The AssimiNation is a political documentary portraying the indigenous Sámi people fighting
for their existence. The film shows the past, current and the future policy of the Finnish Government towards them. This is a political pamphlet and a cry for help for the last indigenous people living in the EU.
Since the white men came, the Sámi have only been losing their rights. And it seems to get
worse year by year. The new laws of the National Board of Forestry, the definition of the Sámi people by the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland, the Parliaments failure to ratify ILO169 (international law package for improving the position of the indigenous people) and the new restrictions of the Sámi’s fishing rights show how the Finns are treating their small minority. These decisions harden the daily life of the Sámi, who mostly live out of the nature. The Sámi are ignored while making these decisions. Many feel that the Finnish government wants to wipe out the last of the Sámi by owning their land, waters, culture and even their identity. For example United Nations has notified Finland for it’s poor treatment of the Sámi people and violation of their human rights, but they have been ignored.
Hate speech, diminishing, threatening and laughing towards the Sámi has grown lately in media, social media and even in the Parliament. The biggest Sámi issue in the media has been the cultural appropriation which leads the conversation into superficial details about the authenticity of the Sámi dress, instead of the land rights and oppression, which should be in the main focus. Lot of the Sámi feel like there is on going information war and false information is being spread all the way up to the Parliament. Anything they try to say or do turns quickly against them in the publicity. Unlike in the other Scandinavian countries, the Sámi in Finland haven’t have the possibility to collectively process the traumas of the assimilation, which transcend from a generation to another.
The AssimiNation shows the effects of the colonisation politics on the Sámi on daily life. The Sámi people are worried of the well being of their people and try to fight for their moral and legal rights. It is very difficult, since the State has economical interest on the Sámi territory, and their rights don’t fit well together with the exploitation of the natural resources. It turns out that at the end, the dispute comes mostly of the land ownership and the natural resources.
The story focuses on today and to the future. How to survive as an indigenous people when the state makes ruthless decisions harming the vitality and the sanity of the people? The fight against the state drives the individuals on the brink of despair. The film follow their process of survival and trying to become whole.
The Finnish government doesn’t recognise the sufferings and the ongoing cultural genocide of the Sámi or even apologise it unlike in Sweden and Norway have done. The ill-being of the Sámi people is apparent even in the Finland’s highest suicide figures up in the North. How to save a drowning people or will they just disappear forever?