Norwegian Information Service Photograph Collection, ca. 1950
During the Second World War, the Nazi occupation and subsequent liberation of the arctic regions of northern Norway resulted in the near total devastation of the existing infrastructure and the displacement of most of the population, including the native Sami (Lapps). The end of the war did not signal an end to hardship: the challenges of post-war resettlement was accompanied by a sustained effort by the Norwegian government to modernize and assimilate the Sami, largely through the systematic suppression of Sami culture. The language was banned from use in schools until 1958 and other forms of suppression persisted longer, and it was decades more before the rights of the Sami as an indigenous people were codified into law. The dozen photographs that comprise this collection document Sami life in northern Norway during the period just after the end of the Second World War when Sami people were returning home after years as refugees. Taken by the Norwegian Information Service and presumably associated with the Norwegian modernization program, the collection includes images of traditional Sami sod dwellings, men at work on construction of sled and boat, and portraits of women and children.