Sámi Parliament calls for Finland, holding the presidency of the Council of the EU, to react to the murder of the indigenous leader Emyra Wajãpi and violations of indigenous rights in Brazil

On Friday the 9th of August 2019, the Sámi Parliament of Finland presented its statement concerning the murder of the indigenous leader Emyra Wajãpi and the violations of indigenous rights taking place in Brazil.

For example according to information published on the website of the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs IWGIA, the Wajãpi leader was found killed in the neighbourhood of the village Mariry after approximately fifty gold miners had entered the lands of the indigenous Wajãpi people in the Amapá state in the northern part of Brazil. According to sources in the Internet, the miners pushed into the lands of the Wajãpi people, taking over the village of Mariry so that the inhabitants had to flee to the village Aramirã.

The events in Brazil have evoked extensive international attention, and, for example, Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has published a statement on the incidents. Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, has several times expressed his desire to harness extensive areas, for example of lands that have been traditionally used by indigenous peoples in the Amazon, for the use of various industries. Such measures would especially have negative effects on the indigenous cultures of the region and be violations of the indigenous rights listed in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (see e.g. Article 10 on indigenous lands and territories).

In its statement, the Sámi Parliament also expressed its concern for the impact of the policy pursued by the president and the government of Brazil as concerns global climate. Here, the Sámi Parliament called for Finland to take a stand on the recent events, referring to the values Finland promotes both nationally and internationally in order to restrain climate change and enhance the implementation of human rights.

Further information

Tiina Sanila-Aikio, President of Sámi Parliament tel. +358 50 300 1780, tiina.sanila-aikio(at)samediggi.fi

Laura Olsén-Ljetoff, Secretary of International Affairs tel. +358 10 839 3155, laura.olsen-ljetoff(at)samediggi.fi

Statement regarding the murder of Emyra Wajãpi and violations of rights of indigenous peoples in Brazil

Walt Disney Animation Studios to Create Sámi Language Translation of Frozen 2

Walt Disney Animation Studios Will Soon Begin Casting for the Sámi Language Version of Frozen 2, as a Result of a Collaboration Between WDAS and the Sámi People.

BURBANK, California, & KARASJOK, Norway, KIRUNA, Sweden, INARI, Finland,
19th, 2019

The Sámi language version of the film is a result of a collaboration between the Sámi Parliamentary Council (SPC) and The Saami Council and Walt Disney Animation Studios, wherein filmmakers of Frozen 2 have sought and received consultation with a Sámi working group on elements within the film that are inspired by their visit to the Sámi homelands. More information about the collaboration will be shared later this year.

“For all of our films at Disney Animation, research is crucial to building fantastical yet relatable and believable worlds. At the genesis of creating Frozen 2, our filmmaking team embarked on a research trip to Iceland, Norway and Finland. We were deeply moved by so many of the places we visited and the people we met, including a visit with the Sámi,” said producer Peter Del Vecho.

In a joint statement, the presidents of the Sámi Parliaments and the Saami Council – Aili Keskitalo (Nor), Tuomas Aslak Juuso (Fin), Per-Olof Nutti (Se) and Åsa Larsson-Blind (Council), expressed their enthusiasm.

“We are deeply proud and grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Disney Animation. We are beyond excited that the film, Frozen 2, will be accessible to Sámi children in their own native tongue. It is also very gratifying to be able to share the news now as the UN celebrates the International Year of Indigenous Languages this year,” said the Sámi presidents.

Rick Dempsey, SVP Creative for Disney Character Voices International, and his team will oversee the casting and adaptation of Frozen 2 into the indigenous Northern Sámi language. Disney Animation and Disney Character Voices International most recently engaged with key partners in Tahiti, Hawai‘i and New Zealand to create indigenous Tahitian, Hawaiian and Māori language versions of Moana, respectively.

Walt Disney Animation Studios will begin casting for the Northern Sámi language version of Frozen 2 soon. The Sámi version is planned to be released simultaneously with the other Nordic versions of the movie, in December 2019.



Combining masterful artistry and storytelling with groundbreaking technology, Walt Disney Animation Studios is a filmmaker-driven animation studio responsible for creating some of the most beloved films ever made. Located in Burbank, WDAS continues to build on its rich legacy of innovation and creativity, from the first fully-animated feature film, 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, to 2013’s Academy Award®-winning Frozen, the biggest animated film of all time. Among the studio’s timeless creations are Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Big Hero 6 and Zootopia


More information:







For Frozen 2 imagery, please visit: https://www.image.net/Frozen2



The Sámi Parliaments are the independent and representative bodies elected by and representing the Sámi people living in Norway, Finland and Sweden. They act as institutions of cultural autonomy for the indigenous Sámi people and deal with all matters concerning the Sámi people.

The Sámi Parliamentary Council is a co-operated body for the Sámi Parliaments in Finland, Norway and Sweden and with permanent participants from the Russian Sámi. SPC works by the notion of the Sámi being one people, whose unity is not broken by national borders.

The Saami Council is a non-governmental organization in Finland, Russia, Norway and Sweden that has actively dealt with Sámi policy tasks since it was founded in 1956. Its primary aim is the promotion of Sámi rights and interests.

More information:







Walt Disney Animation Studios
Amy Astley


Sámi Presidents

  • President of the Sámi Parliament in Norway,
    Aili Keskitalo, e-mail: keskitalo@samediggi.no, phone: +47 971 29 305
  • Vice President of the Sámi Parliament in Finland,
    Tuomas Aslak Juuso, e-mail: juuso@samediggi.fi, phone: +358 40 1871 331
  • President of the Sámi Parliament in Sweden,
    Per-Olof Nutti, e-mail: per-olof.nutti@sametinget.se, phone: +46 0980 780 27
  • President of the Saami Council,
    Åsa Larsson Blind, e-mail: asa@saamicouncil.net, phone: +46 70 254 33 56

For other inquires, contact Rune Fjellheim, general director of the Sámi Parliament of Norway and head of the working group established by the Sámi Parliamentary Council and The Saami Council, e-mail: rune.fjellheim@samediggi.no, phone: +47 910 09 320

Sámi Parliament’s Call Center is Closed from 1st of June to 4th of August

Sámi Parliament’s call center is closed form 1st of July to 4th of August.

Sámi Parliament wishes a great summer to everyone!


Contact information of the secretariat

Programme for Ijahis idja -festival is published

The programme for Ijahis idja -indigenous music festival is published. The festival is organized in August in Inari for the 16th time. This year the festival’s theme is Saami languages, inspired by the United Nations’ year of indigenous languages. The festival weekend offers not only concerts, but also a discussion panel, Saami sports competition, Saami handicraft market as well as programme for children and youth.

The event starts on Friday 16.8. with Children’s Ijahis Idja. During the day pre-registered children and youth attend workshops and get to see short Saami films. They also get to show off their own talent in the youth concert Násttážat. Also Wimme Saari, Mihkku Laiti and the indigenous guest artist Aydar Churupov perform in the concert. Churupov comes from Siberia from the region of Altai, and represents the indigenous Telengit people.

The festival’s opening ceremony takes place on Friday at 6 p.m as yoiker Nils-Heikki Paltto and poet Inger-Mari Aikio enter the stage. At the same time the Saami handicraft market opens. After the ceremony Ijahis Idja- arena starts on the outdoor stage. In honour of UN’s year of indigenous languages Finland’s PEN, the writers’ association that promotes freedom of speech arranges a panel discussion Our Golden Language about the meaning of Saami literature to the Saami culture, Saami society and the endangered Saami languages. Pirita Näkkäläjärvi, a board member and the chair of the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee of the Finnish PEN will lead the panel discussion.

