Wimme Saari was born in Kelottijärvi, Enontekiö, Lapland, Finland. He is a multi-artist; a yoiker, composer, actor and artist. He grew up with the north sami luohti joik. He combines traditional Sami singing with his own improvisations, usually to a techno-ambient accompaniment.
Marja Mortensson is a young South Saami yoiker and singer from Svahken Sïjte reindeer herding district, in Hedmark County, Norway. Her songs centre aspects of her indigenous Saami identity, the closeness and importance of the environment, as well as both her love for reindeer husbandry and her commitment to the protection and revitalisation of the South Saami language.
Marja has collaborated with the Saami musician Frode Fjellheim in order to bring new life to traditional Saami yoiks. Whilst involved in the project Russuoh Vuölieb and during courses at Nord University where she studied old recordings of traditional yoiks, she has successfully taught herself the South and Ume Saami yoiking tradition.
At the beginning of 2017, Marja released her acclaimed debut album ‘Aarehgïjre’ – Early Spring.
Sami agency in Sápmi and the Nordic countries
Christina Hætta is head of the Cultural Unit in The Saami Council. Her background is from 20 years in the Sámi cultural field where she has worked as a festival producer, project manager and curated different artistic productions for among others the Riddu Riđđu festival, Sámi easter festival, Beaivváš sámi teahter, Artic Arts festival and Márkomeannu. Christina also has an education as a cultural producer from The Arctic university in Hárstak.
Lars Miguel Utsi is Vice President and Chair of the language board in the Sámi Parliament of Sweden. Lars Miguel has long experience working with the rights of and cooperation between indigenous peoples, especially in the Sámi region of the Nordic countries and Russia. He worked as Indigenous Peoples Adviser at the International Barents Secretariat, working three years especially with indigenous entrepreneurship in the Barents region. This was followed by two years as Head of the Cultural Unit of the Saami Council, an umbrella organization uniting the national Sámi NGOs of the Nordic countries and Russia, before being appointed Vice President of the Sámi Parliament in 2017.
Pirita Näkkäläjärvi, Čiske-Ánne-Máreha Biret, is an elected member of the Sámi Parliament in Finland. She is the Chair of the Cultural Committee. Pirita Näkkäläjärvi yoiked and appeared in a short film called The Killing of Čáhcerávga (by The Miracle Workers Collective) representing Finland in the Venice Biennale in 2019. She works as an investment professional in the energy sector.
Magne Svineng is Department Director for Industry, Culture and Health Affairs at the Sami Parliament on the Norwegian side. On the cultural side, the department manage all Sami institutions, work actively to promote artists 'conditions through the artist agreement with the Sami Artists' Council and general policy development in the field. Cross-border cooperation in Sápmi is also important to us, where we have good cooperation with the other Sami parliaments. About myself, I was born and raised in Karasjok, live today at home and use the local area actively with skiing in the winter and cycling and running in the summer.
Legal frameworks and public policies
Marie B. Hagsgård is president of a Committee of Experts in the Council of Europe monitoring human rights for national minorities and indigenous peoples. Among the 39 European states which have ratified the Framework Convention for the protection of National Minorities are Sweden, Finland and Norway. The Convention protects the right for persons belonging to national minorities and indigenous peoples to preserve and develop their culture and identity. It also gives national minorities and indigenous people the right to effectively participate in the development of cultural life and in public affairs.
In Sweden these rights are expressed in Lag om nationella minoriteter och minoritetsspråk; the Minority law. So far the Minority law has had limited effects on the obligation of local, regional and state authorities to promote the possibility for Sami to influence, preserve and develop their culture. This concerns especially the Sami culture closely tied to their traditional lands, entailing reindeer herding, fishing and hunting. This was criticized by the Committee of Ministers in the Council of Europe in 2018. The next monitoring cycle of Sweden by the Council of Europe begins this year.
