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Renegotiating Relations, Structuring Justice: Institutional Reconciliation with the Saami in the 1990–2020 Reconciliation Processes of the Church of Sweden and the Church of Norway

Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
Religions 2020, 11(7), 343; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11070343
Received: 31 May 2020 / Revised: 5 July 2020 / Accepted: 7 July 2020 / Published: 9 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sámi Religion: Religious Identities, Practices and Dynamics)
Social reconciliation has received much attention in Christian churches since the late 1980s. Both the Church of Sweden and the Church of Norway initiated reconciliation processes with the Saami (also “Sami” or “Sámi”), the indigenous people of Northern Europe, at the beginning of the 1990s. As former state churches, they bear the colonial burden of having converted the Saami to Lutheranism. To make amends for their excesses in the missionary field, both Scandinavian churches have aimed at structural changes to include Saaminess in their church identities. In this article, I examine how the Church of Sweden and the Church of Norway understand reconciliation in relation to the Saami in their own church documents using conceptual analysis. I argue that the Church of Sweden treats reconciliation primarily as a secular concept without binding it to the doctrine of reconciliation, making the Church’s agenda theologically weak, whereas the Church of Norway utilizes Christian resources in its comprehensive approach to reconciliation with the Saami. This article shows both the challenges and contributions of the Church of Sweden and the Church of Norway to the hotly debated discussions on truth and reconciliation in the Nordic Saami context. View Full-Text
Keywords: colonialism; Christianity; institutional reconciliation; justice; Saami people; Church of Norway; Church of Sweden colonialism; Christianity; institutional reconciliation; justice; Saami people; Church of Norway; Church of Sweden
MDPI and ACS Style

West, H.S. Renegotiating Relations, Structuring Justice: Institutional Reconciliation with the Saami in the 1990–2020 Reconciliation Processes of the Church of Sweden and the Church of Norway. Religions 2020, 11, 343. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11070343

AMA Style

West HS. Renegotiating Relations, Structuring Justice: Institutional Reconciliation with the Saami in the 1990–2020 Reconciliation Processes of the Church of Sweden and the Church of Norway. Religions. 2020; 11(7):343. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11070343

Chicago/Turabian Style

West, Helga Sofia. 2020. "Renegotiating Relations, Structuring Justice: Institutional Reconciliation with the Saami in the 1990–2020 Reconciliation Processes of the Church of Sweden and the Church of Norway" Religions 11, no. 7: 343. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11070343

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