The first concert on Ijahis Idja’s main stage on Friday will be by Anna Morottaja, an Inari Saami singer who masters the tradition of livđe. Morottaja launches her debut album in the concert. After her, Niko Valkeapää, who also has recently launched a new album will perform with his band. Next in line is perhaps the most well known and popular Saami artist of them all, singer Mari Boine from Norway. Like Valkeapää, also Boine has recently launched new music. Friday’s last concert will be the up-beat DJ-collective Article 3, which plays music from Saami artists as well as other indigenous artists.

On Saturday 17.8. the programme starts with a concert at Saami museum Siida’s outdoor museum, in Tirro farmhouse. The intimate concert features yoiker Wimme Saari. The tickets for the concert are sold in Siida on the week of the event.

The festival area opens at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Saami handicraft market continues in the area. Traditionally Ijahis Idja- festival has offered a possibility to attend an indoor concert in the auditorium of Saami cultural center Sajos early on Saturday evening, and this year makes no exception. Festival’s theme concert I would like to combines together poetry, songs, yoiks and music in a fascinating way. Niko Valkeapää, Ánná Káisá Partapuoli, Øystein Nilsen and Inger-Mari Aikio will take the stage in the concert.

Máttut- concert opens the programme of the main outdoor stage on Saturday. In the concert Anna-Reetta Niemelä, Matias Niemelä, Petra Biret Magga-Vars and Anna Näkkäläjärvi-Länsman yoik the yoiks of Jávrrešduottar. Janne Lappalainen accompanies them with string instruments and percussions. Saturday’s programme also includes concerts from yoiker Øystein Nilsen, indigenous guest artist Aydar Churupov, Ume Saami singer Katarina Barruk and her band, electronic pop group ISÁK and the legendary folk rock group Sančuari on Ijahis Idja’s main stage outdoors. All of the above perform in Ijahis Idja now for the first time. Along the concerts is also a sports competition. The sport will be lassoo throwing, which requires accuracy and speed. The competition takes place in the yard of Sajos.

Ijahis idja 16.–17.8.2019 in Inari. Advance ticket sale starts on 5.7.2019.

Ijahis idja is arrenged by Anára Sámisearvi ry, the Finnish Saami Parliament, Saamelaisalueen koulutuskeskus, Saami museum Siida, the municipality of Inari and Yle Sápmi. Festival is in co-operation with Hotel Kultahovi, Wilderness Hotel Inari and Hotel Inari.

Contact Information:

Oula Guttorm
+358 40 667 4545


Sámi Parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland arrange a joint language seminar for interpreters, translators and other language workers

The Sámi Parliaments jointly arrange 9–10 October 2019 a language seminar especially for those who work with Sámi languages: for translators, interpreters and other language workers. The seminar is arranged through the cooperation of the Sámi Parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland and the competence and resource centre Sámi Giellagáldu. For the Sámi Parliaments, the seminar is a way of noting indigenous languages in accordance with the UN Year of Indigenous Languages.

The purpose of the event, arranged by the three Sámi Parliaments, is to enhance the professional skills of language workers, to offer the opportunity to discuss linguistic issues more broadly, and to learn more about the questions, the possibilities and the challenges interpreters, translators and language workers face and have in their work. The seminar also offers the participants the opportunity to network and create possibilities for cooperation among those working with languages; thus, it strengthens cross-border cooperation in the field of languages.

The Sámi Parliaments welcome all those working with languages to the Language Seminar in Inari 9–10 October 2019!

The programme and the other information concerning the seminar will be published later.

Information on registration for the seminar will be available in early autumn 2019.

Further information:

Anne Kirste Aikio, anne-kirste.aikio(at)samediggi.fi, telephone: +358 40 7075626

Mikkel Rasmus Logje, mikkel.rasmus.logje(at)samediggi.no, telephone: +47 412 65 375

Marie Louise Allas, marie.louise.allas(at)sametinget.se, telephone: +46 70 367 46 82



The Sámi Parliament’s Secretariat is Closed 15.5.2019

The Sámi Parliament’s Secretariat is Closed 15.5.2019.

II Vice President Juuso Attends the Arctic Council Meeting in Rovaniemi

Tuomas Aslak Juuso, the II Vice President of the Sámi Parliament in Finland, participates in the Arctic Council Meeting in Rovaniemi on May 6th and 7th, 2019.  Finland’s two-year Chairmanship of the Arctic Council will end at the Foreign Ministerial Meeting that is held in Rovaniemi on May 7th.

Along with the Arctic States, the Arctic Council’s Permanent Participants will be attending the meeting. Council’s six indigenous Permanent Participants are the Aleut International Association (AIA), Arctic Athabaskan Council (AAC), Gwich’in Council International (GCI), Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) and Saami Council (SC).

“Arctic Council is a good example how regional as well as cross border co-operation can be exercised together with people from the region”, says Tuomas Aslak Juuso, the II Vice President of the Sámi Parliament in Finland.

“I would like to congratulate the Arctic Council, under the Finnish Chairmanship, on a good co-operation with indigenous peoples, focusing on climate change and meteorological co-operation joined with traditional knowledge. I hope that Arctic Council continues to be one of the leading actors on the climate change mitigation. We, the indigenous peoples, that live on the frontlines of the effects of climate change, see the importance of focusing on the mitigation of climate change.”

Finland’s two-year Chairmanship Program focused on the mitigation of climate change and the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Arctic regions. The priorities of the Finnish Chairmanship have included strengthening of the meteorological cooperation; environmental protection, including reduction of black carbon emissions; knowledge and education; and regional cooperation. Read more from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland’s news: Finland’s Arctic Council Chairmanship comes to an end in Rovaniemi.


More information:

Tuomas Aslak Juuso, the II Vice President of the Sámi Parliament in Finland, tel. +358 40 187 1331, tuomas.juuso(at)samediggi.fi

Picture: Ville-Riiko Fofonoff


More tools to prevent suicides among the Sámi – political will, awareness and knowledge is needed

There are more means than before to prevent suicides among the Sámi living in Finland, Sweden and Norway.  Taking those means into use requires more funding, skilful helpers and knowledge about the factors behind the increased suicide risk among the Sámi. All these require greater political will.

Cooperation within the Sámi Council has produced a plan on the prevention of suicides among the Sámi living in the Nordic countries. The plan concentrates on the big challenges that the Sámi meet in the Nordic welfare states as they are affected by cultural and identity-related pressures.  The plan supports national suicide prevention work in all three Nordic countries.

– We have now a co-Nordic strategic plan on preventing suicides among the Sámi. At this point, we must quickly start the practical work and meet the persons who have suicidal thoughts. There are already good tools and practices for this work but they need to be spread more widely. For example in Northern Lapland, they have gained good experiences from the Canadian ASIST training that focuses on preventing suicides.  The ASIST method was used in suicide prevention training in Northern Lapland in 2017-2018. The training was part of a key project called ‘Good practices into permanent use’, says Pirkko Mattila, Minister of Social Affairs and Health.

More information needed of factors behind suicides

According to local estimates, the number of suicides among the Sámi is significant in relation to Sámi population in Finland, Sweden and Norway. It is difficult to find statistical information because it is illegal to keep statistics on ethnic background in the Nordic Countries. Sámi communities assess that young and middle-aged men are the biggest risk groups. Among these groups, very few people use healthcare and social welfare services to search for help in time. For this reason, one focal area of the suicide prevention plan is to support men’s wellbeing.

For suicide prevention, it is essential that the Sámi have equal access to healthcare and mental health services.

The objective of the suicide prevention plan is to support the right of the Sámi to self-determination and to ensure that the Sámi have real opportunities to influence decision-making concerning themselves. The plan also supports the cultural identity of the Sámi, their possibilities to pursue traditional Sámi livelihoods and the right to use their own language.

The stakeholders who participated in drawing up the plan consider it important that all different risk factors are taken into account in the suicide prevention work. More research results are also needed regarding the risk factors. One problem is that so far there has been little discussion on the trauma caused when trying to assimilate the Sámi into the majority population. Similarly, too little attention has been paid to experiences of sexual and other violence and to the reasons that led to violence.

