Publicerat 10 juni, 2015

Sami culture was made visible during 2014

Sami culture and the Sami people had a central place in Umeå’s Capital of Culture year. The programme offered opportunities for progress and knowledge but this is a process that must continue.

”Umeå2014 succeeded in making Sami culture visible. It remains to be seen what impressions that has made at national and international level,” says Michael Lindblad, chairperson of the Sami association Såhkie Umeå sameförening.

The European Capital of Culture Year was an important year where Sami culture was made visible in a unique way in a Swedish context. As the only indigenous people in the EU, Sami culture arouses curiosity and a desire to know more. The programme included many events with Sami themes and participants which imparted knowledge and enriched both audiences and actors.

Important contributions were made during the year
In addition to artistic highlights, the programme also consisted of a constructive problematisation of Sweden’s colonial history and topical issues that are important for the survival and development of the Sami culture. Michael Lindblad, chairperson of the Sami association Såhkie Umeå sameförening and Umeå2014’s Sami Artistic Council, looks back at the important initiatives that were made:

”From a Sami perspective, it was important to have Sami players and actors, and during the big opening ceremony and the seasonal inaugurations, that was very obvious. Other examples of the Umeå Sami association’s activities were the Sami Week, the Tráhppie house of culture, the jojk project Russuoh Vuölieb!/Wake up the jojk!, Bildmuseet’s Eight Sami artists and the Museum of Västerbotten’s project Rock Art in Sápmi and all the sub-projects.”

Michael Lindblad sees the Sami involvement in the project as a process which had a weak start but which became better and better. He points out that the Sami Artistic Council played an important role as work progressed.

Lack of knowledge about our colonial history
Michael Lindblad says that one result of the Sami presence during the year was that the lack of knowledge about Sami culture and Sweden’s domestic colonial history became apparent. At a local level, one positive consequence of the lack of knowledge was the Sami ”knowlege trail” that Umeå2014 developed together with Anne Wuolab, the Sami producer of the big inauguration. The purpose of the ”knowledge trail” was to make people more aware of Umeå’s Sami cultural heritage.

”The lack of knowledge shows that something needs to be done here; we need a national plan of action with regard to Sami culture. The best thing would be for Umeå municipality to take on the role of leading the work to spread knowledge about Sami culture and society, as a sort of extension of the ”knowledge trail”. It’s important that the progress that has been made during 2014 doesn’t lose momentum,” says Michael Lindblad.

Text: Lotta Olovsson
Photo: Malin Grönborg

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