skjeletter.html, archived at

[28] Kaspar Fuglesang & Erik Lieungh, Begravde 94 skoltesamer for andre gang, NRK (Sept. 26, 2011),, archived at; Verdig og respektfull gjenbegravning i Neiden, So-Vanger Kommune (Sept. 25, 2011),, archived at

[29] § 3 Kulturminneloven.

[30] Id. § 4.

[31] Id. § 4. (translation by author).

[32] §§ 4 and 12 Kulturminneloven.

[33] Id. § 6.

[34] Id. § 15.

[35] §§ 4, 15, 19 and 20 Kulturminneloven.

[36] Id.  § 4.

[37] Compare Kulturminneloven, as in force until 2018.

[38] Proposisjon [Prop.] [Government Bill] 42 L (2017-2018) Endringer i kulturminneloven (fredningsgrensen for samiske kulturminner) [Amendments to the Cultural Heritage Act (Protection of Sami Cultural Heritage)], at 6,, archived at

[39] Innstilling [Innst.] [Committee Report] 305 L (2017–2018) Innstilling fra familie- og kulturkomiteen om Endringer i kulturminneloven (fredningsgrensen for samiske kulturminner) Recommendations from the Family and Cultural Committee Regarding Amendments to the Cultural Heritage Act (Protections for the Sami Cultural Heritage)],, archived at

[40] §§ 15, 19 and 20 Kulturminneloven.

[41] Samiske kulturminne, Riksantikvaren, (last visited Mar. 5, 2019), archived at

[42] Bevaringsprogrammet for samiske kulturminner, Riksantikvaren, Bevaringsprogramma/Bevaringsprogrammet-for-samiske-kulturminner (last visited Mar. 5, 2019), archived at

[44] Samisk bygningsvern – Viktig kulturhistorie, Sametinget, supra note 43.

[45] Id.

[46] Buret på Fagerbakken – en ikonisk samisk bygningstype, Riksantikvaren, https://www.riksantikvaren. no/Aktuelt/Maanedens-kulturminne/Buret-paa-Fagerbakken-en-ikonisk-samisk-bygningstype (last visited Mar. 5, 2019), archived at

[47] Tilskuddsmidler 2019 - Freda samiske bygninger i privat eie, Sametinget, (last visited Mar. 5, 2019), archived at

[48] Retningslinger og vilkåfor tilskudd fra Statsbudsjettet Kap. 1429 Post 71-79, Riksantikvarien,, archived at

[49] Id. § 4.

[50] Asgeir Svestad & Stine Barlindhaug, Norsk institutt for kulturminneforskning, Samiske Kirkegårder Registrering av automatisk freda samiske kirkegårder i Nord Troms og Finnmark (2003), https://brage.bibsys. no/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11250/2561037/NIKURapport4.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y, archived at

[51] Id. at 10–11.

[52] Id. at 10.

[53] Id. at 11.

[54] Id. at 12.

[55] Id. at 13.

[56] § 3 Kulturminneloven.

[57] Id. § 4.

[58] § 8 Lov om gravplasser, kremasjon og gravferd (gravferdsloven) [Act on Grave plots, Cremation, and Funerals (the Funeral Act)] (LOV 1996-06-07-32),, archived at also Gravplasser mangler lovbeskyttelse etter 40 år, Økokrim (Apr. 7, 2011),, archived at

[59] § 9 Kulturminneloven.

[60] Id. § 8.

[61] Id. § 10.

[62] Id. § 11.

[63] Id.

[64] Id. § 3.

[65] Id.

[66] Id. § 27.

[67] PRM: Fredet kulturminne på Kalle i Vågan kommune rasert,  Sametinget (May 22, 2018), https://www., archived at

[68] Synne Mauseth, Henla saken etter at kulturminne ble rasert, Lofotposten (Dec. 29, 2018), https://www.lofo, archived at

[69] Kulturminnekriminalitet, ØKOKRIM (May 30, 2011),, archived at

[70] 150 000 i bot til Eigersund kommune for å grave sjakt i kulturminne, ØKOKRIM (Dec. 19, 2013), https://www., archived at

[71]Aktuelle førelegg, ØKOKRIM (May 13, 2015),, archived at

[72] Id.

[73] Gulating lagmannsrett [Gulating Appeals Court] LG-2009-113472 (2010-10-14) (on file with author), also available at LG-2009-113472, searchResultContext=1167&rowNumber=47&totalHits=345 (by subscription), archived at 2FPD-KK5E.

[74] Id.

[75] § 13 Kulturminneloven.

[76] Id. § 27.

[77] Id. § 13.

[78] Id. § 13 mom. 4.

[79] Id. § 27.

[80] Hodeskallen levert tilbake, Uniforum (Sept. 3, 1996), forum11-96/hode.html, archived at; Norway Returns Skulls of Lappish Dead, BBC (Dec. 15, 1997),, archived at

[81] Hodeskallen levert tilbake, Uniforum, supra note 80.

