On August 12th, several of us gathered at the Swedish Club in Seattle for dinner and a photoshoot to demonstrate solidarity with Kamp Kallak, the group protesting the mining project in northern Sweden. Kallak is the Swedish word for the area; in Sámi it is Gállok. The mine site is near Jokkmokk, famous for its annual wintermarket, a 400+-year old tradition that has a special place in my heart, as my eighth great-grandfather Igor Ivanoff (1620-1680) is said to have traded at the first market.
Our special guest from Jokkmokk was May-Britt Öhman, resplendent in her Lule Sámi gakti at left. A dam safety researcher, May-Britt was in Seattle for a conference and gave us the nitty-gritty on the situation in Gállok, particularly the risk to the Lule River dams and water safety in the entire watershed. She encouraged our advocacy. Later we dined at a seafood restaurant on the waterfront, pounding tiny crustaceans with tiny hammers, feeling far away from the barricades yet nonetheless, united in passion.
Please sign the STOP MINING IN JOKKMOKK petition here.
It is frustrating to be limited to petition-signing and letter writing. The Goliath of global capitalism seems unassailable, but for those of us protesting the coal train terminals here in our backyard, there was a flicker of success, even if it is only in the form of a delay in the process.
So we mustn’t give up. When I shared (via social media) the following letter to President Obama in advance of his first-ever visit to Sweden, I expected a few signers, maybe a dozen. I was blown away by the response. Even if it never made it past some low-level functionary who tossed it into a vast NSA datafile, our actions give us courage. We must do what we can, wherever we can, never knowing which straw is the vital one.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Dear Mr. President:
As you meet with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt next week, please know that the Sámi people in Sweden and North America are deeply opposed to the recent decision of Sweden’s Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications that the national interest of mineral extraction is more important than the right of the Sámi people to keep its culture, including traditional reindeer husbandry.
We join in the continuing protest of the illegal large-scale mining project in Gállok, Sábme (Lapland). By international law, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations General Assembly Resolution Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, General Assembly Resolution 2625, Sweden is not maintaining friendly relations with the Sámi people, who have not given free, informed, or prior consent for mineral prospecting or mineral surveying.
As Sámi and Sámi-Americans, we ask you to join us, the Sámi Parliament, and people all over the world in imploring Sweden to protect indigenous rights and the precarious health of our shared planet.
Giitu (thank you).
Pierre Åhren, Stockholm, Sweden Nanny Ålander, Umeå, Sweden Peter Ali, Seattle, WA, USA Vidar Andersen, Tromsø, Norway Jan Andersson, Illstorp, Sweden Anessa Andersland, Minneapolis, MN, USA Bill and Pam Bahles, Welches, OR, USA Bård A. Berg, PhD, Tromsø, Norway, Henrik Blind, Jokkmokk, Sweden Sylvia Blind, Jokkmokk, Sweden Annika Berglund, Tibro, Sweden Ingrid Berglund, Västervik Sweden TIna Bertness, Tacoma, WA, USA Samantha Braun, Stockholm, Sweden Noreen Brisson, Meridian, ID, USA Kim Curry, Eden Prairie, MN, USA Amy M. De Leon, Port Angeles, WA, USA Daniel Dixon, Portland, OR, USA, Clinton Drake, Houston, TX, USA Rose Edwards, Olympia, WA, USA Johanna Ekström, Jokkmokk, Sweden Rhonda Pudas Ellenbecker, St. Joseph, MN, USA Katarina Nylander Engman, Karlstad o Laisvallby, Sweden Anne-Marie Engwall, Visby, Sweden, Eric Ericson, Simrishamn, Sweden Olivia Erickson, Lexington, KY, USA Lars Eriksson, Stockholm, Sweden Christer Fjällström, MD, Johannes, Stockholm