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P-SAMISK-Program for samisk forskning

Truth and Reconciliation in a Democratic Welfare State: The Indigenous Sami, the Kven/Norwegian Finns Minority and the majority in Norway

Alternative title: Sannhet og forsoning i en demokratisk velferdsstat; samer, kvener/norskfinner og majoritetssamfunnet

Awarded: NOK 6.0 mill.

The TRUCOM project examine how the Norwegian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) established by the Norwegian Parliament in 2018, interprets and implements its mandate. The project will undertake a historical mapping of the Norwegian Authorities? assimilation policy towards the indigenous Sami, the Kven and Norwegian Finns minorities (Forrest Finns have been included by the commission); examine the repercussions of this policy; and recommend measures to the government aimed at greater equality between the majority population and these minority groups in Norway. The project will generate new knowledge on how mature democracies that that have historically pursued an aggressive assimilation policy towards minority groups can organize and implement a restorative process to foster reconciliation between the state, the majority population and indigenous/minority groups. The project will build on previous research and draw on experiences from truth and reconciliation efforts in other welfare states, such as Canada, Greenland, and Australia. The project will (1) analyse the background to the TRC's establishment; (2) follow the process of the TRC as it unfolds, analysing the interactions between the TRC and interest groups/the majority population; (3) analyse the TCR's final report and recommendations, and provide an assessment of whether expectations to the TCR's work have been met. The project will provide a thorough historical analysis which will form the basis for the research on the commission?s activities, priorities, efficiency, and perceived legitimacy. The project will use different methods, including desk studies, media analysis, interviews, surveys, and participation at open hearings and meetings organized by the truth commission. The research group consists of members from UiT Arctic University of Norway and Chr. Michelsen Institute, who collectively have broad research expertise on Sami and Kven /Norwegian-Finnish relations nationally, and on reconciliation commissions internationally.

In 2017 the Norwegian parliament established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to investigate centuries of repressive state policies towards the Indigenous Sami and Kven/Norwegian Finns minority. TRUCOM will research how and in what ways the Norwegian TRC will lay the foundations for truth and reconciliation between the Sami and the Kven/Norwegian Finns on the one hand, and the majority population on the other. Introductorily the history, politics and processes prior to the TRC’s establishment will be addressed in a desk study. Simultaneously drawing on truth commission experiences from elsewhere in the world, the follow-up research will provide in-depth analysis by tracking the processes as they unfolds. This is the core of TRUCOM, and includes research on expectations to the TRC, who mobilizes around issues addressed by the TRC and how do various stakeholders influence the TRC’ work. Finally, the TRC’ findings and recommendations forwarded in the final report by analyzing the link between the TRC’ mandate, the TRC’ final report and the project’ findings, amongst other how important issues were handled by the TRC and whether the recommendations align with the mandate. Theoretically, TRUCOM will contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the work of truth commissions in established democracies. It will contribute theoretically to debates on the relationship between the state - indigenous people - minority, and debates on the significance of TRCs for indigenous and minority rights. Methodologically, the project employs novel ways to assess a TRC process by combining observations through participation at hearings, interviews, and surveys of central stakeholders at regular intervals. Empirically, the project will establish a knowledge foundation on pathways of reconciliation between majority, indigenous people and minority groups in established democracies with welfare states.

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P-SAMISK-Program for samisk forskning