IdeaFest: Interdisciplinary Journal of Creative Works and Research from Cal Poly Humboldt


The Indigenous people of Europe known as the Sami, (also spelled Saami) many of whom live throughout the world, have continued to maintain active nomadic communities today as their ancestors did. A wide spanning region of Northern Europe’s Arctic Zone or Sampi often referred to as Fennoscandia, encompasses four countries, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia’s Kola Peninsula (Roland & Löffler, 2012). The nomadic Sami people follow the migration pathways of their reindeer herds through the wilderness bi-annually. This paper will discuss many perspectives, including the battle Sami people and other Indigenous communities have endured while combating green energy development from impacting their cultural heritage practice rights, encroachment on their ancestral land, and resources. Starting with defining food sovereignty, then moving on to an introduction of the Sami people and a brief description of their history, along with detailed information of how these generations of Sami people have survived in the Arctic Zone. From there I will discuss specific impacts that climate change and green energy development projects have imposed on reindeer, who are one of the Sami’s most important food sources. Thereafter, I will present a detailed summary on a few of the neoliberal development projects in the region which have impacted Sami traditional practices. Including a brief description of wind power generation infrastructures in three Sampi region nation states: Norway, Finland, and Sweden. I will then discuss the importance reindeer hold to Sami foodways, medicinal purposes, and products made from every part of the animal to honor the sacrifice they make for the survival of the Sami culture. The scientific studies of Anna Skarin get to the root of the problem for the Sami: reindeer do not like windmills. The paper also discusses reciprocal relationships between cultural traditions and ecosystem health within Indigenous communities elsewhere. Holding nation states and corporations accountable when violating terms of multiple signed agreements in the name of capital accumulation, green energy developments or other resource extraction that threaten their existence and subsistence practices



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