Existence Is Resistance: The Sami in Russia


Stalking Chernobyl
Photo courtesy of Lev Fedoseev.

For many residents of Russia, the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the 1990s created new opportunities to express their cultural identity. But for the indigenous Sami people on Russia’s arctic Kola Peninsula, recent decades have also presented challenges that threaten traditional ways of life. By celebrating their arts and culture and by working to revive indigenous languages that were once suppressed by the state, the Sami are fighting back. Featuring interviews with cultural leaders, linguists, and elders—as well as young Sami activists, dancers, and singers who are pushing Sami perspectives toward new frontiers—this short film highlights the ways in which one of Russia’s smallest ethnic groups is finding new methods of persevering and pronouncing its existence.

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