Desiree Ford, Portland, OR, USA, Carina Frost, Järvsö, Sweden Léon Fuchs, Roderon, France Tove Grandjean, Stockholm, Sweden Elina Nygård Hansson, Mattisudden, Sweden Jennifer Harkonen, Minneapolis, MN, USA Maria Jeanette Hedman, Linköping, Sweden Carol Hokana, Boston, MA, USA Jenny Holmgren, Mattisudden, Sweden Anna Hövenmark, Jokkmokk, Sweden Christopher Huber, Whittier, CA, USA Karen-Ann Hurri, Karesuando, Sweden Susanne Idivuoma, Kiruna, Sweden Henrik Järleblad, Stockholm, Sweden Ellen Marie Jensen, Tromsø, Norway / Minneapolis, MN, USA Ann-Sofie Jonsson, Stockholm, Sweden Aiden Robert Jönsson, Stockholm, Sweden Sanna Emilia Jönsson, Stockholm, Sweden Sara Jönsson, Luleå, SwedenUlrica Jonsson, Knivsta, Sweden Per Jorgelin, Duved, Sweden Kenneth Karlsson, Umeå, Sweden David Kline, Jr., Minneapolis, MN, USA Maren-Mari Koscielski, Minnetonka, MN Katarina Parfa Koskinen, Jokkmokk, Sweden Adam Krowka, Minneapolis, MN, USA, Anna Kuhmunen, Jokkmokk, Sweden Susann Hellid Kunkler, Gothenburg, Sweden Åsa Sjölin Kuoljok, Jokkmokk, Sweden Karin Kuoljok, Mattisudden, Sweden Kathryn Robinson Kyair, Vallejo, CA, USA Dorothy Landeros, Springfield, OR, USA Sara Lahtinen, Stockholm, Sweden AnnaKarin Länta, Jokkmokk, Sweden Miriam Länta, Guovdageaidnu, Norway Annikka Larsson Umeå, Sweden Cecilia Larsson, Umeå, Sweden Annelie Lövgren, Umeå, Sweden Eva-Kerstin Lundborg, Nyköping, Sweden Cecilia Lundin, Jokkmokk, Sweden Max Mackhé, Guovdageaidnu, Norway Nik Märak, Stockholm/Jokkmokk, Sweden Jean-Claude Marclay, Kiruna, Sweden Renee Joy McAdams, Portland, OR, USA Jammie Metzger-Kibbe, Plentywood, MT, USA Lilian Mikaelsson, Älvsbyn, Sweden Bruce Morén-Duolljá, PhD, Tromsø, Norway Marit Myrvoll, PhD, Tromsø, Norway Fanny Nilsson, Östhammar, Sweden Kjell Nilsson, Östhammar Sweden Marianne Nilsson, Östhammar, Sweden Margareta Nobell, Tingstäde, Sweden Linda Nordlund, Oslo, Norway Hanna Nutti, Karesuando, Sweden Titti Nylander,Bålsta,Sweden Linnea Ögren, Arvidsjaur, Sweden May-Britt Öhman, PhD, Stockholm, Sweden Sara Olsson, Arvika, Sweden Åsa Päiviö, Porjus, Swedwn Anna-Marja Persson, Skara/Hosjöbotten, Sweden Margareta Persson, Tågarp, Sweden Karen Pommer, Randijaur, Sweden Alexander Purbe, Uppsala, Sweden Kent Randell, St. Mary’s County, MD, USA Ann-Charlotte Rask, Arvika, Sweden Magnus Rask, Arvika, Sweden, Merethe Rimpi, Gällivare, Sweden Elina Rimpi-Johnsen, Gällivare, Sweden Amanda Romeborn, Uppsala, Sweden Nissa Rost-Rothman, Denver, CO, USA Maja Fjäll Sandström, Umeå, Sweden Inga Márjá Steinfjell, Mittådalen, Sweden Anja Storelv, Råneå, Sweden Cristoffer Svärd, Brännö, Sweden Michel Saint-Hilaire, Nacka, Sweden Alexandra Sandbäck, Vaasa, Finland Magdalena Sandström, Borås, Sweden Inga Lisa Axman Sara, Jokkmokk, Sweden Carina Sarri, Vuollerim, Sweden Ella-kari Skum, Ammarnäs, Sweden Kaleb Smith, Nanchang, China Susanne Snell, Helsingborg, Sweden Silja Somby, Kautokeino, Norway Mikael Spik, Jokkmokk, Sweden Anna-Stina Sparrock, Staare, Sweden Sylvia Sparrock, Järpen, Sweden Jannie Staffansson, Idre, Sweden Helena Stenman, Jokkmokk, Sweden Tyler Stewart, Olympia, WA, USA Troy Storfjell, PhD, Tacoma, WA, USA Eileen Sundquist, Lakewood, NY, USA Henry Svonni, Sollefteå, Sweden Ellen Syvertsen, St. Petersburg, FL, USA Charlotte Thege, Åkers Styckebruk, Sweden Anders Urheim, Tysfjord/Tromsø, Norway Anne Lajla Utsi, Guovdageaidnu, Norway Ida Utsi, Mattisudden, Sweden Leslie Van de Ven, Colusa, CA, USA Jonas Vannar, Jokkmokk, Sweden Paige Vasseur, Valencia, CA, USA Bettina Volk, Märsta, Sweden Anna Walkeapää, Porjus, Sweden Leif Wäppling, Rönninge Sweden Anna Wedin, Piteå, Sweden Kajsa Kjellgren Westin, By Kyrkby, Sweden Lars Westman. Malmö, Sweden Julie Whitehorn, Seattle, WA, USA Kangi Iya Winyan, Spearfish, SD, USA Kjirsten Winters, Tacoma, WA, USA Marlene Wisuri, Duluth, MN, USA John Edward Xavier, Minneapolis, MN, USA
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