The basic principles of the suicide prevention plan include reducing ethnic discrimination against the Sámi and promoting acceptance of diversity. This applies, for example, to sexual minorities among which the suicide risk is exceptionally high.

The plan also emphasises that the Sámi need more Sámi people to help in preventing suicides. The aim is to support the Sámi to work for suicide prevention both on the grass-root level and in official Sámi institutions and organisations.

As there are Sámi people living in four countries (in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia), the work for suicide prevention needs to be carried out across national borders. Resources are limited and therefore it is necessary to ensure that also the best practices will cross the borders. The cooperation is necessary in all areas: education, services and keeping of statistics.

In a small community, suicide is always a major issue

– We need more courage to talk about suicidal thoughts. This requires training and expertise. It is important to be able to talk about suicidal thoughts and people should not be afraid of the issue. If there are suicidal thoughts, they can be discussed, says M.D. Heidi Eriksen from Utsjoki.

According to Eriksen, the suicide risks among the Sámi have unfortunately been addressed late in Finland although it has been known that suicides are more common even among the whole population than in other Nordic countries.

– There are significant differences between big cities and small communities. A suicide in a small community is a huge issue and affects the whole community. The suicide may also give a model for other persons having self-destructive thoughts. Suicides among members of the same family within a short period of time are regrettably common in small communities, tells Eriksen.

Lars Jacobsson, Professor at Umeå University, wants to get more qualitative information about the factors behind suicides. He emphasises that the reasons for suicides vary: it can be a personal escape from depression, political protest or meant to punish for something. Research should focus on studying what is the most important motive to a person’s suicide. This would help to address the reasons for the person’s feelings that make him or her think about a suicide, plan it and maybe even carry it out.

– We need to find out what kind of thoughts people have when they are thinking about suicide. Thoughts are common and not dangerous but planning suicide is dangerous. A suicide prevention plan is not enough if we do not make concrete agreements on who is responsible for each measure and action. There needs to be a responsible party who carries out the work in practice, reminds Jacobsson.

In addition, it is necessary to have political will and to encourage the political decision-makers. Researcher Ann Silviken from Norway summarises very well the panel discussion at the seminar:

– Suicide prevention is the responsibility of each one of us.

An international seminar was held on 30 January – 1 February 2019 in Inari/Aanaar about the implementation of suicide prevention activities in the circumpolar area. The seminar focused on supporting mental health of indigenous people and preventing their suicides. At the seminar, experts and researchers from various countries as well as representatives of indigenous communities exchanged their experiences of suicide prevention work and its results. The seminar was one of the events of Finland’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council 2017-2019.

The article is originally published by Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 31.1.2019:

Further information about the suicide prevention work of the Arctic Council:

UN Human Rights Committee: The decisions of the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland on the electoral roll of the Sámi Parliament’s election in 2015 were a violation of human rights

The UN Human Rights Committee, which monitors the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ratified by Finland, published on 1 February 2019 two views on the communications submitted to it concerning decisions made by the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland on the Sámi Parliament’s election in 2015. One of the claims was submitted by President of the Sámi Parliament Tiina Sanila-Aikio, as authorized by its Executive Board.

The case dealt with the matter of admitting persons into the electoral roll of the Sámi Parliament pursuant to decisions made by the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland (KHO) on 30 September 2015.

Sanila-Aikio considers the Committee’s view a good one. “Of course, it means that the UN Human Rights Committee confirms, through its authority, what we have been saying all the time. The Supreme Administrative Court should not have departed from the formulation of the Sámi Parliament Act and replaced the Sámi people’s right to self-determination by its own ‘overall consideration’, ignoring the thorough work done by the Sámi Parliament’s Election Committee on the individual assessment of each application. We now need to discuss whether to submit an annulment application to the Supreme Administrative Court in order to restore a lawful state as regards the issue.”

