The celebrations include events in Trondheim throughout the anniversary week, with high-level representation from Norway (King Harald, Prime Minister Erna Solberg) and Sweden (Alice Bah Kuhnke, Minister for Culture and Democracy). Sauli Niinistö, the President of Finland, will be attending the SuomiSápmi 100+100 event in Inari, Finnish Lapland, honouring both the 100 years of Sami collaboration and the centenary of Finland’s independence.
Liisa Holmberg, the Rector of Sami Education Institute in Inari and the current Chair of the Council of UArctic, says in an interview for Huvudstadsbladet (HBL) that the Sami history has been very male-dominated but women have played an integral role nevertheless. In the article she refers to Elsa Laula who actively promoted Sami matters already over 100 years ago and convinced women to attend the first Sami congress, with the result of 40 women attending out of the 150 participants.
“Four things were important according to Elsa: education, language, traditional livelihoods, and cooperation across borders. This applies even today,” Holmberg says in the HBL piece.
In the article Holmberg also discusses the need for greater understanding of the Sami culture in Finland. One solution could be introducing a Sami language as an optional subject in school; there is already a proposal on an inexpensive virtual teaching solution which has been shared with Finland’s Minister of Education, Sanni Grahn-Laasonen.
Read the Huvudstadsbladet story (in Swedish) at https://www.hbl.fi/artikel/stor-okunskap-om-samerna/