[82] Aslak Hættas hodeskalle i København, Uniforum (May 15, 1997), 1997/uniforum08-97/a7.html, archived at; Per Lars Tonstand, Fulgte skallene til graven, Dagbladet (Nov. 22, 1997),, archived at

[83] Janne Kjellberg, Vil ha 21 hodeskaller tilbake, NRK (Jan. 18, 2008),, archived at

[84] Id

[85] Per Lars Tonstand, Norsk Gravroveri med statens velsignelse, Dagbladet (Sept. 24, 2011), https://www., archived at 6997-FSBD; Erik Lieungh, Nå skal 94 samiske skjelett gravlegges for godt, NRK (June 30, 2011), https://www.nrk. no/troms/gjengraving-av-94-sameskjelett-1.7696109, archived at

[86] § 11 Kulturminneloven.

[87] Id.

[88] Id.

[90] Lov om gravplasser, kremasjon og gravferd (gravferdsloven) [Act on Grave plots, Cremation, and Funerals (Funeral Act)] (LOV 1996-06-07-32),, archived at

[91] Id. § 7.

[92] Id. § 8.

[93] See Part II(B)(2), above.

[94] Lov om forvaltning av naturens mangfold (Naturmangfoldloven) [Nature Diversity Act] § 1 (LOV 2006-06-19), Number=4&totalHits=1246 (translation by author), archived at

[95] Id. §§ 8, 11.

[96] Id. § 43.

[97] Id. §§ 35–37.

[98] Id. § 35.

[99] Antje Neumann, Sami Participatory Rights in Area Protection and Management: The Influence of the Related CBD’s Programme in Finland and Norway, in Indigenous Rights in Modern Landscapes: Nordic Conservation Regimes in Global Context 205 (Lars Elenius et al. eds., 2017). 

[100] NOU 2004:28 Lov om bevaring av natur, landskap og biologisk mangfold [Act on Preservation of Nature, Landscapes, and Biological Diversity], at 147, 1e24fe983663d38ec6d41e0/no/pdfs/nou200420040028000dddpdfs.pdf, archived at

[101] § 14 Naturmangfoldloven.

[102] Id. § 75.

[103] Id. § 39; § 27 Kulturminneloven.

[104] Lokal forvaltning av nasjonalparker og store verneområder, Sametinget (Feb. 10, 2017), https://www.sametinget. no/Tjenester/Miljoe-areal-og-kulturvern/Lokal-forvaltning-av-nasjonalparker-og-store-verneomraader, archived at

[105] Lov om planlegging og byggesaksbehandling (plan- og bygningsloven) (LOV 2008-06-27-71),, archived at

[106] Id. § 1-1.

[107] Id. 20-1.

[108] Id. §§ 32-8, 32-9.

[109] Id.§§ 2-1, 2-2.

[110] Id. § 2-1b.

[111] Id. §§ 1-9, 3-2, 5-4.

[112] Id. § 6-1.

[113] Rune Andreassen, Dette er et reinbeitedistrikt. Det kan ikke folk se bort fra, NRK (Mar. 18, 2019), https://www., archived at

[114] § 2 Lov om friluftslivet (Friluftsloven) [Act on Outdoor Activities (Outdoors Act)] (LOV 1957-06-28-16),, archived at

[115] NOU 2001:34 Samiske sedvaner og rettsoppfatninger – bakgrunnsmateriale for Samerettsutvalget [Sami Custom and Legal Interpretations – Background Material for the Sami Law Survey] at 575, https://www.reg, archived at

[116] § 323 Straffeloven [Penal Code], LOV-2005-05-20, (translation by author), archived at

[117] § 13 Friluftsloven.

[118] § 27 Kulturminneloven.

[119] Jan Åge Riseth, A Space for Sami Valued? Sami Reindeer Herding and Norwegian National Parks, in Indigenous Rights in Modern Landscapes, supra note 99, at 148.

[120] § 4 Lov om Reindrift (Reindriftsloven) [Act on Reindeer (Reindeer Act)] (LOV 2007-06-15-40),, archived at

[121] Id. §§ 8, 9; see also NOU 2001:34, supra note 115.

[122] § 20 Reindriftsloven.

[123] Id. §§ 6 & 7.  

[124] Borgarting Lagmannsrett [Boargarting Court of Appeals] LB-2017-97958-2 (Jan. 6, 2019), on file with author.

[125] Id.

[127] Høyesterett, HR-2018-456-P, supra note 126.

[128] André Bendixen & Fredrik Solvang, Gruva i Kvalsund stikker hardt i hjertet, NRK (Feb. 21, 2019),, archived at; see also U.N. General Assembly, Report on the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on the Human Rights Situation of the Sami People in the Sápmi Region of Norway, Sweden, and Finland: Human Rights Council, U.N. Doc A/HR/33/42/Add.3 (Aug. 9, 2016), http://unsr.vtaulicorpuz. org/site/images/docs/country/2016-sapmi-a-hrc-33-42-add-3-en.pdf, archived at; Gruvedrift i Finnmark gjennom tidene, Naturvernforbundet, finnmark/gruvedrift/gruvedrift-i-finnmark-gjennom-tidene-article26009-2023.html?offset5331=8 (last visited Feb. 12, 2019), archived at

[129] NRK, supra note 128.

[130] Jan Åge Riseth, A Space for Sami Valued? Sami Reindeer Herding and Norwegian National Parks, in Indigenous Rights in Modern Landscapes, supra note 119, at 158, 162.

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Last Updated: 12/30/2020