Life in Norway Show #76: From the Sami Parliament and efforts to keep the languages alive to the importance of handicrafts and song, we hear all about Sami culture in 2024.
The recent wind turbine controversy has brought Sami culture and indigenous rights back into the headlines here in Norway, and around the world.
Bodø is about to start its year as European Capital of Culture, and the team has put Sami culture at the very heart of the program.
So, who better to introduce us to the various aspects of Sami culture than Maria Hernes Bær, the coordinator of the Sami program for Bodø 2024.
We talk about Sami identity, some elements of the culture including what tourists experience and what they don’t, and the plans to showcase Sami culture at Bodø 2024.
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Introducing Sami Culture in Norway
We couldn’t go into too much detail on the show. Instead, we chose to provide a general overview about some key elements of Sami culture in Norway, including:
The History of Norwegianisation: For many years, the Norwegian government pursued policies of forced integration. Maria says it’s impossible to discuss Sami culture without understanding this history.
Sami languages: There are many different Sami languages spoken in Norway. Work is underway to save and promote some of the most endangered ones.
Duodji: The best translation for this is Sami handicrafts, but there’s more to it than that, as Maria explains.
Joik: Sitting somewhere between a song and poetry, the joik remains an important part of Sami culture to this day.
In 2024, Bodø takes its place as European Capital of Culture. Back in 2021, I spoke with the program director about Bodø's plans for the year. If you're curious about the festival, that episode of the podcast is a must-listen.
Links from the show
During the show, we talk about many aspects of Sami lifestyle and several events taking place during Bodø 2024. Here are links to learn more: