Klemet Erland Hætta, mayor of Kautokeino. Photo: Norwegian Sami Association
Klemet Erland Hætta, mayor of Kautokeino council, told NRK that the inability of refugees to speak the Sami language was stopping them from integrating in the community.
"If you want to successfully integrate, it is important that you learn the language of the area where you are staying," he said. "In Kautokeino over 90 percent of people speak Sami in daily life, so it is perhaps natural that Sami is the language of refugees are taught."
Kautokeino recently refused to accept 20 refugees, arguing that the council lacked the resources.
Dulo Dizdarevic, the director for northern Norway in the country's Directorate of Integration and Diversity, said he had not considered teaching immigrants Sami.