What is it about?

Different jurisdictions view indigenous peoples' cross-border rights differently. We focus on the constitutional jurisprudence on cross-border rights of indigenous peoples in Norway, and draw on the Canadian law as a means of demonstrating that the Norwegian approach is unduly restrictive. This, we argue, is primarily due to the preference of the Norwegian court for a paternalistic model of indigenous claims.

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Why is it important?

The article raises questions that are relevant to the rights of many indigenous peoples. Indigenous communities have often found that national borders cut through their territories and restrict their ways of life, as they have done for the people discussed in our article. In addition, our article considers different ways in which states respond to the claims of indigenous people. For states that take the more paternalistic approach of Norway, the Canadian experience is worth considering. This also takes into account different ways that nations have responded to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, especially in relation to the 'free, prior and informed consent' standard.


I really enjoyed working on this article with Jan Mikael. The cases that we focused on cover pretty specific issues - indigenous claims to hunting and herding territory - but they raised issues going to the heart of indigenous rights and the relationship of indigenous peoples with the modern state.

Tom Allen
Durham University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Norwegian Law and the Swedish Sami, Nordic Journal of International Law, June 2023, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/15718107-bja10066.
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