Primary school

The Alta Conflict – Dramatisation of a part of Norwegian history

The Alta conflict is a DKS theme for Year 6 pupils that deals with the many aspects of those events.

Sami demonstrant and police.
Sami demonstrant and police. Photo: Eva Dagny Johansen/Alta museum

In this program pupils are confronted with the points of view of the Sami people, the government, the police authorities and so on. Through discussion and dramatisation, pupils take part in events directlyrelated in the conflict. By being given various roles they will be challenged to assess crucial questions of right and wrong which were important for the local community. The teaching programme will enable pupils to understand that a political cause such as the Alta conflict has many different aspects and that there is no one single truth.What happened in the Alta conflict? Why did it get so much public attention?

— What happened in the Alta conflict? Why did it get so much public attention?

The building of a hydro-electric power plant on the Alta-Kautokeino river system is one of the most controversial cases in Norwegian history. The conflict started around 1970 with opposition from the local community and environmental organisations, but ended up being a flagship for the rights of the indigenous population. The teaching programme takes its point of departure in the period 1979-1981 when the conflict was at its most heated. Demonstrations were held throughout the country. Several thousand people took part in illegal activities to stop work on the project. When the conflict reached its peak in 1981 the authorities deployed 600 police officers to Alta.

The teaching programme presents the Alta conflict as a battle for values - modernisation and tradition, and the position of minorities in the nation state. Pupils will gain an insight into a local event which grew into a national and international issue. The Alta conflict has remained a key element of Norway's history.

Group aimed at: Year 6 pupils

Duration: 2 hours

Group size: 30 pupils