Marketing the Sami: For we are for Sale, I and my people Stanley C. Domaniewski (U. of Joensuu) Mathilde Dujardin (U. Bøde) Monika Klimentova. (U. of Joensuu October 14, 2004 Index Group 2 1. Introduction ................................................................................................................................................ p4 2. Sámi history ................................................................................................................................................ p6 3. What is the Sámi Identity? .......................................................................................................................... P8 3.1 Sámi Identity on Display: Culture ...................................................................................... p9 3.2 Why do the Sámi Display Culture in this Manner? ............................................................ P9 4. Environmental consciousness ..................................................................................................................... p11 5. Conclusion .................................................................................................................................................. p15 6. Reference .................................................................................................................................................... P16 Annex (figure1) ............................................................................................................................................. p17 Introduction The Sami people are a small ethnic minority which lives in the Lapland area of the countries of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia. Historically The Sami have been oppressed by the populations that they coexist with. This oppression and subjugation created a want for a voice. According to The Sami looked towards the land as their savior. During the middle part of the twentieth century one can say that the Sami woke up from their long sleep. Thus began construction of identity towards themselves and the environment which they inhabit. The people live on the peripheral edge of the nation states which they inhabit, but only by choice. Similarly, they live on the edge of reality. They invent their reality so as to make it paltipal to those looking in at them. The purpose of this paper is to investigate what images Sami‟s present to the general public concerning environmental aspects. These abstractions of environment may not exist in totality, but they exist no one the less because the actors have tailor made them to exist. Thru nuance and rhetoric they have painted themselves as the children of the land. In other words metaphors of reality have been made into a commercialised reality. The question that needs to be asked is why and how these images are being presented. Why do the Sami want us to believe that this reality is true? Why do Sami strive so hard to put themselves in a context of the environment and derive meaning and identity from it. In summation the main research question this paper will try to answer is for what purpose are the Sami are striving to create identity thru marketability? What is their goal presenting themselves as the “natural people” or the stewards? Is the goal partially a desire to show off the identity of “environmental consciousness” of the Sami? Or is it that Samis to some extent use marketability to gain monetary rewards so as to further other goals? The argument that this paper wishes to make is that the Sami strive, at least partially, to market themselves. Sami identity towards environmental concerns is crafted and manufactured so as to make it a marketable entity. It is a reality that has been generated for many purposes. It is a linking of identity to environment which creates a commercial property. This commercial property has been manufactured and sold as reality. Metaphoric creations, imagery and rhetoric have been made into reality. In other words, it has become so because the Sami say it is so (http://www.duniho.com/fergus/academic/ms-thesis/Ch._3-Comparisons.html, 14-10-2004, 1991). This idea and the questions it derives falls into the grey area. Although it may not be expressly mentioned, it still does exist. The theory of Pragmatism will be used to flush out this idea and its concerns for the exact reason that this subject is a grey. One can not see the totality of the picture because such as thing is not possible. We are always left with the question of “maybe”. Like the proverbial blind men touching the elephant; they see different parts of the animal, but can never completely fathom to grasp what it entirely is. Sámi history The Sámi people are the indigenous people living in the Fennoscandian area. This area consists of the northern areas of Norway, Sweden, Finland, eastern Karelia and Kola Peninsula. It is believed that the first people came to the area during and after the last ice age, following reindeers. The first accounts about the Sámi go back to 98 C.E. in Tacite writing. Genghis Khan talked also about them and has said that he would never try to fight again them. Sámis are not traditional warriors like other people: they do not believe in war and disappeared in times of conflict. When their living conditions changed they adapted themselves. In the Middle Age the Sámi lived principally in small communities, siidas, hunting seals and fishing. Each groups owned his part of the territory for these activities. They also exchanged animal furs, which were very demanded particularly in Russia and in the north