Pressure is mounting on the Norwegian government to back down on the compulsory slaughter of reindeer herds that are the livelihood of the Sámi people
Artists and activists took to the streets of Oslo to support the reindeer herding Sámi Jovsset Ánte Sara.
Jovsset Ánte (26) is taking the Norwegian government to the UN Human Rights Committee to protect his reindeer and the rights of Sámi reindeer herders. The widely criticised, and highly destructive, Reindeer Husbandry Act and the implementation of a compulsory reindeer slaughter policy will drive him and other young reindeer herders out of business, forcing them out of their livelihood and thereby their culture and inherited rights.
Despite the fact that the fate of Jovsset Ánte’s herd has been brought to the attention of the UN, the Norwegian state refuses to wait for the UN´s verdict and Jovsset Ánte has been given until December 31 to decimate his herd to 75 reindeer.
Jovsset Ánte now has two options: to slaughter his herd and walk away from his rights, culture and traditional way of life, or to refuse the slaughter and face tremendous fines adding to the 70,000 Norwegian kroner (8 000USD) he has already been fined during the judicial process.
Subvertising Norway, who carried out the action, is a national network of artists and activists who would like to see public discourse replace outdoor advertising in the urban environment.
“We believe that public space should be a forum for dialogue, debate and the exchange of ideas, not somewhere to be force fed harmful messages about needless consumption” said a spokesperson for Subvertising Norway. “Naturally, we wanted to support the urgent matter of Sámi and their rights, regarding a potential tragedy for a young Sámi reindeer herder and, more broadly, for human rights in Norway.”
“The act of subverting advertisements (or ‘subvertising’) has long been utilized by artists as a tool for social commentary and protest. By mimicking the scale and visibility of advertising, it´s possible to raise awareness about important issues such as this but also the wider phenomenon of who has the power and authority to communicate messages and create meaning in our urban environment.”
Help protect Jovsset Ánte and the rights of Sámi reindeer herders and the Sámi community in Norway by signing the petition calling on the Norwegian state to postpone the enforced slaughter of Jovsset Ánte´s reindeer herd until the UN´s verdict.
Artwork by Máret Anne Sara
Photography by Per Heimly