Oslo soon to get a new official name

City council moves to give Norway’s capital a name in Sámi language

Image: Wikipedia
The Sámi flag is the flag of Sápmi and the Sámi (Saami) people, one of the indigenous people groups of the Nordic countries and the Kola Peninsula of the Russian Federation.

The Local

Oslo’s city council wants the Norwegian capital to have an official name in Sámi, the language spoken by indigenous people from northern Scandinavia. 

Campaigns to add a Sámi name to Oslo municipality began several years ago, and the city council has now formally added the matter to its business for the next four years, NRK reports.

“This is a huge victory for the Sámi community in Oslo,” Kristine Ballari, a former leader of Oslove Noereh, a Sámi youth organization, told the broadcaster.

“The city will feel closer to our hearts once the Sámi language is more visible,” Ballari also said.

The former youth activist currently works as a teacher of the Sámi language at a school in the city. She said she looked forward to seeing how the promise from the city council would bear out.

“I hope that some Sámi street names will eventually emerge in Oslo, and that there will be signs in Sámi in public institutions,” she said.

Oslo council member Inga Marte Thorkildsen said she welcomed the declaration from the city.

“We want to show that we recognize and are proud of our indigenous peoples. That’s why it’s completely natural for Oslo, our capital, to also signal this through the name of the city,” Thorkildsen told NRK.

No specific date has been given for the name to be adopted. 

The municipality’s culture committee is responsible for formal work on the matter, the city representative noted.

Language specialists at Sametinget, the representative body for people of Sámi heritage in Norway, have said the choice of name is likely to fall between the following three options:

• Osloven tjïelte

• Oslon tjïelte

• Oslo tjïelte

This article was originally published on The Local.

This article originally appeared in the November 15, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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