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<P align="justify"> The project to d … <P align="justify"> The project to dam the Alta-Kautokeino River in 1979-81 was a controversy in Norwegian society that also attracted worldwide attention. The issue, which became known as the Alta-dispute, is considered to have marked a turning point in the Saami policy of the Norwegian government. The Norwegian state-owned energy company NVE had already put forward a proposal in 1968 for harnessing the water resources of the Finnmark. The original scheme, which the Norwegian government renounced in 1973, involved the submerging of Masi, a small Saami village, under a reservoir. In 1978, the Norwegian Parliament again voted in favour of regulating the waters of the Alta-Kautokeino. In the same year, a widespread popular movement in opposition to the scheme grew up, and in July 1979 members of the movement demonstrated in Stilla. Further demonstrations were organized in the autumn in Oslo, culminating in a hunger strike by five young Saamis outside the Parliament house. These demonstrations in Oslo and Stilla silenced the bulldozers and brought construction work at Stilla to a halt. The most heated moment came in Stilla in 1981, when 600 policemen were ordered to carry away 1100 peaceful demonstrators from the construction area. Finally, however, the dam was finally built between 1982 and 1986. At the time of the Alta-Kautokeino issue, the Saami movement was led by a group of trained Saami professionals who were able to work with the media and the public. The Saami leaders made strong demands to get the state to recognise Saami peoples's special rights, such as the rights of their way of living and culture as an indigenous people. Up till then, the demands of the Saami had generally been regarded from the point of view of the welfare state as either the problems of a peripheral region or those of an economy based on the exploitation of natural resources. </P> <P align="justify">In the Alta-Kautokeino case, there were two concurrent issues: on the one hand, an international movement for the protection of nature and the environment; on the other, a clash between the Saami and the Norwegian government and the formers ever-increasing awareness of their own rights as defined in the collective rights of indigenouspeoples and other minorities. As a result of the dispute, a new definition of collective identity based on the concept of we and others , or minority versus majority, was born. Thus in the long process from the first faltering steps of pan-Saami action at the beginning of the twentieth century to the threshold of the 1990s, the Saamis organizational activities had succeeded in creating the conditions for a redefinition of Saaminess, Saami society and political unity. At the 1980 Saami Conference in Tromsø, a manifesto was adopted which in its introduction spoke of the Saami people as a separate ethnic group with its own territory, culture and social structure .</P>
<P align="justify"> One major consequence of the Alta Dispute was that the Norwegian state set up two committees to report on the cultural, linguistic and legal position of the Saami. The Committee on Saami Rights was appointed in 1980 and the Committee on Saami Culture at the end of the 1980s. The work of the committees began to bearfruit towards the end of the decade The findings of the Committee on Saami Rights were published in a report (NOU 1984:18) dealing with the legal position of the Saami, and the report of the Committee on Saami Culture (NOU 1985:14) on culture and language was issued the following year. In accordance with the new Saami Act of 1987, a democratically elected Saami Parliament (Sámediggi/Sameting) was established. In 1988 the Saami were recognized as an indigenous people in the constitution of Norway (§110a 1988). The article of the constitution dealing with the Saami obliges the state to ensure that the Saami as an indigenous people are able to practice and develop their language culture and social way of life. The Norwegian Saami Parliament began to operate in 1989. As a result of the Alta dispute, Norway has also signed some international agreements, such as the ILO Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (No. 169), which oblige the state of Norway to guarantee the future of the Saami. However, questions concerning land and water rights remain unsolved. The repercussions of the case also affected the position of Saamis in Finland and Sweden.<BR><BR> [[Saami movement|Saami movement]]</P>[Saami movement|Saami movement]]</P> +