89
89
9

Protect Sámi reindeer herding

$4,802 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 93 people in 4 months
The Norwegian government is forcing Sámi reindeer herders to abandon their culture. Help them fight back!  
The Norwegian government is imposing forced slaughter of the reindeer that are the livelihood of the Sámi people. A young Sámi reindeer herder, Jovsset Ante Sara (25), is taking the Norwegian government to an international court of human rights to protect his reindeer and the rights of the Sámi reindeer herders. His options are either the European Court of Human Rights or the UN Human Rights Committee. Jovsset Ánte Sara is fighting against the implementation of a forced reindeer slaughter policy that will drive him and other young reindeer herders out of business, depriving them of their livelihood and thereby their culture and inherited rights. 


About the case:  The state demands that Jovsset Ante slaughter his herd so that only 75 reindeer remain. This means bankruptcy and the loss of his livelihood, culture, and rights. Jovsset Ante Sara won the first trial in the District Court in March 2016 , where the verdict stated that the government’s forced culling of reindeer violates his property rights, protected by international conventions on human rights. The Norwegian government appealed the verdict, but Jovsset Ante Sara won again. The Court of Appeal stated additionally that the imposed forced slaughter violates his indigenous rights protected by Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights , meaning this is a violation of his rights to practice his culture. The Norwegian government appealed again and The Norwegian Supreme Court decided in favor of the Norwegian government in December 2017. 

See “the most beautiful adventure of Spring”, a documentary about Sámi reindeer migration, in which Norwegian Broadcasting followed Jovsset Ante and his herding community partners during the migration from the winter to the summer grazing grounds


 The young Sámi reindeer herder now has two options: to slaughter his herd and walk away from his rights, culture and traditional way of life, or to appeal the case to an international court. 
This case impacts many reindeer herders, especially those with the smallest herds, and the youngest generation of reindeer herders who represent the future of Sámi reindeer herding. The case sets a dangerous precedent in terms of indigenous rights in Norway and the rights of reindeer herders in particular. 


Why the state-sanctioned culling of reindeer? 
  The Norwegian government claims that the reindeer are destroying the tundra. The forced reduction of reindeer is supposedly called for to protect the land for future reindeer herding – but at the same time, the government is expropriating the very pastures they claim to protect from overgrazing in order to make way for mining and industrial development projects. From the Sámi perspective , the state’s argument that they are protecting the land for future Sámi reindeer herding is inconsistent with national industrial plans for the Sámi region, the ongoing expropriation of land for industrial purposes, and the methodical intimidation of young reindeer herders who are essential if the traditional way of life is to continue. Scientists in recent studies have stated that the biggest threat to Sámi reindeer herding today comes from the Norwegian state.


How can you help?  Help protect Jovsset Ante and the rights of Sámi reindeer herders and the Sámi community in Norway. 

Your contribution will help Jovsset Ante bring his case before an international court of human rights. All funds raised will be donated to Jovsset Ante Sara so that he can bring his case forward, and also to the Pile o’Sápmi art project directed by Jovsset Ante’s sister. Pile o’Sápmi is run by Maret Anne Sara and uses art and information to raise awareness and promote debate about the case.


Additional links:
Video with footage from Jovsset Ante Sara’s court appearances

Máret Ánne Sara’s statement at the 2017 Creative Time Summit

NY Times coverage of case in Norwegian Supreme Court

Pile o’Sápmi facebook page
+ Read More
"For a Sámi, Bringing a Case to Court in Norway is Like Playing Poker with the Devil"
This update in the ongoing campaign to raise funds to support Jovsset Ánte Sara presents Nils Johan Heatta's assessment of the Norwegian Supreme Court's decision. Here is a translation of his op-ed piece, originally published in North Sámi.

Going to court against the state is like playing poker with the devil. The devil always holds all the aces and has a joker up his sleeve that he can pull out when all else fails. Even before the game begins, the state has dealt out the cards unfairly. In the case of Jovsset Ánte Sara, it is a state institution that has made the law. And it is a state institution that is passing judgement. The Supreme Court has rejected the rulings of both the District Court in Finnmark and the Hålogaland Court of Appeal. One would think that there must be an important reason that compelled two courts to declare the state imposed culling of reindeer to be illegal, finding the state guilty of violating both the European human rights convention (in the case at the District Court) and the UN convention on civil and political rights (in the case at the Court of Appeal).

A Ruling by the District Court Isn't Good Enough
In her New Year's speech, Sámi Parliament President Aili Keskitalo called the Supreme Court's ruling unjust. Associate Professor and legal expert Ánde Somby has suggested that the ruling is politically motivated. The District Court of Finnmark was established, among other things, in order to serve as the arm of the judicial system that should take responsibility for representing the Sámi perspective and the Sámi interpretation of justice. In this case one can say that the District Court has been successful. But when the Finnmark District Court makes rulings in favor of the Sámi interpretation of justice concerning inherited rights and land use and then those rulings are repeatedly overturned by higher courts, this brings the legitimacy of the District Court into question. This is why the Sámi President is justified in asking whether it is time to give the same weight to the Sámi interpretation of justice as to the Norwegian interpretation. Not only in the lower courts, but throughout the whole judicial system.

The Next Step: The United Nations or the European Court
Jovsset Ánte Sara is going to appeal the Supreme Court's decision. There are two options. He can try to bring his case before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (France) or the UN Human Rights Committee which makes sure that states observe the UN's agreement concerning civil and political rights. Martin Scheinin, professor of international law and human rights, states that The European Human Rights Convention gives stronger protection to individual rights. However, he says that he does not know Sara's case well enough to be in a position to evaluate which is the best path to follow. Since the Hålogaland Court of Appeal based its decision on the UN convention and the Supreme Court has also confirmed that Sara has the rights provided for in that convention, then that is perhaps the surest path to choose. But despite that, the Supreme Court states that the collective concerns of the reindeer grazing district have to take precedence over the concerns of the individual.

Can One Expect Humane Treatment from the State?
The Supreme Court's ruling takes effect on the same day as it is delivered. This means that the state can immediately apply measures to force Jovsset Ánte Sara to reduce his reindeer herd. In this situation Sara can request that the European Court or the UN Human Rights Commission halt the enforcement measures because the case is not closed before it has received due process in an international institution. Although it is hard to predict what the state's next move will be, we should be able to expect that Norway will show enough respect for human rights to keep from carrying out enforcement measures before Sara has had a chance to try out all of his options. Likewise the state should show goodwill by waiving the fines that have been levied against Jovsset Ánte since he brought his case to court. For the state this sum is trivial, but for a young man who is struggling to provide for himself, these fines represent an enormous amount of money.

An Opportunity to Make an Agreement Within the Reindeer Grazing District
Of course another option is that Sara could accept the Supreme Court's decision. In that case, he has to make some kind of an agreement with other reindeer herders in his siida-community that allows him to take a larger portion of the operation than at present. The judicial process is slow and time consuming, and it could take over two years before the case finally makes its way through to a decision from the UN Human Rights Commission or the European Court of Human Rights. All proceedings in such courts take place in writing rather than in a courthouse where the two sides present their cases. For this reason, it would be easy to understand why Jovsset Ánte might be hesitant to take the case further, but seek other solutions instead of going to an international court.

Jovsset Ánte Needs Support, Not Just Words, but Money Too
Two Presidents of the Sámi Parliament have, in consecutive New Year's speeches, supported the young Sámi reindeer herder Jovsset Ánte Sara in his defiance of the state's forced culling of reindeer. Last year Vibeke Larsen, and this year Aili Keskitalo praised Jovsset Ánte for the tough fight he put up against the Norwegian judicial system. Jovsset Ánte Sara needs their support and the support of the Sámi Parliament. But Jovsset Ánte needs more than supportive words. The Sámi Parliament should also open up its coffers so that Jovsset Ánte and his lawyer can gain access to all the best available expert witnesses and legal advisors when he brings his case to an international court. This case is important for Jovsset Ánte, but it is also one of the most important cases testing whether the power of the UN convention on civil and political rights really protects the rights of individuals to maintain their cultural traditions and transmit them to future generations.

You can find the original commentary by Nils Johan Heatta here:
https://www.nrk.no/sapmi/kommentara_-_dego-nevrriin-speallat-pokera_-1.13853031

NB: This post does not constitute an endorsement of this gofundme campaign by Nils Johan Heatta nor by NRK Sápmi. Neither Nils Johan Heatta nor NRK Sápmi are connected to this campaign.
+ Read More
"Many More Challenges to Reindeer Herding"
In addition to legal battles such as the one faced by Jovsset Ánte Sara, reindeer herders face many other challenges due to predation, climate change and industrial development. This update gives some perspective on other threats to Sámi reindeer herding, as we continue our campaign to Protect Sámi reindeer herding by collecting funds so that Jovsset Ánte Sara can take his case to an international court of human rights.

Reindeer have a number of natural predators, all of which are also protected animals, including wolves, wolverines and lynx. However, the predator that kills the most reindeer is actually the eagle, which preys particularly on reindeer calves. Some reindeer herders report that they routinely lose as much as 10% of their herd annually to predators, and in some areas 40-50% of reindeer calves are killed by predators. In addition, there is illegal poaching of reindeer, although the amount is hard to determine.

Every year, reindeer are run over by cars and trucks and even more are hit by trains. The Sámi Parliament has requested that fences be put up to keep the reindeer off the tracks, but these fences are often inadequate and poorly maintained because they are considered "too expensive". Although reindeer herders routinely warn the railroad when animals are near the tracks, and the trains are supposed to run at reduced speeds so that the reindeer have a chance to get out of the way, it is often the case that the trains do not slow down due to "technical errors" and sometimes over a hundred animals get hit on a single day. Not all animals die immediately, and herders must come and shoot the wounded animals to put them out of their misery. Reindeer herder Per Ole Oskal calls the railroad "the worst thing in existence" because it is like "a predator that never gets its belly full" of dead reindeer.

Climate change is most notable in the Arctic, where the seasons have shifted already by several weeks, bringing on sweeping changes to the ecosystems. One particular problem that climate change poses for reindeer concerns the availability of food in the winter. Before climate change, the reindeer moss (actually a type of lichen) that is the preferred food of reindeer in winter was usually covered with a protective blanket of snow that the reindeer could easily paw through in order to feed. However, as the climate has become warmer, it is increasingly the case that there are thaws in the winter and then when the melted snow refreezes, it forms a hard layer of ice that the reindeer cannot penetrate with their hooves.

Reindeer are large animals that need a lot of food, which is scattered over a large territory in the nutrient-poor environment of the Arctic. For this reason, reindeer need a lot of space, and they also need to migrate in order to take advantage of multiple grazing grounds. However, reindeer are also very shy and sensitive to disturbances in their surroundings. It is not known why exactly, but reindeer avoid all kinds of industrial installations, such as mining sites, on-shore windmills, and high-tension electric wires, generally staying several kilometers away from them. For this reason, such installations actually take away much more space than their footprint on the ground, and as a result the remaining corridors for reindeer to graze and migrate on are becoming uncomfortably narrow.

Reindeer herding is a demanding profession, even without all of these other challenges. The addition of systematic state-sponsored attacks on the rights of Sámi reindeer herders to pursue their traditional livelihood has pushed many to the brink of giving up. That is why we are campaigning to give Jovsset Ánte Sara the chance to bring his case to an international court of human rights.

Please consider sharing this post on facebook and/or Twitter.

The quotes from Per Ole Oskal are from this newspaper article:
https://avvir.no/oddasat/2017/09/toga-lea-spire-mii-ii-gallan-goassege
+ Read More
"Fighting for the Right to Herd Reindeer"
This is an update to the campaign to Protect Sámi reindeer herding by financing Jovsset Ánte Sara's appeal to an international court of human rights. This update gives the perspective of another Sámi reindeer herder who faces legal battles with the Norwegian state.

Anders Nils Peder Sokki has worked in reindeer herding all his life, following the family tradition of his ancestors, a fact that is documented at least as far back as the nineteenth century. In 1998 Sokki inherited a siida-share (the right to operate a business as a reindeer herder) from his uncle. However, state authorities have contested Sokki's right to his siida-share ever since. In previous proceedings, the Reindeer Management Commission gave its approval to Sokki's siida-share twice and his right to operate was approved three times by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. But now the same ministry is claiming that Sokki lacks sufficient grounds to be awarded a siida-share for reindeer herding. After many years of proceedings, Sokki is challenging the state in a case to be decided in court in Finnmark in January 2018. For Sokki this is an all-or-nothing battle, since if he loses, the state will not allow him to continue life as a reindeer herder. He will be forced to slaughter his entire herd or stand by as the state takes it away from him if he refuses to do it himself. Sokki's lawyer, Trond Biti, says that this ordeal has taken a terrible toll on Sokki, who has had to endure years of uncertainty and may now lose his livelihood.

Reindeer herding is a labor-intensive operation. When the state adds to this the burden of challenges to traditional rights and legal battles, it can be too much for some reindeer herders and too discouraging for the young people who are needed to carry this tradition forward. The case of Anders Nils Peder Sokki is another sad example of how the Norwegian state is criminalizing Sámi reindeer herders and their work. The dimensions of the pressure and force which the Norwegian state exerts against reindeer herders is hair-raising and proves that this type of government administration is in effect a systematic attack on the traditional Sámi livelihood.

Please consider sharing this post on facebook and Twitter.

