Sami Congress turns 100 / News / The Foreigner

Sami Congress turns 100. 2017 marks 100 years since these indigenous peoples’ first congress in mid-Norway’s Trondheim. Norway monarch HM King Harald V attended celebrations of Sami culture, Monday. Held in the Methodist Church in Trondheim, the first Sami Congress in 1917 marked the first time Sami people from Norway and Sweden would work together to discuss common Sami affairs. The first Sami congress was led by Elsa Laula Renberg (b. 1877 in Susendal in Hattfjelldal, Nordland County and d. 1931 at Brønnøysund’s nursing home. Elsa had travelled across all of Sápmi – the territory which spans across the Arctic Circle over Northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia – and gave lectures discussing Sami issues, gaining respect from people everywhere she went. Highly valued in the communities across Sami borders, she was just 53 years old when she passed due to tuberculosis.

sami, celebrations, history, norway, sweden, russia, finland, paywall



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Sami Congress turns 100

Published on Tuesday, 7th February, 2017 at 21:15 under the news category, by Charlotte Bryan.
Last Updated on 9th February 2017 at 11:45.

2017 marks 100 years since these indigenous peoples’ first congress in mid-Norway’s Trondheim. Norway monarch HM King Harald V attended celebrations of Sami culture, Monday.

The Sami Flag
The Sami Flag
Photo: Public Domain


Held in the Methodist Church in Trondheim, the first Sami Congress in 1917 marked the first time Sami people from Norway and Sweden would work together to discuss common Sami affairs. The first Sami congress was led by Elsa Laula Renberg (b. 1877 in Susendal in Hattfjelldal, Nordland County and d. 1931 at Brønnøysund’s nursing home.

Elsa had travelled across all of Sápmi – the territory which spans across the Arctic Circle over Northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia – and gave lectures discussing Sami issues, gaining respect from people everywhere she went. Highly valued in the communities across Sami borders, she was just 53 years old when she passed due to tuberculosis.

Today, Sami National Day celebrations range from far and wide across Sápmi. Many gather to mark Sami National Day every 6th February. First confirmed at 1992’s Sami Conference Helsinki, the following year’s official first Sami National Day was also celebrated as the International Year of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Some 70,000 Sami live in Norway, 25,000 in Sweden, 7,000 in Finland, and 3,000 in Russia. There are also some 30,000 ancestors of Sami people in North America.

In connection with the event, The South Sami book and culture bus, organised for children by Nordland County, was in Trondheim. There were various on board presentations featuring lectures, songs, readings and yoiks (traditional songs of Sami people). HM King Harald V opened the celebrations.

Northern Norway’s Tromsø, which hosted reindeer sprint races prior to Sami National Day, saw the animals reach speeds of up to 60 kilometres per hour (some 37 mph). And the Sami Week in Tromsø contained events such as The Norwegian Championship in Lasso Throwing, films at Fokus Aurora Cinema, and activities at Tromsø library.

Overseas, Sweden’s Jokkmokk, Northern Europe’s largest winter festival for over 400 years provided Sami culture in the form of handicrafts and Sami bread between 2nd and 4th February. Winter food treats such as smoked trout, jams, and berries from Norrbotten (North Bothnia, in English – a Swedish province in northernmost Sweden) were available, as were elk or reindeer meats. There was also other wintery fun such as the traditional reindeer race, helicopter tours, and dog sledding.

The Sami parliament of the Kola Peninsula, where most of Russia’s Sami live today, organised activities in Murmansk between 4th and 6th February. There were several seminars and discussions, a Sami theatre performance, and a programme focusing on Sami culture, language, and the way Sami youth and children relate to their culture.

The celebrations and other events are far from over, however. Finland’s Giellagas Institute for Sami studies at the University of Oulu is hosting a seminar about different layers and interpretations of a Sami landscape. Subjects that guest speakers will cover include tourist ideas about the Sami landscape and various methods used to document Sami history.

Back in Norway, the Jubilee Committee, Tråante 2017, is holding street celebrations in Trondheim’s town square up to 8th February. There are Sami foods, handcrafts, and concerts.

Moreover, members of The Sami Council, who now meet every fourth year to discuss Sami people’s future priorities, will be attending a conference at the Scandic Lerkendal Hotel in Trondheim between 9th and 11th Feb.

The first Sami Conference took place in the small town of Jokkmokk in Sweden’s Norrbotten County in 1953 to appoint a working group that would put together the Saami Council. And the second Sami Conference in Norway’s Karasjok, three years later, saw the rise of the established Nordic Sami Council. Their work is aimed at transcending the national borders amongst the Saami people.

There are currently a total of 72 delegates representing each country, with 18 from each. The quadrennial conferences provide opportunities for representatives to be appointed and resolutions to issues to be brought to the table. Languages spoken include Sami, English, and Russian, reflecting its internationality.




Published on Tuesday, 7th February, 2017 at 21:15 under the news category, by Charlotte Bryan.
Last updated on 9th February 2017 at 11:45.

This post has the following tags: sami, celebrations, history, norway, sweden, russia, finland, paywall.





  
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