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09.30  Heritage as a Political Domain

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The dedication of heritage by UNESCO has become a significant factor for many indigenous minorities. For this category, heritage emphasizes both continuity and change, that is peoples’ ability to preserve relevant historical sites and objects affirming ethnic identity collectively, as well as serving as an inspirational source for change.

Referring to the Lapland’s Heritage Lapponia (1996), this paper will examine in what way this specific heritage has generated ethno-political mobilization among the Sámi in the region in question. As a dedicated heritage in northern Sweden, Lapponia is regarded as a cultural landscape with historical importance for the Sámi; in addition, its unique nature is underlined. It is a question of combining nature and culture worth preserving and having a great impact, especially on the Sámi.

The Sámi way of life relates traditionally to an extensive land-use pattern, where substantial knowledge of the landscape and how it changes due to seasonal variations are crucial. The main objective in dedicating Lapponia as heritage is to protect its multi-biological qualities with a living Sámi culture. The question remains, to what degree can the indigenous Sámi capitalize on this combined presumption?

Tom Svensson


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