The Sami Parliament is both a publically-elected parliament and a State agency. The tasks of the Parliament are regulated by the Swedish Sami Parliament Act. It is at the main office officials carry out the daily tasks of the agency and there is a political level with publically-elected politicians.
The Sami Riksdag
The structure of the Sami Parliament is not comparable to any other Swedish agency. On one hand, the Sami Parliament can be seen as the Sami Riksdag. On the other, the organization can be compared to the municipal organization. The Sami Parliament does not have power of taxation and cannot make laws.
The political leadership
The political leadership consists of the Sami Parliament plenary assembly (the ‘Sami Riksdag’) and the board of the Sami Parliament (the ‘government’). The chairman of the Board is also called the President of the Sami parliament. The Parliament assembly has a presiding committee that prepares and is responsible for the assembly meetings. The spokesperson is also the chairman of the Plenary assembly (the President of the Plenary Assembly).
The Head Office
The office of the Sami Parliament has the daily responsibility of taking care of different agency tasks concerning Sami culture, languages and Sami industries like reindeer herding. The Parliament as a State agency serves directly under the Swedish Ministry of Cultural Affairs. The head office is in Kiruna, but there are also offices in Jokkmokk, Tärnaby and Östersund.
The main task of the Sami Parliament is to act for a living Sami culture. Sami culture includes even activities pertaining to Sami livelihoods. This means that the Sami Parliament can bring up and present proposals concerning all of the different questions that are of particular interest when it comes to a living Sami culture. The tasks are regulated in the Sami Parliament Act, where it is stated that the Sami Parliament shall:
- Be a central administrative agency for reindeer husbandry
- Decide on the distribution of the State grants and of funds from Samefonden (the Sami Foundation) for Sami culture and Sami organizations as well as other funds that are placed at the Sami’s joint disposition,
- Appoint that board for Sameskolan (the Sami School), as referred to in the Swedish Education Act,
- Decide objectives for and lead the Sami language work,
- Contribute to society planning and see to that the needs of the Sami are considered, including the interests of the reindeer industry for the use of land and water,
- Inform about the situation of the Sami, as well as
- Carry out the other tasks that are the affairs of the Sami Parliament according to law or another statute.