Swedish colonial empire

Please post your comments and suggestions for this article.

Comment by liz carlson on November 14th, 2013 at 9:18 pm

I think that this article neglects to recognize Sweden’s ongoing colonization of the Saami peoples within its borders. The history mirrors the colonization of Indigenous peoples in Canada and the United States, a process which in all three countries is marked by white supremacy (including cultural superiority) and racism, assimilationist policies, boarding schools, environmental destruction, and the interruption of a way of life. The article is incorrect when it says “Swedes did not inherit attitudes of racial and cultural superiority from the colonial period that have complicated the way in which some former colonial powers view the rest of the world”. Please consider correcting this as the Saami are recognized as an Indigenous people by international Indigenous organizations.

Comment by Jennifer Tanabe on November 15th, 2013 at 11:07 am

Thank you, Liz, for your feedback. It is certainly true that the Saami people have suffered, in Norway and Finland perhaps more than in Sweden. However, the colonization situation is not exactly similar to that of Canada and the United States. These two countries were created by immigrants and became independent nations, ruled by the colonists. The Saami live within the borders of Sweden. To create a true parallel, Swedes would have had to move to Lapland and then create an independent nation there which they ruled.

The statement you quote refers to “the rest of the world” not within the borders of the country of Sweden itself. In that context it holds true.

Many countries have a mixture of ethnic groups, some indigenous and some immigrant, within their borders. Sweden is no exception. The Sami are recognized in Sweden and a Swedish Sami Parliament has been established, although there are still issues to be resolved. However, those issues are not directly related to the Swedish colonial empire, the topic of this article.

Nevertheless, I will review the article based on your concerns and revised it if appropriate. Thank you again for taking the time to comment and help make NWE a valuable information resource.

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