countries. When different populations invaded the coastal area in Sweden and in Finland, Sámi people were pushed back in the north of these countries. During this period Sweden, Norway (and after the Danish-Norwegian alliance) and Russia claimed control of this area at the same time. The Sámi people had to paid taxes at the different countries until 1826. Figure 2: The region inhabited by the Sami Since the 12th century various priests were sent in to the Sámi territories in order to convert them. Relationships were not always peaceful: persecutions were committed. The first church is built in Lapland in 1603. During the 17th and the 18th centuries the colonists settled definitively and adapted ground which is in opposition with the local tradition. In the first hand these farmers lived in houses and produced different foods products which were appreciated by Sámi people: butter, wool, milk… and in against part farmers adopted the local culture: habits, clothes, foods… But on the other hand the farmers destroyed some animal species by abusive hunting activities. There were some conflicts between settlers and Sámi which were mostly localised along the rivers and along the coasts. Even so, the Sámi people gained rights on the land and the water in Sweden thanks to the King Gustav Vasa. In 1850 social Darwinism, a racist ideology of cultural dominance and superiority, caused many changes and the situation of Sámi degraded gradually, in particular in the school system. Racists‟ ideas went on the theory of the natural selection and settlers thought that they were “much more advanced than the racially primitive Sámi with their backward culture”( www.fao.org,13-10-04, 1996). At the same time the Industrial Revolution was churning full boar. The demand for raw materials, as wood, increase suddenly. The boreal forest suddenly became an important economic resource. The forest exploitation began without taking care of regenerations. Sámi traditional ownership became an obstacle of the utilisation of the forest, the water and the iron ore. Power and money were the most important. Laws were manipulated and Sámi people lost progressively their rights on the natural resources. This policy hardened considerably between the two world wars. After the Second World War the idea changed gradually. In 1960, in Norway Sámi people obtained rights to use and developed their cultures. Today it is possible to study in Sámi language. Sámi have traditionally used the forest area for to survive: hunting, fishing, picking, reindeer herding… The most important aspect is the reindeer production. In Norway and Sweden, Sámi are the only ones allowed to raise these animals. There exist two different kinds of herding: the Sámi who live in forest area the reindeers are breeding in the forest all the year. For those who live in the mountains the herd move between the summer pasture area in the high mountain in Norway and winter pasture in boreal woodlands in the east. The current situation, although it is advantageous, is by no means perfect. All problems have not solved: forest industries are stronger and more forceful than the reindeer herding Sámi.. Reindeer‟s areas are protected and traditionally the herds have a right to use public and private land in Sweden but modern forestry destroys the ground growing lichens which are the reindeer‟s main food supply during winter. In addition the law has made distinctions between reindeer-herding and non-reindeer-herding Sámi: those who do not herd reindeer lost their traditional lands and forests use rights. The problems between Sámi and forest owner are far from being solved. What is the Sami Identity? To understand a group of individuals one must ask what their constructed identity is and where it comes from. Passi states that “Locality, region, nation, gender or ethnicity…may provide frameworks for the rise of collective identities.” (Passi 2003, 145). Here concept of identity is built in a context of historical references. Understanding these context will give us a better grasp of who the Sami people are and where they have come from. It will secondly give us a better idea of how they are using ideas, such as environment and culture, to market themselves. Sami culture and identity is inherently linked to the land and the environment (as stated in the previous section). Sami‟s and their ancestors have herded reindeer in the area of northern FennoScandia for thousands of years. The images presented by the Sami‟s to outsider is that of a people who are stewards or shepards of the environment and the land. The Sami present an image of their ancestors (and even themselves) living in an idyllic splendour that is at one with nature. All other ideas are negated because they do not fit in with this concept of what their identity is. The Sami have been forced into a technological lifestyle because of factors out of their control and thus they can not be blaimed. Sami identity is instead constructed and defined by their cultural past. They gain their identity not because of current practices, but because of an identity claim that is in the past. In other words, the agrarian past creates the identity that the Sami can show to us in the present. They have built their identity from a historical basis. Sami Identity on Display: Culture The Sami culture and identity is one that looks towards the past to perceive a certain type of present. It allocates only what it needs and disregards the rest. Understanding this, one must now ask the question of how such a thing is done. When looking at the way Sami culture was displayed during the