This year’s Sámi Day at Ingebretsen’s will cap off what has been a landmark year for both the local Twin Cities Sámi community and the Sámi Siida of North America (SSNA) as well. Who are the Sámi? The Sámi are the indigenous people of Northern Europe – Sámi means “the people” and is a living culture today. A siida is an ancient word for community, originally denoting a reindeer pastoralist district.
This past year we have been fortunate to participate as docents and guest lecturers as part of the American Swedish Institute’s exhibition of “The Eight Seasons of Sapmi”, and local Sámi American Kurt Seaburg had a show of his artwork there as well. In the summer, we traveled to FinnFest in the U.P. of Michigan and raised awareness of the Sámi and our North American group. After FinnFest, the Sámi Jienat Choir visited the Twin Cities and participated in a cultural exchange with local Native Americans. This fall, I, along with Siida Chair John Xavier gave talks about the Sámi in their original land, the immigration experience, and the North American descendants. The Sámi culture was celebrated at the Leiv Eriksen International Festival at Mindekirken. The SSNA was also a sponsor at the ImagiNative Film Festival in Toronto. Our Sámi Canadian board member, Mervi Salo, hosted many film screenings. Whatever the activity, they all achieved one of the primary goals of our organization, to raise awareness of and to promote Sámi culture.
As we end an eventful year for our organization, it is fitting to return to Ingebretsen’s, connect with the local community, and meet new friends. Come visit us in the Ingebretsen’s classroom on Saturday, December 7th, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. We’ll be on hand to answer questions regarding the indigenous people of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. Take a look at (and climb into) a lávvu, and post a flag on our map of Scandinavia. At 1p.m., hear a talk by Evelyn Ashford about “The Sámi, Then and Now.”, as well as remarks from Siida chair John Xavier. The coffee will be on, and we look forward to meeting you!
– Anessa Andersland, SSNA Cultural and Community Contact