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Daniel Mortenson


With his deep and visible commitment, Daniel Mortenson (1860-1924) was a key figure in the establishment of Southern Sámi interest groups at the start of the 20th century. He also played a major role in the work during and after the national congress in 1917. Daniel Mortenson was a teacher, reindeer herder, newspaper editor and organiser.

Sámi associations were established in Sør-Trøndelag and Helgeland in 1907, and the ‘North Trondheim Lapp Association’ was founded in 1908. Mortenson played a central role in this work. He chaired the first Sámi national congress in Trondheim in 1917, and gave a speech on the need for a new and fair reindeer herding law. He was elected as the head of a separate committee, which presented a draft bill in 1919 – the ‘Act on the Lapps and reindeer herding’. The proposal was ignored by Norwegian authorities.

An important organ in the struggle for Sámi rights was the newspaper Waren Sardne, which Mortenson published in 1910-13 and in 1922-24. Among other things, his great commitment brought reindeer herding policy into the spotlight in the Røros Sámi area.

Photos (from left):

1. The national congress in Trondheim in 1917 elected a committee which was tasked with drawing up a proposal for a new Norwegian law on reindeer herding, and Daniel Mortenson was chose to chair it. It completed its work in 1919. The new Reindeer Herding Act was not passed until 1933, and took no notice of the Sámi proposal.

2. The newspaper Waren Sardne was published in two periods, 1910-1913 and 1922-1927. Daniel Mortenson was the instigator and editor. The newspaper was written in Norwegian and was intended as a mouthpiece for Sámi people in Norway and Sweden.

3. In 1900, Daniel Mortenson moved to the district of Tolgen, now Svahken Sijte in Elgå. He had previously herded reindeer in both Sweden and Norway.

4. Daniel Mortenson was born in Verdal in 1860 and grew up in Sweden. He was a qualified teacher who engaged in politics and became a major agitator in the organisational work in the Southern Sámi area.

5. Nils Stinnerbom, Henrik Kvandahl and Martin Jonassen pictured at Røros in 1926, the year after the first volume of Samenes historie (History of the Sámi people) was published.

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    Iv. Olsen, Rørosmuseets arkiv
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    Iv. Olsen
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    Iv. Olsen, Rørosmuseets arkiv