SDÁ 1-2010: Irja Seurujärvi-Kari

«Nubbi» sápmelašvuođas – ođđalágan identitehtat

Irja Seurujärvi-Kari (Helssega universitehta)

Viečča artihkkala dás (pdf).

«Otherness» in Saminess – new identities

In this article I discuss how urban Sami people perceive their lives, relationships and positions and how they negotiate the new social, cultural and political situations they experience in urban areas. The aim of this article is to contribute to the discussion on the theory of ethnicity and identity politics. I examine the power structures that urban Sami confront daily and the positions they themselves adopt. I focus on the Sami people who live in the capitals of three states, Finland, Norway and Sweden. They have migrated from Sápmi to cities in different times for different reasons and formed their Sami organizations in the diaspora.

My study shows that Sami people have become part of dynamic urban life. The urban Sami organizations, which are no longer marginal, can function as their imagined homes, where they strengthen their cultural traditions and contacts with other Sami people but also with other people. Urban Sami actively redefine and renew the imagined cultural boundaries between the Sami communities and those in the urban areas, for example through the use of new artistic methods or new technologies. In human networks, urban Sami have created and produced new subject positions and social identities. They can be called as johtti maŋŋemodernat, postmodern nomads.

Sami migrations and recent global changes have contributed to breaking down the boundaries between the urban areas and Sápmi established by the dominant population but also by the Sami themselves. This has caused a new image of Sami people to appear in the city, not only for the dominant society but also for the Sami native community.