excursion we see that certain practices were negated or overtly displayed. The practices were given merit/disdain because of the impact they had on the environment and the land. The most overt example of a environmental merit was the cultural tradition of Reindeer herding. Almost no discussion was mentioned on how exactly the current practices of herding impact the present day environment and the people. Instead it was viewed as a clean and environmental product because the Sami view of looking to the past had deemed it so. The reality of the subject of Reindeer herding and its true environmental impact can be seen in the Norwegian case. Soil toxicity levels, because of overuse of the land for grazing, have caused the Norwegian government to limit the amount of grazing that is allowed within the country. Figure one displays the pattern of lichen removal from the Norwegian area of Lapland (www.ekodata.net/vegetasjon/tidsstudier-engelsk.pdf, 11-10-2004). Hence the view that was displayed by the Samis to the group was one that was based on a constructed reality which looked towards the past. The real view is not one that Samis wish to display to others. One example of the negating of certain practices could be seen during the “Sami Magic Show”. The first room that the students were taken to showed how the Sami‟s had become a technologically advanced people. The question that arose was “What would our ancestors say. Would they even recognise us?”. This was all quickly pushed to the side as soon as one walked through the next set of doors. Here identity was reconstructed to fit in with environmental concept of idealic living. The magic show deemed that the present does not entirely define who the Sami are. Why do the Sami Display Culture in this Manner? The question that must be asked now is why exactly do Sami display their culture by solely looking backwards, rather than forwards? The answer can be found in the idea the marketing of culture and identity thru networking. In Lehto‟s and Oksa‟s “Networks for Local Development: Aiming for Visibility, Products and Success” one can overtly see the concepts that local actors can use to gain marketable success. The authors state networks can be deconstructed into inputs and outputs that interact with other aspects that further development. Thru the relative use of interconnection a “thing” may become a viable market product. The Sami‟s seem to take this one step froward as they link together the past to the present. In effect they level the playing field by creating an identity that revolves around a past historical concept. One aspect in which the Sami have succeeded is making a connection to is between visible product networks (Lehto & Oksa 5, 2004) and the idea of creating a network for a product out of a place (Lehto & Oksa 10, 2004). The combination of these two concepts has created this idea that their is an area that can be called a “Samiland”. The Sami‟s present this place as a borderless, shapeless and fluctuating land that needs to be explored by travellers. They further romanticise the „visible place product‟ by displaying images to consumers of an idyllic land of open environmental space. This further promotes their identity as keepers of this land. The concept of uniqueness of the place and the nature that inhabits made central to the promotions of the product. One example of how idyllic rhetoric is used can be seen on the Sami website for the greater Karasjok area. The authors speak of how one can sleep in idyllic luxury “in a lávuu (Sami tent) and more. You can relax and at the same time learn about Sami culture by visiting Sampi (Sami theme park) sapmi.html, visit a Sami-camp with a reindeer herding Sami, visit Engholms Husky, Europe‟s most unique dog sledding kennels or wander around the village and shop, along with visiting our sight. If you are interested in panning for gold, we have a gold panning camp 80km south of Karasjok centre. You can stay overnight there in a turf-hut, lávuu (Sami tent) or a cabin. The cabin is of a simple standard with a kitchen, shower and 2 bedrooms and is 1km from the gold panning camp” (http://www.koas.no/indexE.html, 12.10.2004 ). This theme of over simplicity and lack of decadence is used continuously to describe the character and the identity of Sami culture. The Lávuu is shown as an traditionally idealic place where outdoor fantasies can be nurtured and fulfilled, rather than what it really is (i.e. a representation of a deer skin tent, which is in fact made out of canvas). It is used as a metaphor that can be bought and sold. It has meaning because of the context the metaphor is placed in. In other words, the symbol of the Lávuu is true because it the Sami tell us what it is. Rather then allowing one figure out on his own what it is, the Sami overtly state a meaning for it. Environmental consciousness Sami people promote themselves as a people of nature. Does it mean that they have real environmental consciousness? How can a person prove anything like environmental consciousness? When we talk about countries and their environmental consciousness, we focus on their national environmental protection rules or more general environmental policy. Because environmental problems have today a transboundary character, we can also talk about environmental consciousness also in terms of international activity (strategy) of a state in international field of environmental protection. Scandinavian countries are progressive leaders of international environmental policy. As pioneers of european environmental policy indirectly influence global environmental