Language Language Language Language
Greetings from Lappland

Greetings from Lappland (excerpt)

by Nils-Aslak Valkeapää (1971)

Greetings from Lappland. The Sami – Europe’s Forgotten People (1984, pp. 127–128, Zed Books)

(...) But to my great joy, I have discovered that Sami youth – those who haven't been too greatly Swedecized, of Finnicized, or Norwegianized – have radically changed their course. Amongst the young, all that is Sami is highly regarded. It is evident that knowledge has been of use to the young.

Then there are others who tend to just stand and yawn. At the same time, the young have learned to use the same weapons which the majority society has used. I have a feeling that they wouldn't hesitate to employ a stronger language, as they have learnt to do from the majority. After hundreds of years of talk and promises, who knows… The Nordic lands are trying for a peaceful victory over the Samis, by forgetting promises, and not doing anything at all. Time and education will see to it that there are no Samis left in the future. The radio and TV especially draw the world in to the Samis in their nooks, not to mention the 'yeah yeah' which jangles from all the jukeboxes and supplants the 'la la'.

These highly-developed states practise their genocide by forgetting the promises of earlier times, and washing their hands. Maybe it's not done to speak of murder; what can you do about the fact that a primitive people becomes civilized and learns to live like other people?

But as this is being written, the sun is shining over Beaddet, spring is approaching, in my breast the blue-throat is twittering again, in the belief in sun and light and the spire of life.

A people which doesn't believe it is a people, is not a people.

This may come unexpectedly, but I feel a little wistful now that I take my leave of you. So I'll just wish you peace in your souls, and good health. Thanks for the company.