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Dávgi Sámenuoraid Ráddi * Dávgi Sámi Youth Council
The Sámenuoraid Konfereansa (Sámi Youth Conference) was held in Ohcejohka, Finnish side of Sápmi, on August 24th 26th, 2001. Young Sámi people gathered from Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia to discuss the problems and possibilities common to Sámi youth.
We suggest to the states that our demands will be taken into consideration, as the continuing work for acceptance of the Sámi people. Below follows the demands that Sámi youth deem important.
Our ancestors have been taking care of our earth so we also have the possibility to walk on it now. In doing so, they have continuously been facing pressure and threats, which do not seem to end. It does not seem that there is going to be equality between Sámi people and the majority people in the near future. Colonisation is still continuing.
Each year the states that rule our countries take one more piece of the land that is ours. This is undermining our culture and livelihoods because the land is one of the main bases of our culture. The states continue their activities, such as logging and mining in the Sámi Country, restricting the traditional use of land. The situation today is that we, the young reindeer herders, have no chance of protecting our land against infringement. The problems we have with the land rights are causing young people to see no future in the traditional livelihoods, such as reindeer herding, fishing and trapping.
Young Sámi people of today and tomorrow must be allowed to live and work within the traditional areas of Sámi culture without the threats from modern society and facing the risks of exploitation.
The designing and publishing of new maps with indications of all biological species is essential in protecting the interests of reindeer herding. A system for developing satellite images already exists in Sweden and Norway, where it is used by the local reindeer herders when dealing with the authorities concerning infringements. It is important to include all land used by reindeer herders in this process. We therefore recommend that the authorities take proper measures to ensure that this process is developed on all reindeer pasturelands.
A very large problem today for the Sámi people is that the governmental system for granting visas are hindering cooperation between a people who have never had any borders when working with their traditional way of life. The cooperation between young Sámi youth should not be impeded by the time it takes for the corresponding authorities to attend to each separate visa application.
The costs for issuing visas have also placed a lid on the possibilities for international work. Young Sámi people often have to work with a tight budget, thus making it very difficult to stay in close contact and enable cross-border cooperation. We recommend that the demands for visas be removed concerning the Sámi people. Until that, the states should see that multivisas be granted free of charge to the Sámi people so that we in the future can develop and nourish our culture even though we are separated by national borders.
BOMBING OF THE SÁMI AREA
In Norway the Sámi people continuously feel the pressure from the Norwegian government against their culture and livelihood, examples being the Norwegian armies actions in the Halkavarre and Mauken/Blĺtind reindeer husbandry areas. They are not only threatening our culture and livelihood but also breaking with both Norwegian and international constitutions and conventions. Such as the Constitution of Norway § 110A and ILO Convention number 169 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Dávgi demands immediate cease in the bombing of Sámi area, which is causing destruction of Sámi livelihood and culture
BROADCASTING IN THE SÁMI LANGUAGE IN FINLAND
We wish to remind of the importance of media, including television, to society. Sámi youth should be able to see the features of their own culture in the media in order to feel proud of their own roots. Media researchers agree that minority and indigenous children and adolescents are especially vulnerable because media hardly presents positive and familiar images of their culture.
The Sámi youth are concerned about the slow process of starting the Sámi television news in Finland. At the same time we also wish to congratulate the broadcasting companies of Norway and Sweden in starting regular Sámi news broadcasts on television. It has been a major contribution towards the survival and development of the Sámi language. We wish to remind that Finland has ratified several international and European conventions, which include provisions concerning the promotion and protection of Sámi language and culture including media rights. We demand that the Finnish Broadcasting Company accelerate the progress of starting television news in Finland. We also wish to point out that we cannot accept that the news be shown any other than real time.
We would also like to point out that Sweden and Norway are taking into consideration the needs of Sámi children. The Norwegian Broadcasting Company has been displaying Sámi childrens programmes on television for already ten years. The broadcasting companies in Norway and Sweden have for several years cooperated in the production of Sámi childrens programmes. Sámi youth from this conference demand that Finnish Broadcasting Company buy the full production of Sámi children programmes and make this service regular.
EDUCATION IN SÁMI LANGUAGE IN RUSSIA
Participants of the Sámi Youth Conference request that the Ministery of Education and Ministery of Culture of Russia, work out and implement measures, aimed for deeper and more widespread education in the Sámi language in teaching institutions within the territory of Russia, which has a Russian Sámi population.
The aims of these measures are:
- to enlarge the number of lessons in these educational institutions, where the Sámi language is already being taught,
- to enlarge the number of educational centres for people who wish to learn Sámi language
- to encourage the Russian-speaking population to engage in learning the language of the people whose historical territory they are living on,
- to ensure that this education would be free of charge to anybody who wishes to study, independent of age, sex and social position.
The youth of today and tomorrow must be able to grow up in a lively and secure Sámi community without fear of losing their right to live as Sámi.
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