Sápmi, the traditional Sámi cultural and settlement area extends into four countries: Finland, Norway, Russia and Sweden. The Sámi people inhabited these areas long before the establishment of state boundaries, and they are therefore recognized as an indigenous people by the United Nations. Not many people in southern Europe get a chance to learn about Sámi and their culture, and the Sámi culture centre in Zagreb is a superb way to bring this information closer to the inhabitants of the entire region.
The centre in Zagreb will have a permanent exhibition of Sámi handicraft. It will help to organize different kinds of art exhibitions and concerts related to Sámi culture. It will offer additional services such as information centre, library, gallery and visual media center open to all.
We are really excited about establishing the Sámi culture center in Zagreb. Robert Kakarigi and Ecogreen Europe are joining forces with the distinct members of the Sámi community and the organizations from the entire Sápmi to make the cultural facility a reality in the Croatian capital.
We are in the process of creating the initial founding group that will help to establish the centre. At the moment the members of the founding group are as follows:
Doris Risfjell – artist, Vilhelmina
Henrik Michael Kuhmunen – headmaster, Sámi Educational Centre, Jokkmokk
Sven-Åke Risfjell – Duodji artist, Vilhelmina
Inger Johanne Mudenia - adviser for international and legal issues at Sámi Parliament in Norway, Varangerbotn
Wenche Marie Haetta - jurnalist at Sami Radio, Karasjok
Olav Mathis Eira - Vice President at Sámi Council (Sámiráđđi), Fossbakken
Robert Kakarigi – founder of Ecogreen Europe, Zagreb, Croatia
It is hoped that interior design work at the centre in Zagreb will start by winter 2009, with the project due for completion within 2010.
This is an exciting and ambitious project. The new Sámi cultural centre at the European south would definitely leave a heritage of which we can all be proud.