Unique collaboration gives impacts to Sápmi

The Sámi Parliaments and the Saami Council have gained valuable experience in their collaboration with Walt Disney Animation Studios.   

“We are one people across state boarders, but on a daily basis we rarely work with the overall Sámi perspective as clearly as we have done in this work. It has been exciting to take on a challenge about our collective property right from an overall Sámi angle.” – say the Presidents of the Sámi Parliaments Tiina Sanila-Aikio (FI), Aili Keskitalo (NO), Per-Olof Nutti (SE) and the President of the Saami Council Åsa Larsson-Blind.

Respect and Recognition

In July 2019, the Sámi Parliaments and the Saami Council announced that a Northern Sámi version of Frozen 2 would be created as a result of the collaboration between Sápmi and Walt Disney Animation Studios.  For the Sámi Parliaments and the Saami Council it has been important to ensure that the Sámi culture, that has inspired the filmmakers behind Frozen 2, is treated with respect and recognition.

Therefore, a separate Sámi expert group was put together to assist filmmakers in navigating Sámi culture, history, rights and society during the filmmaking process. The Sámi working group was named “Verddet”.

“We are so proud of our Verddet which have contributed professional knowledge and their unique experiences to this work” – state the Sámi Presidents.

The Verddet group consisted of Káren Ánne Buljo, Veli-Pekka Lehtola, Cecilia Persson, Piia Nuorgam, Christina Hætta, and Ánne Lájlá Utsi.

Unique Opportunities

In the agreement between the Sámi people and Walt Disney Animation Studios there are also other positive outcomes for the Sámi community, including the establishment of professional exchanges and competence building. All such contributions will benefit the Sámi community.

“In this process we have had to identify what is valuable to our society as a whole, among other things, we consider competence enhancing measures and potential collaboration opportunities for Sámi cultural workers as an important contribution for all of Sápmi.  We look forward to sharing more details about this as opportunities are announced” – state the Presidents.

Attached are the signed agreement and a biography of the members of the Verddet.

Press images can be found on our Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/samediggi/

The Sámi delegation met with Frozen 2 producer Peter Del Vecho and his team from Walt Disney Animation Studios during his press tour in Oslo on September 22 and 23, 2019.  The parties took the opportunity to sign a ceremonial public version of the agreement.  Photo: Lars Opstad / Sámediggi & Sámeráđđi.

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

The First New Illustrations of the Ethical Guidelines of Sámi Tourism Have Been Released

Young Sámi comic artist, Sunna Kitti, illustrates Principles for Responsible and Ethically Sustainable Sámi Tourism -guidelines. All the new illustrations are now ready and waiting to be published. New material is primarily meant to be used as study material for students in the field of tourism studies and for various sectors and actors in tourism industry and as well as for the tourists arriving to the Sámi Homeland in Finland

By combining illustrations with the text of the ethical guidelines, the Sámi Parliament in Finland wants to raise larger public awareness of the challenges of Sámi tourism. ‘We hope that the visual information clarifies the message of the guidelines and, thus, eases their internalisation and implementation.’ says the project co-ordinator Kirsi Suomi.

First illustrations are now released. The Future We Want -illustration is based on the vision in the ethical guidelines. Following the vision, the traditional livelihoods of the Sámi are viable and profitable. Modern livelihoods such as responsible and ethically sustainable tourism based on Sámi culture support the profitability of traditional livelihoods and promote employment locally.

According to the vision, there will be a Sámi tourism information centre distributing accurate information on the Sámi and Sámi culture to visitors and various interest groups in tourism industry. Furthermore, the centre has information about the responsibly and ethically sustainably operating Sámi tourism entrepreneurs. In the good vision, the everyday lives and festivities of the Sámi community as well as the land use in Sámi Homeland have also been successfully co-ordinated with the needs of tourism while primarily securing and respecting the rights of the Sámi and their culture.

The Future We Want. Illustration: Sunna Kitti

The opposite of the good vision is The Future We Do Not Want. In this illustration, the vision in the ethical guidelines has not taken place. The uncontrolled and constantly increasing numbers of visitors arriving to the Sámi Homeland have caused increasing amounts of challenges that have not been manageable or solved. The traditional livelihoods of the Sámi have been forced to retreat due to tourism. The safeguarding of the cultural practices and traditions of the Sámi not involved in tourism have failed. Instead, the everyday lives and festivities of local communities have ended up as tourist attractions against the wishes of the local people.

The Future We Do Not Want. Illustration: Sunna Kitti.

‘I hope my illustrations have impact on the way in which tourism industry and tourists react to and treat the Sámi and Sámi culture. Tourism based on incorrect and outdated conception of the Sámi reduces the already-limited space where Sámi can freely practice their own culture without being disturbed. I am worried that the villages [in the north] will become inhabitable for the locals’, says the comic artist Sunna Kitti when explaining why she decided to participate in the project by illustrating the ethical guidelines for Sámi tourism.

On September 24th in 2018, the Plenum of the Sámi Parliament in Finland accepted Principles for Responsible and Ethically Sustainable Sámi Tourism. The main aim of these ethical guidelines is to terminate tourism exploiting Sámi culture as well as erase false information and misrepresentations regarding the Sámi and Sámi culture spreading through tourism. The second aim is to safeguard the cultural practices and traditions of the Sámi not connected to tourism industry. The project has been financed by the Ministry of Education and Culture.

More information:

Co-ordinator Kirsi Suomi, Culturally Responsible Sámi Tourism, 010 839 3118, kirsi.suomi(at)samediggi.fi

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: