— Day of Sorrow, May 13 —

The 1917 Sámi Congress and then also the 1918 Sámi Congress in Staare were organized by those who could imagine that the development that was underway through the creation of European parliamentarism could be harmful. Elsa Laula’s pamphlet ”Before Life or Death?” is said to have been read out in Svearnas Riksdag in 1918. In retrospect, it seems that it has only irritated the Swedish patriarchy. It can be stated that despite the obvious and visible successes of these two different Congresses, they could not influence the patriarchal forces that ruled at that time in Swedish Parliament.

On October 19, 1917, the government of Liberal Democrat Eden entered office.                              In 1919, this government agreed with Norway about the second reindeer husbandry convention which involved the dislocation of Northern Sámi-speaking Sámi families.                 With brutal coercion, these families were displaced with more than 20,000 of their reindeers. This is across the natural pasture boundaries of the reindeer herds and also across the Sámi nation’s language areas.

In the Eden government sat six Social Democratic ministers, one of whom was Social Democrat Hjalmar Branting. In connection with the establishment of equal and universal suffrage for the election to the Swedes’ parliament, where Swedish women were finally allowed to vote on equal terms, and partly in connection with the participation of social democrats in government formation, it can be considered that Swedish parliamentarism had been founded.

Unfortunately, Hjalmar Branting signed the motion for the establishment of the Swedish State Biological Institute. On Friday, May 13, 1921, the Swedish Parliament decided to establish this institute and all five parliamentary parties were for this. In addition, Hjalmar Branting was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize the same year and took up his second more long-standing government as prime minister on October 13, 1921.

So what the two cross-border Sámi Congress strived to achieve & prevent during the ongoing world war, became largely a failure. In addition to the above-mentioned parliamentary inaccuracies, one must add the legislature’s decision to adopt the reindeer herding law in 1928. Tor L Tuorda’s detailed account of the injustices & troublesome Sámi experiences of this law is clearly stated in his article ”Consequences of the Renbetes Act 1928” published October 25, 2017 on kvikkjokk.nu. One can rightly assume that the most known person of the organizers of the first Sámi Congress, Elsa Laula, experienced the same exclusion and invisibility. [1]

In an interview from the Nordland newspaper on August 13, 1929, Elsa says a little bitterly: “Three times I have been to the Royal Palace in Stockholm and spoken for the cause. – – – I have also tried to organize the Sámi into a people, she continues. But it’s not possible. They want to live for themselves in their world. ” [2]

Curt Persson’s statement in Sweden’s Television on February 16, 2020 reinforces the picture from the researcher’s point of view: Fil dr Curt Persson has researched a lot about the consequences of race biology and he states that at that time there was a political agreement to introduce the institute that became the first in the world.

“All parties were in favour. No one can deny that. There is no political party that stands out and is opposing the proposal. It was even the case that four people who were prime ministers during this period for various parties supported the proposal and the decision, he says. [1]

The headline of another article in Sweden’s Radio with the same researcher on January 27, 2020 is even clearer: ”The historian: Swedish race biologists inspired the Nazis”. [2]

And even today, the Swedish Parliament has not acted so that their decisions in past times can be forgiven by those affected and their children or grand children. Legitimate representatives of the Sámi nation on the Swedish side of Sápmi held a plenary meeting in Ubmeje on February 18-20. There, one could unite & adopt a statement regarding experiences following the Supreme Court  verdict regarding Girjás Sámi community case.      The following quoted paragraph was at the end of the statement:

“The Sami Parliament also notes that gross racism has been directed at Sámi since the verdict was announced. The Sámi parliament expects all Swedish institutions to distance themselves from racism and to actively counteract it. It is our opinion that the racism against the Sámi people is based on how the Swedish state avoided dealing with Sámi issues in the present, together with the Swedish school’s failure in children’s historical education regarding Sámi, as well as the Swedish state’s abuse of the Sámi people and culture. . It cannot be allowed to continue and we expect change ” [3]

It is no longer credible or trueworthy that the Prime Minister’s Office makes the Sami people invisible and dismisses our legitimate demands for justice and equality, by constantly absent from plenary meetings organized by the Sámi Parliament. We Sámi are thus not a worthy part of creating a lasting solution together with the leading representatives of the Swedish government. How can there even be considered a reconciliation when the head of the country’s government acts against such a development? And European parliamentarianism is thus, by its own actions, as credible today as it was 100 years ago.

In Sápmi it is we who we are the people!


[1]  https://kvikkjokk.nu/konsekvenser-av-renbeteslagen-1928/

[2] https://www.svt.se/nyheter/lokalt/norrbotten/alla-partierna-var-for-rasbiologi?cmpid=del%3Afb%3A20200215%3Aalla-partierna-var-for-rasbiologi%3Anyh%3Alp&fbclid=IwAR3lKZIwTMbABBAAAZEQxlTbwLvHSw4dbEW8IcQDXJfBj73q5f4aRIR8Blw

[3]  https://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=98&artikel=7393694

[4] https://www.samediggi.se/143548

[5] https://www.sametinget.se/111849