On Friday, four #Saami Reindeer Herding Communities, from both sides of the Swedish/Norwegian border declared a moratorium at the Nása Mountain, to challenge the proposed opening of a mine in the area.

What follows are excerpts from their Moratorium Statement:
Since time immemorial, the Nása Mountain has been used as grazing pastures by reindeer herding Saami. Through a system of ecologically sustainable hunting, fishing and reindeer husbandry, this area has become a site where Saami have co-existed with nature on its own terms.
Long before the State colonised the Nása Mountain area and decreed that every reindeer herder had to belong to a state-approved herding district, this mountain used to be a privately owned Saami tax district, as well as a reindeer herding district governed by consuetudinary laws.
From a Saami viewpoint, this area is marred by a long and painful history. The Swedish State realised the monetary value of the Nása Mountain early on, after having stumbled on silver in the area.
In a time of economical difficulties, the Nása Mountain was seen as a God-given resource to be exploited freely in order to save the Swedish economy. The year 1635 marked the start of a 65 years long mining era in Nása.
In 1634, the Lord High Chancellor of Sweden, Sir Axel Oxenstierna, declared that Sweden had ”an India of sorts within its northernmost district, were the State only able to understand how to make best use of it”.
This quote led to the theft of Saami tax districts, and the establishment of a colony in Norrland, which displaced large numbers of Saami from their ancestral homelands.
In stark contrast to many other previously colonised areas around the world, Sápmi has never been officially decolonised, and instead of offering the Saami the chance to self-governance, the States still continue to occupy these areas.
It is thus impossible to understand the proposal of a new mine in the area, which once again ignores the rights of the local Saami with the blessings of the Norwegian state, as anything else than a grave injustice and an assault on Saami rights.
The proposed mine is nothing but a renewed attempt to re-colonise the area, without paying respect to the Saami culture and the traditional livelihoods in the area.
A mine will have a disastrous impact on the local wildlife as well as the reindeer, which in turn affects the Reindeer Herding Communities in a negative way, leading to a future where reindeer husbandry cannot be carried out in the area.
The mine constitutes an attack on a living culture, and a functioning society, made up of numerous traditional trades, such as hunting and fishing, as well as our Saami languages, the care of our children and elders, as well as our right to practice our #indigenous culture.
The establishment of a mine at the Nása Mountain threatens to not only leave a mountain and a trade in ruins, but to lead to a cultural genocide of our people as well.

As Saami, we will never allow this to happen!
Hereby a moratorium over the Nása Mountain has been declared, which will stand, unfazed by the colonial powers of the Swedish and Norwegian states.

The Moratorium encompasses the entirety of the mountain on both sides of the Swedish-Norwegian border.
As of today, the local Reindeer Herding Communities promise to protect this mountain against further harmful intrusions that threaten its wildlife and already sensitive habitats.
A possible contamination of the Lais and Vindel Rivers sources cannot be written out of the story, were the mine to open, which in turn would strip the local wildlife as well as humans in this part of Sápmi of their access to clean water.
The area stands under consuetudinary law, and as of today, Svaipa, Semisjaur Njarg, Gran and Saltfjell Reindeer Herding Communities, declares a #moratorium in Nása.
From this day on all actions that have a negative impact on Saami traditional trades or human rights have been banned. The rights of the Saami are guranteed by international conventions, declarations as well as Saami traditional beliefs, and the constitutions of Sweden and Norway
The Moratorium in Nása nullifies Swedish and Norwegian laws in the area until the establishment of a mine in the area is off the table indefinitely, and a treaty has been signed, giving the local #Saami reindeer herders the right to use the area without further, future intrusions
As long as a treaty does not exist, mining, prospecting, road constructions etc. harming the reindeer herding in the area will be treated as illegal.

Bájh värijde årruot- Let the Mountains Live!


Svaipa, Gran, Semisjaur Njarg and Saltfjell Reindeer Herding Districts

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