Church of Sweden

Symposium on the Sámi and the Church of Sweden

Press release   •   Feb 16, 2017 13:30 GMT

The Sámi Council in the Church of Sweden and Archbishop Antje Jackelén invites the press to a symposium on the Church of Swedens White Paper project and its consequences and a conversation about the way forward with reconciliation as the goal. The symposium will also launch the new book Samerna och Svenska kyrkan. Underlag för kyrkligt försoningsarbete” (The Sámi and the Church of Sweden. Foundations for ecclesiastical reconciliation).

The White Paper symposium will be held at the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, Nils Ericsons plan, in Stockholm on 23 February, 1-4 PM.

Representatives of the media are welcome: register your interest with your name, media outlet and mobile number to by no later than 12 noon on Wednesday 22 February.

Historical relationships
The Church of Sweden’s White Paper project started in 2012 under the leadership of Professor Daniel Lindmark of Umeå University. The project, which has brought together some thirty researchers, has been overseen by a steering group with representatives from the Church, academia, and the Sámi community. This work has resulted in two volumes:

1) “De historiska relationerna mellan Svenska kyrkan och samerna. En vetenskaplig antologi” (The historical relationships between the Church of Sweden and the Sámi people. An anthology of research), Daniel Lindmark & Olle Sundström (red.), Artos 2016. 

2) The material in the White Paper has now been summarised in the book Samerna och Svenska kyrkan. Underlag för kyrkligt försoningsarbete (The Sámi and the Church of Sweden. Foundations for ecclesiastical reconciliation) which will be launched at this symposium. The book also contains texts on reconciliation, which are intended for use in a process of reconciliation between the Church of Sweden and the Sámi people.

Documentation of abuse
An important documentation project has also been running in parallel with the White Paper project in which older Sámi have testified to their experiences from “Nomad school” as it was called, and arbetsstuga (a kind of trade school for impoverished children). This material has been collected in the book När jag var åtta år lämnade jag mitt hem och jag har ännu inte kommit tillbakaMinnesbilder samernas skoltid, Svenska kyrkan och Verbum 2015 (“When I was 8 I left home and have not yet returned” – Memories of Sámi school years).


1-2:30 PM
The White Paper’s principal editors Daniel Lindmark and Olle Sundström present the background to the White Paper project, crucial considerations in the work process, and the main results of the project.

Johannes Marainen: “How has the Church’s registration of Sámi people impacted on Sámi identity?”
Gunlög Fur: “The consequences of a colonial history?”


3-4 PM
III. HOW DO WE GO ON FROM HERE? Sylvia Sparrock and Ingrid Inga of the Sámi Council in conversation with Archbishop Antje Jackelén and former Chair of the Theological Committee, Carl Reinhold Bråkenhielm.

Moderator: Nils Henrik Sikku.