News this week that US President Donald J Trump plans to defy Native Americans and resume construction of the disputed Dakota Access Pipeline has prompted Norway’s indigenous people, the Sami, to reaffirm their support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation.
Sami from all over Norway along with Sweden and Finland have gathered in Trondheim to celebrate the 100th anniversary of their first political gathering. In Norway, their political activism in recent months has spread to support for the Sioux nation’s fight for the rights to their own land. They fear the Dakota Pipeline will contaminate their water and disturb sacred grounds.
Vibeke Larsen, president of the Sami Parliament, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Wednesday neither she nor other Sami will turn their backs on the Sioux now. “I hope we can put even focus on how indigenous peoples have the right to a future,” Larsen told NRK. “That’s what this is all about, to have the right to live on your own terms, to have fresh water and your own cultural heritage.”
Larsen said the Sami Parliament will put pressure on Norway’s foreign ministry in the hopes the country’s sovereign wealth fund will pull its investments out of the companies building the pipeline. Major Norwegian banks have already said they are reassessing their own financing of the project, and would be pulling out.