Sami call for ‘sami-krone’

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The language of Norway’s indigenous Sami people is an official language in the country, along with the bokmål and nynorsk forms of Norwegian, so now a top Sami politician is calling for Sami text on Norway’s currency.

It's up to Norges Bank to decide what's printed on Norwegian currency. PHOTO: Views and News

Laila Susanne Vars, vice president of the Sami parliament (Sametinget), told newspaper Dagsavisen that she thinks it’s “natural” to include the Sami language on both the coins and notes issued by Norway’s central bank, Norges Bank.

Complicating her cause, however, are the three variations of the Sami language (samisk). The country’s name is Norga in nordsamisk, Nöörje in sørsamisk and Vuodna in lulesamisk.

That means there may not be enough room, at least not on coins, to imprint them with both Norge in bokmål and Noreg in nynorsk plus the three Sami variations.

Vars is undeterred. “The technicalities can be handled by those in charge, but the actual idea, of making all the official languages in Norway visible, is good, I think,” she told Dagsavisen.

She added that “in other countries, like New Zealand, the authorities have come much farther than in Norway, to make visible the language of the country’s original inhabitants.” She said that has helped revive the language of New Zealand’s Maori people, for example.

Norges Bank officials have the final say in such money matters. “If they want, they will get all possible help from our language organizations,” Vars offered.

Views and News staff