protection (Anderson, M.S., Liefferink, D., 1997). Is it somehow related to the ideas of natural people? Are they somehow aspect or factor influencing strict environmental political strategy of Finland, Norway or Sweden? Or is it really only created nature identity of Sami but in fact just a part of their past like in case of historical development of all people (or nation or ethnic group) in the world? Do they experience the same development like the other nations do for the purpose to have comfortable ”Western-European” lifestyle without any or minimal attention to the environmental protection. It is entirely in the purpose of this paper to answer all of these questions. Even so, we can shortly focus on how important are these ”nature” people for something as environmental protection in their national states or optionally international activity. So main research question in environmental-political term could be : To what extend do they enforce (or are they trying), besides language and land right topic, their environmental principals as their right to live in the countries. The Goal of this section is to find any proof of environmental activity of Sami people, mainly some innovative ideas. The most important instruments for such a manifestation of Sami‟s interests and consciousness are political institutions, we can say Sami council, Sami‟s parliament (the Sàmediggi) and Sami University College. The Sámediggi plenary consists of 39 representatives elected from 13 electoral districts in Norway on the same date as the election to the Norwegian Parliament, every 4th year. The official name is “The Parliamentary and Sámediggi Elections”. The Sámediggi plenary meets four time per year, each session lasting five days. From this starting point it is natural to divide the work of the Sámediggi into two separate areas: 1. as a Sami-political instrument in term of power of political initiative, 2. and as an administrative organisation covers various administrative tasks delegated to the Sámediggi. Although one can argue that Sami Parliament has in fact no decision-making power and its status is rather consultative, it can anyway bring some innovative ideas, create certain pressure to government at national level and start required discussion. As a result of such a discussion we can mention the admission of Finnmark Act. Thus on 4 April 2003 the Norwegian government presented a new legal act called the “Finnmarksloven” (The Finnmark Act). The new legislation is result of a 23 year long process that started in 1980 with the controversies related to the Alta-river dam in the Sami area in Norway.(1) The Alta conflict resulted in the setting up of two influential commissions, the Sami Rights Committee and the Sami Culture Committee. The Sami Rights Committee, set up in 1980, was given a mandate to clarify Sami rights and propose courses of action. Its first report was presented in 1984 and formed the basis of Parliamentary Bill no. 33, Concerning the establishment of an elected Sami assembly and other matters relating to Sami rights. On 12th June 1987 the Sami Act was passed by Parliament to ensure a co-ordinated and principled Sami policy. The aim of the Act is "to ensure favourable conditions to enable the Sami people of Norway to maintain and develop its language, culture and social life." Simply, the results of the river Alta conflict for the Sami people were mirrored by similar international developments concerning the protection of civil and political rights for minorities, indigenous peoples and tribal peoples. 1 The Alta affair The decision to build a controversial power-dam across the river Alta at the end of the 1970s strongly focussed attention on the conditions facing the Sámi people, as they struggled to maintain and develop their language, culture and social life. The prolonged conflict over the dam forced the government to reappraise its policies towards the Sámi people. The Alta conflict: · exposed the enormous lack of knowledge about Sámi conditions in government departments· led to demands from the NSR (National Association of Norwegian Sámi) and the NRL (Sámi Reindeer Herder's Association in Norway) for a government commission to look into Sámi land rights. · helped to focus world attention on Norway's treatment of its own indigenous people (through the lávvu (tipi) protests and hunger strikes outside the Norwegian Parliament building in Oslo) and demonstrated to Norwegians that "native-rights problems" did not only occur in far-way foreign countries. · exposed the need for a national Sámi assembly to represent all Sámis. (Disagreements among various Sámi organisations could always be used as an excuse by the authorities to sit back and do nothing.) Work of Parliament is concentrated as it was written on enforcing rights of Sami people as an ethnic minority. In term of environmental, the most important issue is reindeer herding and land- use. During our excursion and neither after researching internets sources, no important innovative environmental ideas coming from Sami parliament were found. Political innitiative is reduced only to practical life of indigenous Sami people without any emphasis on their own environmental contribution to solution of any environmental problems. But traditional knowledge of indigenous people are today found to be very helpful in process of solution environmental problems that are in their home area such a arctic region. Certain activities including indigenous nations to solving certain environmental problems are supported by Sami Council which is another political institution of Sami