Marie B. Hagsgård who is a lawyer and has worked as a judge now works as a consultant supporting Swedish authorities and informing the Sami of how the Minority law should be applied in accordance with the obligations of Sweden under the Framework Convention.”
Elle Merete Omma is born and raised in a reindeer herding family in Norway and in Sweden. She is currently the head of the Saami Council EU Unit. Previously she held the position of Executive Secretary of the Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples Secretariat. Prior to her work with the Arctic Council she was Senior Advisor on Sámi Affairs at the Norwegain Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation. She holds a Master in Law from the University of Oslo and a Bachelor degree in Social Science from Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
Marja Bål Nango is a Sámi artist, filmmaker, director, screenwriter and producer. She grown up in Skibotn og Tromsø, Norway.
Marja has received many awards and several of her films have been shown at many film festivals all over the world. Her film education is from Nordland School of Art and Film and Film and Television Science at Lillehammer College and producing education at a collaborative program between International Sámi Film Institute and Sámi University.
Her latest short film, “The Tongues,” follows a woman’s psychological aftermath as she fights for spiritual survival after being raped in a snowstorm on a mountain. The film has been a success worldwide, winning four awards, three of them at Oscar® Qualifying Film Festivals.
Marja is now working with a manus for a feature film.
S.O.S. First Aid (art) Kit – the Sápmi case in Sweden
Ande Somby is an independent indigenous intellectual and also Associate professor på Faculty of Law, UiT Norges arktiske universitet at Faculty of Law University of Tromsø. He is from Sirma, Finnmark, Norway, now living in Tromsö. He has been an active yoiker since 1974. He does design and sculpture as well.
Beside that Ande is a member of the Council of the Arctic University, a member of the programcomittee of the Norwegian researchprogram on social and cultural preconditions on information and communication technology (SKIKT). He is also a member of the program-comittee of the Sami cultural festival Riddu Riððu.
Rönn och Sebastian – It takes a village
I am the scarred hands of my Áhkku
I am my faffa’s spine
I am my father’s eyes
I am my mother’s mighty voice
Sebastian is a dancer with his Sami roots in Ammarnäs but also among the families who were forced to migrate south from Karesuando in the 1920’s. Through his dance he invokes the voices of his origins while keeping one leg firmly planted in urban dance cultures.
Rönn is a performance poet and spoken word artist, raised and residing in Kiruna. Through poetry Rönn touches on subjects such as colonialism, queerness, rural settings in sparsely populated areas and love.
Together the two will perform the dance and poetry performance “Det krävs en by” in translation “One needs a village”, an investigation into what it means to be an indigenous people, connectivity and resistance, feelings of belonging and identity crises, the big city versus the village.
Karin Thomasson is regional councillor Region Jämtland Härjedalen, vice president Regional development committee, president of Jamtli, regional museum of Jämtland Härjedalen, president of Gaaltije, south saepmie cultural center in Östersund and president of Riksteatern, national board.
Aejlies – Sami center in Tärnaby, is a new multifaceted Sami institution under development, in a Sámi core area among the mountains. Aejlies is created BY Sámi people FOR Sámi people. The Aejlies concept is sprung from long-standing Sami needs and is developed in a new era where indigenous knowledge is more respected. Aejlies fills many needs both locally and in Sàpmi in general. We are a cultural and resource center with a Sami norm which, among other things, are a meeting place, a workplace, a knowledge base, an art residence, a gallery and "showroom" and a creative node with workshops. Apart from organizing our own courses we offer Sami organisations to use our facilities for their own needs, for example our brand new sound studio or meeting room. But most important of all, Aejlies will take great responsibility for the work with Sami cultural heritage in the region and Sami expertise in everything from duodji and film to archeology and language will be gathered here. One of our ongoing work is creating a museum that is Sámi in all its nature, from idea, organization and the narratives we bring forward.
The sámi foundation Gaaltije was founded to work on behalf of “the sámi peoples´ cultural and christian interests”. The foundation offers public events and focuses on developing the sámi society through projects within cultural, language and business development.
