May 3, 2023
Experiencing Environmental Change through Walking and Talking
Sápmi is the homeland of the Sámi people, the only people recognized in Europe as Indigenous. Sápmi spreads over the North of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola peninsula of Russia. ‘Green colonialism’ is triggered by the international race for non-renewable resources and renewable energy to realise ‘green transition’. This is a contemporary and major threat to the cultural, social and economic integrity of Sámi people and their ability to conduct reindeer herding, fishing, hunting, and harvesting. These ways of being on the land and the waters are the foundations of cultural identity, and subsequently the basis for wellbeing. Moreover, green colonialism painfully reminds us of past colonial threats, including violent assimilation politics of the dominating states. Sámi communities, institutions and individuals of all ages and walks of life have successfully built a strong voice, opposition and Indigenous movements over the past decades. Also, non-Indigenous allyship is prevailing, including critique on the neglect and obvious resistance of the nation states to thoroughly deal with the manifold colonial impacts on the Sámi, but also on a collective sense for an integrated and equity based diverse society in these nations.
This event reflects on questions of Indigenous and non-Indigenous solidarity, but also on potential pit-falls of ‘allyship’ by possibly creating an ethnical Other and thus, dissimilation which might lead again to hierarchies and valuations, as well known from the past.
The Climate Walk is a research, education and media-arts project. It’s about walking across Europe – including Sápmi – to collect data on local experiences of living in environments impacted by Climate Change as a biophysical phenomenon and Changing Social Climates reflected in local stories, representations and practices. The Climate Walk’s wayfarers listen to stories of conflict, action, struggle, hope and people‘s dreams. The wanderers and local people meet and may learn from each other to adapt and overcome the challenges posed by changing environments. Climate Walk is about relaying and connecting these stories, bringing people together and amplifying voices to form bonds of cooperation and solidarity.
The speakers from Sápmi and Austria met during the climate walk in 2022 in the Sámi homeland and will converse about allyship and solidarity, joint experiences and reflect on ‘what’ happened during time until meeting again now in the homeland of the Climate Walkers.
This is a joint event organised by the following speakers
- Ellen Marie Jensen (Sámi Allaskuvla/Sámi University of Applied Sciences in Kautokeino, Norwegian Sápmi)
- Roger K. Olsson, reindeer herder and entrepreneur (Lainiovuoma Sámi Village, Marakatt Siida, Swedish Sápmi)
- Anna Schreinlechner (Climate Walk)
- Markus Lerchbaum (Climate Walk)
- Gertrude Saxinger (CeSCoS Centre for the Study of Contemporary Solidarity at the Department of Political Science/Uni Vienna & APRI Austrian Polar Research Institute & CO-CREATE Network)
Picture credits: Einar Storsul/Pixabay