In its view, the Human Rights Committee finds that the decisions made by the Supreme Administrative Court through which 93 persons were entered in the Sámi Parliament’s electoral roll against the stand of the Sámi Parliament’s Election Committee and Executive Board violated article 25 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights both alone and in conjunction with article 27 as interpreted in light of article 1. Of these articles, article 25 deals with the right of individuals to political participation, article 27 with the rights of minorities, and article 1 with the right of peoples to self-determination.

The Human Rights Committee finds that, ever since 2011, the Finnish Supreme Administrative Court has departed from both the formulation of the Sámi Parliament Act’s section 3 and the consensual interpretation of the section by applying its own “overall consideration” instead of the objective criteria required by the Act. The individual assessment of whom to enter in the electoral roll undertaken by the Sámi Parliament’s Election Committee had specifically been based on the criteria provided by law, leading to the decision of not including 93 persons in the roll.

Through its view, the Human Rights Committee has supported the view of the Sámi Parliament’s Election Committee and Executive Board, finding that the interpretation of the Supreme Administrative Court departed from the Act and was not based on reasonable and objective criteria.

In accordance with article 2(3) of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a State party is under an obligation to provide effective remedy for human rights violations when they have been found to have occurred. In its decision, the Committee finds that this entails “ensuring full reparation”. This may require that the Supreme Administrative Court annul its own decisions. The Human Rights Committee separately states that Finland is obliged to review section 3 of the Sámi Parliament Act with a view to ensuring that the criteria for eligibility to vote in the Sámi Parliament’s elections are defined and applied in practice in a manner that respects the right of the Sámi people to exercise their internal self-determination. Finland is also under an obligation to take all steps necessary to prevent similar violations in the future.

The decision of the Human Rights Committee also includes a complementary opinion by one of the members, which comes to the same conclusion as the entire Committee but contains additional grounds.

Finland must, within six months, report to the Committee on the measures taken to give effect to the Committee’s views.

The decision is available on the website of the Human Rights Committee at: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/FIN/CCPR_C_124_D_2668_2015_28169_E.pdf

The news release of 1 Feb. 2019 of the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (in Finnish): https://um.fi/ajankohtaista/-/asset_publisher/gc654PySnjTX/content/yk-n-ihmisoikeuskomitealta-kaksi-ratkaisua-saamelaiskarajien-vaaliluetteloon-hyvaksymista-koskevassa-asiassa?p_p_auth=cifAZqe8&curAsset=0&stId=44227


Further information

Tiina Sanila-Aikio, President of Sámi Parliament in Finland, tel. +358 50 300 1780, tiina.sanila-aikio(at)samediggi.fi

Ministry of Education and Culture publications: Needs of the Sámi people for intellectual property protection from the viewpoint of copyright and trademarks

Ministry of Education and Culture, publications (11.12.2018): Needs of the Sámi people for intellectual property protection from the viewpoint of copyright and trademarks – especially with regard to duodji-handicrafts and the Sámi dresses.

The right of indigenous peoples to their own culture has been a topic of international discourse for numerous years. The issue applies to the actual possibility to maintain and develop their cultural heritage as well as to the exclusive right to determine how and who can use traditional cultural expressions.

A legal conflict concerning cultural rights can emerge, for example, when a third party uses traditional cultural expressions in a manner that offends the community’s internal rules or experience. Unpermitted use can dilute the semantic content of cultural expressions as well as their appeal and authenticity, i.e. intellectual capital, and can, thus, also prevent the implementation of human and fundamental rights related to culture.

This study aims, for its part, to map out the middle ground that falls between these collective needs and existing legal instruments. In particular, an effort has been made to examine to which extent intellectual property systems, in particular copyrights and trademarks are already used or could be used to protect the Sámi traditional culture, and, on the other hand, the extent to which the current system does not recognise the needs and special characteristics that the protection of the cultural heritage of indigenous peoples requires.

The study aims to provide information both to IP specialists on the issue of traditional cultural expressions and to indigenous peoples and local communities on intellectual property matters.