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Published: 03 Feb, 2017

Sami jubilee celebrated on campus

NEWS This year, Umeå University is putting an extra focus on Arctic research, of which Sami research represents an important part. On Monday 6 February, the Sami National Day is celebrated, also on Campus Umeå. In 2017, this day holds a special importance as it marks the 100th anniversary of the first Sami congress in Trondheim in 1917.

A new Umeå University logo in the language Ume Sami.

“It’s an important day to take note of, particularly since the Sami are a Swedish Indigenous people, but also as Umeå University is located in a location of importance and with strong ties to Sami culture. Arctic research conducted here is also of huge importance for life in this part of the World, both culturally and financially, but also from a natural science perspective,” says Hans Adolfsson, Vice-Chancellor of Umeå University.

Elsa Laula Renberg from Dikanäs in the county of Västerbotten was one of the initiators of the Sami congress at which the Sami demanded influence in areas that concerned them. This was a historic event that marked a stand against the Nordic colonising powers. In Trondheim, the place where the first congress took place, celebrations will go on for an entire week. In the same way as a hundred years ago, many Sami and other interested people will throng there. But for those who stay in Umeå, the day will not go unnoticed at Umeå University either.

Besides raising the Sami flags in celebration of the National Day – which happens every year – Culture on Campus also offers a lunch concert in the Teacher Education Building with the band Stuoris ja Bálddonas, which mixes traditional Sami yoik singing with blues.

The University Library also has flags on display near the entrance. And on the façade of the Humanities Building, a banner illustrating the Sami season Gijrradálvvie (spring/winter) will be hung. It is the first of eight banners illustrating the eight seasons and the four Sami language districts in Sweden.

The banners have been designed by Vaartoe, the Centre for Sami Research, together with Sámiid Riikkasearvi, the Swedish Sami Association, and Såhkie, Umeå Sami Association. This makes it possible to see banners all year round indicating the changes in the Sami seasons on the façade of the Humanities Building, and you will also be able to see the spelling of Umeå University in Sami.

Lena Maria Nilsson.
Lena Maria Nilsson. Photo: Ulrika Bergfors

Lena Maria Nilsson, research coordinator at Arcum, Arctic Research Centre at Umeå University, and deputy chairperson of the Umeå Sami Association, is very pleased with the increased visibility for Sami culture at Umeå University.

“Many students and employees at the University probably never consider the meaning of the three reindeers confined in a building in the Umeå University logo. About a hundred years ago, the Campus Umeå fields were winter reindeer grazing land for the reindeer herding community Rans sameby, which means that we are treading on traditional Sami land – and it makes me happy every time this is made notice of,” says Lena Maria Nilsson.

 Read more about the Sami National Day on Wikipedia

Editor: Anna Lawrence