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The politics of belonging in the Indigenous North

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posted on 23.10.2017, 13:19 by Michael SkeyMichael Skey
This chapter focuses on the politics of belonging. In the case of the Sami, it shows how a sense of belonging is expressed in relation to particular practices, material objects, temporal rhythms, forms of language and places. The language became the first 'official' marker of Sami culture after the ruling of the Committee for Sami Affairs in 1952. The 'recognition' comes from being involved in more informal networks or social relations as individuals are defined by their 'ties to recognised Sami families'. At the national level, legislation was enacted to recognise the Sami's unique culture and ancestry and their status as an Indigenous people who have the right to special protection. In discussing Nils-Aslak Valkeapaa's connections with Indigenous groups in North America, it is argued that a shared sense of belonging comes not only through political activism but also through 'the feelings that the similarity of life across the Arctic arouses,' including the environment, material objects and cultural practices.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Published in

Knowing from the Indigenous North


SKEY, M., 2018. The politics of belonging in the Indigenous North. IN: Eriksen, T.H., Valkonen, S. and Valkonen, J. (eds.) Knowing from the Indigenous North: Sami Approaches to History, Politics and Belonging, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp.163-172.




AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Knowing from the Indigenous North: Sami Approaches to History, Politics and Belonging on 2 October 2018, available online:

Publication date







Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Sanna Valkonen, Jarno Valkonen