My name is Julie Whitehorn. I am a mom, a freelance writer / designer, and a community organizer. I grew up in a distinctly Sàmi subculture as a Laestadian, although like many other immigrant families, our indigenous ancestry was suppressed and denied, for reasons I will explore in this blog.
Growing up, I was told our family was Swedish and Finnish (both of my grandfathers were immigrants and married second-generation immigrants). I suspected there was more to the story, but it wasn’t until seeing the film Suddenly Sámi (at the 2012 Seattle International Film Festival), that I followed in filmmaker Astrid Lundby’s steps and had my DNA tested. Through the genetic cousins I met in that process, and the resulting geneaology, I confirmed that several of my ancestors were Sámi.
I began to hear the stories, as the unsilencing and re-membering of our family history began. I am still asking, what does it mean to be part Sámi? Why was it suppressed? What will it mean for my children? I haven’t answered those questions, but I have met others on similar journeys who are likewise committed to reconnecting to that which was lost or stolen.
In 2012, a few of us in the Pacific Northwest launched an informal group, Pacific Sámi Searvi. Check out the Facebook page.
As time permits, I’ll add links on this page to Sami resources.
If you have feedback or questions, please send me an email.
Ollu giitu (thanks!) for reading.