With roots from the Sámi villages Tåssåsen and Mittådalen Jerker Bexelius has since 2009 been the åejvie/director of the Sámi foundation Gaaltije. His background is from the business development sector where he has had positions with international marketing responsibilities. In his current position he is involved in several development projects and groups such as the network of Båskoes in the Mid Sweden University and Jurddabeassi, a Sámi think tank for relationships with the EU. In 2019 Jerker Bexelius was elected ”the Gregorius of the year” for his impact on regional development in Jämtland-Härjedalen.
Giron Sámi Teáhter
Giron Sámi Teáhter is the theatre of the Sami people. Our roots lie in the independent theatre company Dálvadis which toured extensively in Europe and in North and South America with performances based on Sami culture in the Sami language.
Our theatre has its home in Giron located 145 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. We are in constant motion, producing two to three productions each year and playing for all ages. We frequently collaborate or co-produce and organize workshops and discussions for the development of Sami culture and language. Productions are toured primarily in the traditional Sami settlement areas in the north of Sweden, in major cities and abroad.
Åsa Simma was born into a nomadic reindeer herding family, migrating between north Sweden and Norway depending on the season.
She was taught the traditional Sami singing called "yoik" , during that time yoiks was forbidden. She was part of the movement to diminish the yoiking ban. She left for Denmark where she took an actors education.
Åsa Simma has been very active in the global indigenous peoples movements. She has toured among Australian Aboriginals, lived with Inuits from Greeenland and Native American Indians. Worked as a film dramaturgist and script developer at the International Sami Film Institute. Presently she is the head of the Giron Sami Theatre.
Stockholm Sámi Association, non-profit organisation created 1947, owns the mission to promote Sámi art and culture, protect the Sámi languages, support Sámis in the Stockholm region to take part in Sámi cultural expressions. The association creates spaces where Sámis get possibilities to strengthen their identities and belonging in addition to promote knowledge about Sámi culture, language, history and politics to the general public.
Inge Frisk is Forest Sámi and retiree, descendent of Ume Sámi area. He has been active on the board of the Stockholm Sámi Association in various roles since 2003. Since a year ago he supports the development of the association's business on a part time basis.
Såhkie – Umeå Sami Association
Såhkie was founded in 1977 with the main goal of strengthening Sami interests. It is a non-governmental organization for the Sami people and its affiliates, seated in Umeå. Såhkie works to strengthen, maintain, and facilitate for the Sami culture to thrive and develop locally and regionally in Sápmi.
We work to spread information and present our culture and way of life. We have several projects, Ubmejen Biejvieh - the Sami week, which started in year 2000 is the main one. Såhkie also manages Tráhppie – Sami cultural centre, café, and store. Ubmejen Biejvieh and Tráhppie are important focal points and meeting areas for Sami culture in Umeå. We cooperate and network with several organizations and institutions that have similar objectives both regional and interregional.
Nicklas Danielsen is from Røros, Norway. He grew up within the Southsami reindeer herding community. He is educated in the field of archaeology and has worked with different Sami archaeological projects both as field assistant and field leader in Norway. He also worked for a longer period in the Norwegian armed forces. He has had positions in different Sami non-governmental organizations, mostly involved with Sami youth. Today he is the producer for Såhkie – Umeå Sami Association, and leads the project Ubmejen Biejvieh – Umeå Sami Week.
Tjállegoahte – Sámi Writer’s Centre
Tjállegoahte aims to strengthen Sámi literature and make it possible for more people to write, read and enjoy books and stories. We run a Writer’s Agency, organize workshops and spread knowledge about literature both in and out of Sápmi
Ellen Berit Dalbakk is the newly appointed coordinator for Viermie K. Ellen comes from Skániek on the Norwegian side of Sápmie and has previously worked as a producer and general manager for the Márkomeannu festival. Now she has her base both in Skániek and in Giron on the Swedish side, together with her partner and their 1-year-old son. Ellen is also a duojár, working with Sami crafts.