This is a response to this highly ignorant reblog of one of Neeta’s posts. As Neeta has already addressed why this reblog stinks based on its inability to realise that we don’t care about outsiders’ ideas of us as people when we’re discussing the decolonizing of our own internal intra-Saami problems, I will focus on Learn Nordic’s ideas of language instead.
What annoys me in particular about said reblog is, among other things, the following quote;
Why can’t I go out and buy Sami language learning materials in Norwegian, why do I have to prove I’m of Sami ancestry and speak it at home and also live in Norway (and possibly be under twenty, even!) before I can even buy such things? Do they realize just how much they’re ruining themselves by having things set up like this?
First of all, as a white person, you do not have to fucking prove anything to pick up a TY Saami book in Norwegian from a Norwegian book shop and you’re free to enrol in North, South and Lule Saami language courses at colleges and universities throughout Scandinavia for free, so your argument is invalid - what you’re complaining about here is something that is not yours to complain about. This is not us ruining ourselves, this is the Swedish and Norwegian white governments imposing a rule that strips us of our right to study the language in school, when we’re children and we should be given the chance to grow up as native speakers of our oppressed, endangered languages.
As a South Saami I was flat-out denied the right to speak and learn my language in school, not because the Saemie-digkie or fellow Saami denied me the right to do so, but because the government demands that you find at least five other students willing to study your language before they’re willing to even consider funding your studies of the language.
And even then it can take years before they bother making sure that you get to study your language.
This is a question of a white government continuing the extermination of our languages, not a question of the secretive Saami trying to keep their culture to themselves and if you don’t realise this, then kindly keep your mouth shut and refrain from commenting on an issue you know little or nothing about.
You really do not seem to understand the basis of our indigeneity - no, you can’t just compare us to all Native Americans - and your idea that the Saemie-digkie somehow promotes a Saami elite that excludes non-native and native speakers alike from the learning of our languages is ridiculous. I cannot speak for Finland, nor Norway and Russia, but as far as Sweden goes, we have never excluded white, non-Saami people from learning our languages. We have been studied in absurdum by white ethnographers - if you speak French, German or English there is more than enough material out there for you to use to learn our languages. I, personally, have had to buy several old books in German to find anything worthy of using as a start when and if I at some point find the time to learn Ume Saami.
Knowing, however, that the white government oppressed my ancestors to a point where the Ume Saami speaking ones where forced to adopt Swedish to survive and only 29 speakers remain, I have reluctantly come to terms with the fact that I may only get to learn South Saami, the other of my two ancestral Saami languages.
And trust me, the death of my languages have nothing to do with us being reluctant to teach our languages, it has everything to do with a white government promoting the cultural and linguistic extinction of my people.
What the Swedish government has done is making it a point in excluding us, i.e. the Saami, from learning our own languages. My grandfather grew up in a society where he was taught to hate everything about his Saami heritage, to this day he struggles with a huge baggage of self-hatred based on a society where fellow Saami children were forced to attend Swedish speaking residential schools where those who spoke Saami were systematically abused, both physically, mentally and sometimes sexually. Those who spoke Saami, those who dared utter words in their own languages were beaten repeatedly or forced to wash their mouths with soap while the teachers laughed at them. When, after almost a year away from their parents, they got to go home for a short period of time, most of them had lost their languages or rather the will to speak it, meaning that they could no longer communicate with their own families.
This because of colonialism, not because of some snobbery amongst the Saami.
My mother was adopted away for dual reasons, one being the fact that the Swedish government into the sixties promoted the idea of us Saami as less human than white Swedes, meaning that any Saami child could be saved by being adopted away, both from the culture and language. Sure, it backfired as my adoptive grandparents are part Saami, but still.
It’s just ridiculous that you have to first learn Scandinavian (or Finnish, or even Russian), and then MOVE somewhere, in order to start learning Sami properly. And that people who do know something of the language don’t want to freely teach/display it to non-Sami.
No, this is not ridiculous, this is an example of colonialism and those rules were made by our white, Western governments, not by us Saami. We were not the ones who killed our languages, the Scandinavian governments did this on their own. And if you think that our reluctance to share our culture with you is some kind of injustice levied at your poor, white, Western arse, then kindly read the last couple of paragraphs again and think about what you’re saying.
PEOPLE DIDN’T FUCKING DARE PASS ON THEIR LANGUAGES TO THEIR CHILDREN AS THEY FEARED FOR THEIR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH, NOT TO MENTION LIVES AND I HAVE ZERO TIME FOR SOMEONE WHO THINKS IT JUSTIFIED TO BLAME THE DESTRUCTION OF MY PEOPLE ON US SAAMI, RATHER THAN WHITE FUCKING COLONIALISM.
If you want to learn our languages, first learn about why they’re dying, then shut up, take a seat and realise that this isn’t about you.
The reason why no one speaks your language is in part because you’re not helping people see that your language exists, no one’s scanning books in Sami, no one’s drawing stupid comics in Sami or videorecording their friends making a play, no one’s taking what they do have and doing half-hearted translations and spamming everyone with it, stuff like that. Just writing one type of thing in Sami also isn’t enough - because many people don’t speak it fluently, you also need various types of media at various language levels. But if people just took what they already do, like making comics and writing blog posts, and also translated them each time - there would be a lot, lot more out there and it would be easier to find too.
I seriously can’t with your blatant ignorance. We’re doing everything to make sure that people know that our languages exist, we’re offering on-line courses in our languages and our culture through the University of Umeå, Sweden, we’re making videos in our languages both with and without subtitles in English, Swedish or other languages, we are broadcasting news in our languages, and other languages we’re making comics in our languages and if you’re too lazy to look for these things, then fuck you and your sheltered life, don’t blame it on us.
my god the entitled bratness on display from that fool of a person!!! So sorry that you have to deal with these assholes!