Check out this love letter to Sapmi in the New York Times. The story is in the travel section so I didn’t have high expectations, but it would have been nice to read more than one sentence about the Sámi: “Early excavations suggest that this part of Lapland was inhabited as long as 11,300 years ago by the native ancestors of the Sami indigenous people, who still herd reindeer and eke out a living in the northernmost parts of Finland.”
We entered the hut, which had one changing room with a wood fireplace, and a larger sauna room. Then we set about roasting ourselves, ice-hole bathing, roasting and snow-angel-making in a cycle of extreme temperature change that Finns, and some controlled studies, say is good for the health.
Sitting in a bar that night, one of the men in our group remarked, “This whole country is about being either too hot or too cold.”
The next night, whole swaths of the sky danced with brilliant greens, purples and reds. Inside the curving, billowing, twisting streaks, the action was psychedelic. Tiny ripples, hundreds in parallel, danced like the light of a plasma lamp but with more variations of color and movement. What was green one second flashed to red, translucent and miles long. A streak that ran from horizon to horizon might phase out, then reappear at another location, or bend into the shape of an oxbow and spring back.
Finnish legend says that the lights are formed by a giant arctic fox running so quickly its tail sends plumes of snow from the fells, glittering across the night sky. It’s an unbelievable explanation for an unbelievable phenomenon that somehow smacks of truth
Finnish legend or Sámi legend? The Finnish word for the lights, revontulet, means foxfire, and is said here to come from a Sámi myth.
No Sàmi films this year, but there are many promising titles to choose from, including a Moomin movie, “pan-Nordic shorts,” and two documentaries that look intriguing, one about Finland’s educational system and the other called “Women with Cows,” about two elderly Swedish women. Some of us will be in Portland for our P-Town Potluck and Meeting this weekend, so let us know if you go, and what you thought.
The Nordic Heritage Museum presents the fourth annual Nordic Lights Film Festival. This cutting-edge cinematic event offers an immersion into the world of Nordic films—focusing on contemporary, award-winning feature-length films, documentaries, and short films from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden—presented at the SIFF Film Center at Seattle Center.
via Nordic Lights Film Festival < Series & Events < Seattle International Film Festival.
Today, Sámi Parliament President Egil Olli expressed solidarity with Idle No More, the ongoing protest movement originating among the Aboriginal peoples in Canada and comprising the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples, and their non-Aboriginal supporters in Canada and internationally.
“I want from Sámediggi side to express our support and sympathy to the indigenous struggle in Canada. In particular, I wish to express my concern for the health of Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat nation, which now close to a month, went on hunger strike in protest against the narrow social and economic plight of Canada’s indigenous people live. I see it as natural that this will be one of the topics I will take up when I meet Canada’s Minister of Health in the Arctic Council 20 January.”
Yesterday the Church of Norway, including the Sámi Church Council, expressed solidarity.
The movement was launched in October, 2012 by four women (Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, Jessica Gordon, and Sheelah McLean). On December 11, 2012, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence began a fast, requesting a face-to-face meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Governor General Stephen Johnston (the Queen’s representative) to discuss broken treaties and protection of natural resources.
While Stephen Harper has agreed to meet with Chief Spence, Stephen Johnston has denied her request.
Meanwhile, protests, drum circles, and fasts continue around the world in support of the movement. An interactive map of Idle No More events can be found here.
Learn more about Idle No More at this informative blog by Toronto journalist and Sami-American Krystalline Kraus (who many of us had the pleasure of meeting in Minnesota last summer at the 2012 Siidastallan).
Sámi-American author Ellen Marie Jensen is coming back to the Pacific Northwest for three events. If you haven’t met Ellen yet, don’t miss this opportunity! Her book events last summer were not only informative and fun, but sparked lively Q&A sessions and several friendships. On this tour, Ellen will be presenting her book, We Stopped Forgetting: Stories of Sámi Americans (now available in softcover), as well as the new English translation of Johan Turi’s An Account of the Sámi.
Both books are must-haves. They are also popular, so get them while you can. Ellen sold out of We Stopped Forgetting on her last tour, and Thomas DuBois (the translator of Turi’s book) sold out of An Account of the Sámi on his last visit to Seattle.
Ellen’s events are:
- Tuesday, Jan. 8th, 11:30 pm, Poulsbo Historical Society, Poulsbo www.poulsbohistory.org
- Thursday, Jan. 10th, at 6:00 pm, Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma http://www.plu.edu/scan/
- Friday, Jan. 11 at 7:30 pm, Portland State University, Portland, sponsored by
(Find more information at the We Stopped Forgetting Facebook Page.)
From the publisher’s press release (thank you, Rosalie Sundin!), below is further information about the books:
Cate Blanchett, Elf Queen
Many are familiar with Norse myth elements in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” series. “The Hobbit,” the most recent in the film series, is now in theaters, and as with the other LOTR films, features Elvish, a language created by Tolkien, who was an accomplished linguist in addition to being an author.
My friend Kari Turi, who is of Sàmi heritage and happens to speak both Finnish and Welsh, was astounded when, on viewing the films, he understood the Elvish. What a thrill that must have been!
Listen to Elvish being spoken by Tolkien himself and find your name in Elvish here. (Mine is Nienna Carnesîr.)
Have you seen the movies or read the books? Do you know of other Sàmi connections?