February 6th is the Sami National Day, and this year marks the 100th anniversary of the first Sami National Convention held in Trondheim in 1917. After 100 years of ‘Norwegianization’, this was the first time the Sami across national Nordic boundaries gathered around common interests, working for the recognition of their culture, language and rights. Sami Women’s Association led the organising committee, with Elsa Laula Renberg at the helm.
We had the honour of meeting two contemporary Sami pioneers from Unjárga/Nesseby in October; reindeer herder Márroś Biehttar Uulla ja Ánddir Ánne Márdja Nilsemanna Gunn Tove (Gunn-Tove Smuk) and chair of the Association of World Reindeer Herders Executive Board, Márroś Biehttar Uulla ja Ánddir Ánne Márdja Inger Anita (Inger Anita Smuk).
We can’t wait to share their stories here on the blog very shortly and in the upcoming book Time is a ship that never casts anchor – Stories from New Kirkenes Hospital, which will be published in conjunction with the opening of the new hospital in August.
Until then, Lihkku Beivviin Sápmi – Happy Sami National Day!