Today, I'm lending this platform to 3 amazing Sámi streamers.
VikingTrash from Norway, Basiliisk från Sweden and NieTheGhoul from Norway.
They have all streamed for years and are speaking regularly about their Sámi heritage and the rights of the Sámi people.
Listen to them here.
|Art by Finnish artist Ukko, made for the Sámi national day on the 6th of February|
How do you relate to your Sàmi heritage?
VikingTrash: My mother is Sámi, my dad is from West Coast Norway where I am born and raised. My mother is from a Sea Sámi family in the very North of Norway, brought up speaking Northern Sámi and was raised around various sámi traditions.
I try not to use "half sámi" when explaining it because I think blood quantum is silly and was once told by a relative that "either you´re sámi or you´re not" which helped me feel more sure about my heritage. I think a lot of indigenous people struggle with the feeling of "not being indigenous enough".
Basiliisk: Me and my mother just recently started exploring our heritage from our Sàmi family, and it started to become an important part of our lives.
My middle name is named after my mum´s grandmother, who funnily enough was a writer and I coincidentally became one as well, so in one way one could say I’m carrying on that heritage.
My grandfather loved (to try) yoiking for me when I was a child, which made me love that kind of music till today, and taught me how to carve and eat dried reindeer, which is also a big favourite of mine till today.
For a long time, my family denied being Sámi due to how the Norwegian government had assimilated the Sámi People into Norwegian culture. My grandfather was born and raised in a goahti and spoke Sámi, but we were not Sámi.
Sadly he passed away when my father was 15 so I never got to meet him. When I turned 18 I started reclaiming this as a part of my family's narrative and saw all the cultural things that related to the Sámi heritage. Both me and my father are actively trying to reclaim this part of our identity and I still feel a sort of unexplained grief in everything we lost.
The language being one.
How do you feel being Sàmi is being received in your community?
Basiliisk: Well,one of my mods (moderators on stream) got really interested in my heritage, asking questions to learn more about it and wanting to try Sàmi art for my sake.
My boyfriend has become really interested as well, looked up a lot of information, and even wants to plan something for the national day.
I also got some plans for overlays and such for my streams to show it off even more.
VikingTrash: I don´t think most of my community even knew until maybe a year or two ago.
That is my fault entirely, I haven´t talked about it a lot until recent years as I took being indigenous for granted.
It has always been just a normal thing for me, it´s always been in my life and I didn´t consider it sacred until I saw Native American creators highlight how important it is to preserve indigenous traditions, stories and culture. It opened my eyes to the fact that I have a platform I can use to celebrate the culture and also educate. It also made me realize that I should be even prouder of being indigenous and talk about it more, not only because it´s important but because it´s my identity and if people want to get to know me then that´s an essential part.
When I opened up to my community about it I got a lot of love, and was met with a lot of curiosity and overall positivity. Most didn´t even know Sámi people existed and I´m happy to make sure they know we´re here.
NieTheGhoul: I feel like a lot of people do not know what it is, but they find it very interesting. Most people are very respectful when asking questions as well.
Most problems arise when I meet someone else from the Nordics because then, and often without meaning to, I can get sort of casual racism. Like trying to crack jokes about reindeer or joiking. Most people are pretty supportive and respectful though!
How would you describe being Sàmi for someone living outside the Nordic?
NieTheGhoul: I honestly would just explain it as being the indigenous people of the Nordic. Like how Native Americans are to the US.
We have faced a lot of the same struggles (I am lucky to have met indigenous friends from the entire world after I started streaming) and also come with our own culture and customs that are different to the other people in the areas we live in.
Now they live in modern houses compared to how they lived before;which was more or less Sàmi huts.
My grandfather used to tell me how they sat there with the fire going in the middle of the hut, where they for example carved reindeer meat.
But it isn’t all nice and relaxing. Sadly, there’s a lot of hate against us, subjected to discrimination by the governments in the Nordic countries, which obviously needs to change.
VikingTrash: I agree, I think being Sámi is different for everyone, and for me probably a bit different since I am not raised in Northern Norway.
First of all, Sámi people are the indigenous people in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. We have a rich culture with old traditions and multiple languages. There are Sámi people who have reindeer, there are some who are fishers and many have more regular 9-5 jobs.
We are very different, but what we have in common is an ancient heritage that goes back thousands of years.
For me being Sámi means trying to protect, love and cherish our history and culture. I´m trying to be more aware and educate myself. I also finally have my own gákti(traditional dress for sámi people) on top of my Luhkka(It´s like a poncho, handmade by a Sámi woman and gifted by my mother, sister and grandma) and I´m trying to practice some Northern Sámi phrases.
In my adult years I have also come to appreciate my grandmas cooking even more, I didn´t realize a lot of the food she makes is pretty traditional sámi dishes.
What do you feel can be done more to highlight Sàmi culture?
Basiliisk: We need to showcase the heritage of the Sàmi even more, make it a normal thing without discrimination happening towards our people. Highlight it in even more things; games, movies, stories, news and many other things. We got one step in the right direction with our national day in the Nordic countries, but more needs to be done.
NieTheGhoul: I think it must start in the Nordics. In Norway at least a lot of people are only taught a very old-fashioned and stereotypical view of the Sámi people. Just continuing to educate and to talk about it and get representation and not being sold in as something exotic being that is completely other is important.
VikingTrash: I want Sámi/Sápmi to be included more when people talk about indigenous people, most people don´t even know we exist and I want to do something about that. I love how there is more awerness and support of indigenous people and I´d like for us to also have a seat at the table.
I overall want people to be better at raising indigenous voices, hear them and value them.
I´m very happy companies(mostly in the Nordics) are wanting to highlight us on the Sámi National Day, but we need more global exposure overall all year round if people are going to learn about us.
This is why I cherish and celebrate being Sámi every day now and not just on February 6th. We are indigenous every day, all year round for the rest of our lives and it matters.
VikingTrash, Basiliisk and NieTheGhoul, what are your 3 best pieces of advice for people that want to be a great ally here?
2. Do research and do your own (don’t expect marginalized people to do the work for you).
3. Use your privilege and voice to lift up marginalized voices, and don’t speak over or for us.
If you want to learn more about Sámi culture, here are some links!
- Saami Council
- Samer (In Swedish)
- Sametinget (In Norwegian)
- 10 ways to support Sàmi
Sameblod ger regissören nya utmaningar | Fria.Nu (article written by yours truly about the work with Sameblod)
|The Sámi flag.|