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Why Oslo is soon to get a new official name

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Why Oslo is soon to get a new official name
The Sámi flag flying at Oslo City Hall in 2016. File photo: AFP
17:33 CET+01:00
Oslo’s city council wants the Norwegian capital to have an official name in Sámi, the language group spoken by indigenous people from the north of the country.

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 organisation, told the broadcaster.

“The city will feel closer to our hearts once with the Sámi language 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 Municipality councillor 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, out 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.

Langauge specialsts at the Samtinget, 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

READ ALSO: Gákti and Instagram: how Oslo's young Sámis face tradition and urban life

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