people. As a nongovernmental organisation is it‟s purpose to “promote Sami rights and interests in the four countries where the Sami are living, to consolidate the feeling of affinity among the Sami people, to attain recognition for the Sami as a nation and to maintain the economic, social and cultural rights of the Sami in the legislation of the four states. (Norway, Sweden, Russia and Finland). This objective can be achieved through agreements between these states and the bodies representing the Sami people, the Sami parliaments. Sami Council renders opinions and makes proposals on questions concerning Sami people‟s rights, language and culture and especially on issues concerning Sami in different countries” (www.saamicouncil.net/?deptid=2178). The council also make public some of feelings towards international agreements or events. These are mainly related to rights of Sami people and using of heir “own” land, important is also contribution to debate around indigenous people and northern periphery in EU. In this issues several research documents are available. One example could me named: "Traditional Knowledge - a Report prepared for the Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat" by Philip Burgess (1999). Most of such a programme are however done particulary in territory of northern America, just a few are somehow connected with region of Northern Europe and Sami people. Another important tool is Sami University College, which has knowledge of local specific Sami living conditions. Although one can find that one of main three elements of Sami University College scientific basis is sustainable development and biodiversity. All of the courses available at this university today are specialised only in Sami culture, handicraft/decorative art and language. Environmental research is expounded in many other educational centre in Lapland, such a University of Arctic. The main reason for absence of any own ideas in environmental problems and absence of any research conducted by Sami people could be related to impossibility to use Sami language as a research language. Besides these institution several another international subject that are solving problematic of indigenous people exists, such a United Nations. Mentioned ones should anyway be the first ones to listen to voices of Sami people and are direct toll for such a eventual activity. But is there any such a activity? The fact is that we didn‟t find any sign of environmental progressive strategy whether in national or international level. If one looks at the Sami congress page for example, one will find that they are not working on any statutes currently (enviromental or otherwise) (www.samediggi.no, 14-10-04, 2004). So if we summarise this chapter no important political activity anyhow connected with environmental protection is not readabl. All work of political institution is related to economic issues and reinforcement of Sami‟s rights. At the same time it can be on possibility to enforce their position through their environmental knowledge in countries as Scandinavian are. What does it mean then to be natural people? Conclusion Now that one has unravelled the veneer behind the Sami imagery and rhetoric, along with identity claims that are bound to the land, one can see that the marketing of the Sami is a monetary political act. Sami power and Sami capital are both bound to identity and its buying and selling. Sami institutions currently have no power to change governmental policy. What Sami‟s do have the power to do is to market their identity so as to build capital. From one point of view this look as though they are building cultural capital (i.e. museums, lodge houses, traditional activities). Although this idea is partially true, one must also understand that monetary capital is being derived from the imagery and culture that is being presented This capital can be partially allocated to further market the Sami to the Fennoscandic governmental powers that be. Thus Samis can present their imagery and identity to governmental organisations. This makes them a visible natural place product to a further group of more influential clients. With this access to influences they can then fight for Sami rights under the guise of being a concerned and “environmental conscious” entity. Recent difficulties that the Sami face are mainly education system proplems, language and owning of territory where they live. Maybe after achievement of these demands they can start to participate on something subregional or national or even global development. One can never truly know if these are complete answers to the questions this study has asked. Even so, these are the answer that have generated to the images that have been presented during this excursion. No others were readily available. Surely other points of view must exist. These need to be investigated to get a better and more complete picture. The water needs to be tested with more than just a toe. References Internet sources: 1. http://agora.qc.ca 2. http://archives.arte-tv.com 3. www.arcticpeoples.org 4. www.ecodata.net/vegetasjon 5. www.itv.se 6. www.koas.no 7. www.lysator.se 8. www.saamicouncil/net 9. www.samediggi.no 10. www.samiskhs.no 11. www.sampi.no 12. www.sampi.se 13. www.ymparisto.fi 14. www.duniho.com/fergus/academic/ms-thesis/ Literature: 1. Burgess P.(1999): Traditional Knowledge. Report prepared for the Arctic Council People‟s Secretariat. Copenhagen. 2. Lehto E., Oksa J.(2004): Networks for Local Development: Aiming for Visibility, Products and Success. 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