The recent history of the Sámi is both traumatic and overshadowed by various forms of colonisation and assimilation. But it is also a story of survival and resilience, as shown by two recent books. “Herrarna satte oss hit”, written by Elin Anna Labba, depicts the experiences of forced migrations of Sámi in Sweden, while “Vastatuuleen” by Kukka Ranta and Jaana Kanninen portrays the assimilation of the Sámi in Finland. In a discussion with researcher Lia Markelin, Labba and Ranta discuss the multifaceted experiences and stories of Sámiland, and how the present is very much shaped by the past.
Elin Anna Labba is a cultural journalist and writer. She lives in Sweden and both her parents come from families that were forcibly removed in the previous century. ‘Sápmi is my writing heart, and this book too comes from my heart’, says Labba.
Kukka Ranta is a journalist with a long experience of working abroad on issues of indigenous and minority rights. Only recently did she realise that Finland too has an indigenous population and was shocked at the lack of knowledge on the topic amongst the Finnish population. Ranta is also a doctoral student at the University of Lapland.