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German Der Spiegel: Sami people will soon disappear

A large group of Sami people came to the Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä to watch Kautokeinon kapina on June 11th 2008.

The prestigious German weekly newspaper Der Spiegel writes about the position of Sami people under the heading “Sami people are about to become extinct, this is a reality.” The statement is made in the Spiegel article by novelist Rosa Liksom.

Spiegel’s reporter visited Lapland during this winter. The article points out that Finland has still to ratify the so-called Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization operating under the UN. The agreement guarantees indigenous and tribal peoples’ right to their traditional living areas and natural resources. Norway is among the 22 countries that have ratified the convention. Sweden and Finland have delayed.

The convention has proven to be a source of large debates in Lapland.

The article in Der Spiegel focuses on, for example, large mining and forest companies’ economic interests in Lapland.

“The state is after money,” says Liksom, who is of Sami blood herself. “The Samis will become extinct, this is a reality.”

According to Der Spiegel Sami language skills are also disappearing. Educated young Sami people move to cities located in Southern Finland.

Annika Rautakoura - HT
Image: Antti Aimo-Kivisto / Lehtikuva