PSS Supports Idle No More

SamiSearviIDM

From left to right: Kjirsten Winters, Lynn Gleason, Sara Linde, Ivan Winters, Julie Whitehorn, Maia Whitehorn, Kai Johnson, Renee Timmer, Espen Storfjell, Troy Storfjell. Photo by James Winters.

After a discussion, web poll, and call-out to members, some of us gathered in Tacoma today to show support for Idle No More. Soon after, the photo above was posted on Facebook with our statement:

We, the members of Pacific Sámi Searvi (Sámi Americans in the Pacific Northwest) stand together with our Sámi brothers and sisters in solidarity with the Idle No More movement.

Within three hours, the photo was “liked” over 900 times and shared over 200 times. Wow.

Among the Facebook comments was a not-unexpected question: What is a Sami?

PSS member and PLU Professor Troy Storfjell answered:

“The Sámi are the Indigenous people of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia, sometimes referred to as ‘Lapps’ or ‘Laplanders.’ There are 9 Sámi languages. Although reindeer herding is the most well-known Sámi livelihood, fishing, hunting and small-scale farming and sheep-raising are also traditional ways of life. Sámi participated in the co-founding of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples in the 1970s, and participate in a number of global Indigenous forums and organizations today.”

Indigenous and non-indigenous people around the world are uniting to support the goals of Idle No More. The Sámi Parliament issued a statement of support on January 11th, as reported here earlier, joining a river of other voices. Why the surge of international support?

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Celebrate Sámi National Day on Wed, Feb. 6th at PLU

On February 6th, Sámi National Day, or Sámi People’s Day (Sámi Álbmotbeaivi), is celebrated throughout Sápmi, the land of the Indigenous Sámi in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. The celebration commemorates the first international, pan-Sámi organizational meeting held in Trondheim in 1917, marking the beginning of the Sámi rights movement. Sámi Álbmotbeaivi has been celebrated since 1993. This year, on its 20th anniversary, Pacific Lutheran University and the Scandinavian Cultural Center will celebrate the day for the first time.

Events are free and open to the public. Several members of our Pacific Sámi Searvi will attend and lead the singing of the Sámi national anthem. Please join us! (Get directions.)

Schedule:

  • 2:30 pm Refreshments and a brief talk by Professor Troy Storfjell
  • 2:40 pm Singing of the Sámi anthem (new English version!)
  • 3 pm The one-hour documentary Herdswoman (in Swedish and Sámi with English subtitles). 
  • 4 pm Panel-led discussion of the film
  • 7 pm Sámi Professor Harald Gaski will present this year’s Bjug Harstad Memorial Lecture, titled “Celebrating the Return of the Sun and the Recognition of a People: The Sami National Day in the Context of Myth and Poetics.” Gaski will explain why the Sámi consider themselves the descendents of the sun, and provide some background for the selection of February 6 for the Sámi National Day. He will also show how myths have played an important role in the work of Sámi multi-media artist Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, setting his work in an international Indigenous context. (Harald Gaski is Associate Professor of Sámi Literature at the University of Tromsø in Norway, and an internationally well-known expert on Sámi literature and culture, and a leading researcher in the emerging field of indigenous methodologies.)

Aboriginal Worldviews & Education Course Offered (Free!)

Recently I saw the phrase: “in the age of the internet, ignorance is a choice.”

Not everyone has access to the internet, of course, and not everyone has the time to devote to research or college courses, even when they’re free of charge. But for those who do, it’s a gold mine.

Last July when I first read in the Seattle Time about Coursera,  a free online university started by two Stanford computer-science professors, I immediately signed up for this free class in “Aboriginal Worldviews and Education” starting February 25th. I hope you’ll join me and several others in the Sami community. (But be forewarned! “These are real courses . . . there’s homework and deadlines.”)

Intended for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal learners, this course will explore indigenous ways of knowing and how they can benefit all students. Topics include historical, social, and political issues in Aboriginal education; terminology; cultural, spiritual and philosophical themes in Aboriginal worldviews; and how Aboriginal worldviews can inform professional programs and practices, including but not limited to the field of education.