See the article about Anders Nils Peder Sokki's legal battle with the Norwegian state here:
https://www.nrk.no/sapmi/kjemper-for-retten-til-a-jobbe-med-rein-1.13873461
+ Read More
We thank Thomas Isak Johansen for his comment, since it is important to have a public debate on this issue. This comment brings out important misconceptions that need to be aired and cleared up. There are unfortunately many who share the beliefs that have been articulated by Thomas Isak Johansen here concerning the health and welfare of reindeer in Finnmark. However, the scientific facts do not support these beliefs. As detailed in Update 10 on our website, entitled “The Norwegian Supreme Court’s Ruling is Based on ‘Alternative Facts’, Myths, and Stereotypes”, longitudinal research studies show no evidence of overgrazing or of reindeer starving as a result. Tor A. Benjaminsen, Professor of Environment and Development Studies at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences has published his findings, based on his own four-year study of reindeer herding in Finnmark as well as official state-sponsored data collection going back twenty years in his book “Sámi reindeer herding and Norwegian myths” (2016), as well as in several international scientific journals. His conclusion: there is no evidence that there are too many reindeer on the grazing lands. We refer interested readers to these published peer-reviewed sources for reliable information. As concerns the Sámis and their options for managing the numbers of reindeer, we cite Ivar Bjørklund, Professor of Cultural Studies at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, who has been following this case closely. In Bjørklund’s opinion the Norwegian state’s attitude toward Sámi reindeer herding “has been authoritarian from A to Z” and the Sámis have never been given the chance to manage their own affairs. For more on this, please see our Update 6 “A Clash of Cultures in the Supreme Court Has Led to an Unfair Ruling”.

In some locations there may be a shortage of space. This is in most cases a consequence of lands being taken away from the reindeer herders for industrial purposes and the demands of the majority society. But the general claim of total overgrazing in Finnmark and that reindeer are dying of starvation across the region every year is a myth. For this reason, it is highly unjust to punish all reindeer herders, as the Norwegian government is doing. The state has levied a collective punishment that impacts the herders with the smallest herds most of all, and these are the younger generation that represent the future of reindeer herding. There is also a major ethical question: how can the state justify delivering collective punishment when the state has exact numbers of reindeer all across Finnmark? Thanks to obligatory counting of reindeer, the state knows precisely how many reindeer each herder has and where they are in Finnmark. Since the state has all the information about how many reindeer are where exactly in Finnmark, and in addition also their own long-term academic research that contradicts claims that the lands have been damaged, it is hard to accept these claims and this means of punishing the herders.
+ Read More

Posted by Laura Janda
3 months ago ago
"Fighting for the Right to Herd Reindeer"
This is an update to the campaign to Protect Sámi reindeer herding by financing Jovsset Ánte Sara's appeal to an international court of human rights. This update gives the perspective of another Sámi reindeer herder who faces legal battles with the Norwegian state.

Anders Nils Peder Sokki has worked in reindeer herding all his life, following the family tradition of his ancestors, a fact that is documented at least as far back as the nineteenth century. In 1998 Sokki inherited a siida-share (the right to operate a business as a reindeer herder) from his uncle. However, state authorities have contested Sokki's right to his siida-share ever since. In previous proceedings, the Reindeer Management Commission gave its approval to Sokki's siida-share twice and his right to operate was approved three times by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. But now the same ministry is claiming that Sokki lacks sufficient grounds to be awarded a siida-share for reindeer herding. After many years of proceedings, Sokki is challenging the state in a case to be decided in court in Finnmark in January 2018. For Sokki this is an all-or-nothing battle, since if he loses, the state will not allow him to continue life as a reindeer herder. He will be forced to slaughter his entire herd or stand by as the state takes it away from him if he refuses to do it himself. Sokki's lawyer, Trond Biti, says that this ordeal has taken a terrible toll on Sokki, who has had to endure years of uncertainty and may now lose his livelihood.

Reindeer herding is a labor-intensive operation. When the state adds to this the burden of challenges to traditional rights and legal battles, it can be too much for some reindeer herders and too discouraging for the young people who are needed to carry this tradition forward. The case of Anders Nils Peder Sokki is another sad example of how the Norwegian state is criminalizing Sámi reindeer herders and their work. The dimensions of the pressure and force which the Norwegian state exerts against reindeer herders is hair-raising and proves that this type of government administration is in effect a systematic attack on the traditional Sámi livelihood.

Please consider sharing this post on facebook and Twitter.

See the article about Anders Nils Peder Sokki's legal battle with the Norwegian state here:
https://www.nrk.no/sapmi/kjemper-for-retten-til-a-jobbe-med-rein-1.13873461
+ Read More
Read Latest Update

$4,802 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 93 people in 4 months
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
   Connect
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
MS
$50
Marit Siiri
1 month ago
SR
$100
Seidi R
2 months ago
$350
Anna Hutchings
2 months ago
LF
$50
Lill Tove Fredriksen
3 months ago
CR
$50
Cheryl Reijon
3 months ago
NB
$25
Noreen Brisson
3 months ago
$50
Anonymous
3 months ago
VH
$100
Valtteri Heimo
3 months ago
SD
$100
simon devylder
3 months ago
$100
Anonymous
3 months ago
or
Or, use your email…
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.