PUBLIC TALK: The Last Indigenous People of Europe, but for how long?
A public lecture by Steven G.M. Schilizzi, Professor of Environmental and Agricultural Economics, Faculty of Science, UWA
Sápmi, or Lapland, sits at the extreme north of Scandinavia, mostly above the Arctic Circle, and straddles four countries. Its people, the Sami (formerly the Lapps), have inhabited this land for several millennia. Yet today, their future as a people is threatened. Yes, there has been a revival of their sense of identity, of their culture and their customs; but paradoxically, unlike the past, the present danger comes perhaps more from within than from without. The new “black gold rush” in the Barents Sea is creating as many threats as opportunities, while economic and environmental pressures, with government policies, are undermining the very foundations of their culture and of their social norms.
In this talk, Steven will share, with pictures and videos, his experience in Sápmi where he spent part of the winter 2019. He was lucky enough to stay with actively engaged Sami people, in their homes in Kautokeino and Karasjok, their two main townships. He learnt first-hand about their current situation; their collective and personal histories; their treatment by their respective governments (with parallels to indigenous Australians); the status of their languages; and, given the threats and opportunities created by the new “black gold rush” in the Barents Sea, the challenges facing their cultural survival in the 21st century.
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