Report reveals an aftermath of injustice

“Norwegianization policies had serious consequences.”


Photo: Peter Mydske / Stortinget
Commission Chairman Dagfinn Høybråten presented the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report on the consequences of Norwegianization policies to the Storting on June 1.


Norway’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission says that the Norwegianization policy has had very serious consequences for minorities.

“People still experience injustice and negative effects that have their roots in the long history of Norwegianization policies. Now is the time to settle the nation’s injustice towards the Sami, Kven/Norwegian Finns, and Forest Finns,” said Dagfinn Høybråten, who chaired the commission.

On June 1, he handed over the report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to Parliament President Masud Gharahkhani. In the report, the commission points to the consequences of the Norwegianization policy for the Sami, Kven and Forest Finns.

The report is comprehensive and should form the basis for settlement of past Norwegianization policies and injustice. The commission proposes measures in key areas.

Must increase knowledge

“Norwegianization policies and injustice have profound negative consequences for the groups’ culture, language, health and traditional trades. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s investigation shows that Norwegianization has had much more widespread and intrusive effects in more areas of society than previously known. Children and young people in particular have been negatively affected by Norwegianization policies throughout the history of Norwegianization,” writes the commission in a press release.

Among other things, they believe that there is a need to increase knowledge about Forest Finns, Sami, and Kven/Norwegian Finns.

“The commission proposes a broad focus on dissemination, as knowledge is a prerequisite for the acknowledgment that Norwegianization policies and injustices have taken place, and that the consequences have significance right up to our own time. Large parts of the Norwegian population have missed out on the richness that the country’s minority cultures bring with them,” said Høybråten.

Asks the Storting to take action

The commission says that it is now up to the Storting to take action.

“The commission hopes that the report itself will increase the knowledge base of the entire population, and that the proposals for action will be followed up as a contribution to a continued reconciliation process. This will be a challenge for both the Storting and for national, regional and local authorities, and the rest of society,” writes the commission.

Thorough process

Storting President Masud Gharahkhani received the report on behalf of the Storting.

“The commission has done important and thorough work. I would like to thank it for its efforts. A special thank you to the many hundreds who have come to the commission with their personal stories,” Gharahkhani said.

“For Norway, as a modern and open democracy, the protection of human rights is fundamental. How well we protect minorities is one of the most important signs of whether we live up to our duties and values. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was appointed because we realized that we as a society have failed in that task. Today we have serious proof of this,” he said.

“Now the report will go through a good and thorough process in the Storting,” said Gharahkhani.

This article originally appeared in the July 2023 issue of The Norwegian American.

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NTB (Norsk Telegrambyrå), the Norwegian News Agency, is a press agency and wire service that serves most of the largest Norwegian media outlets. The agency is located in Oslo and has bureaus in Brussels, Belgium, and Tromsø in northern Norway