Sárdni UN Global Indigenous Youth Forumas Romas

Presideanta Silje Karine Muotka oassálastá Global Food Forumas / UN Global Indigenous Youth Forumas Romas golggotmánu 17.-19. beivviid 2023. 300 álgoálbmot nuora miehtá máilmmi galget čállit cealkámuša maid sii geigejit FAO:ii (ON biebmo- ja eanadoalloorganisašuvdna). Norga lea mielde FAO álgoálbmotkoališuvnnas ja bargá álgoálbmogiid biebmovuogádagain.

Dá lea sámediggepresideantta sárdni UN Global Indigenous Youth Forumas golggotmánu 17. beaivvi 2023 (dušše eŋgelasgillii):

Honoured Indigenous youth and distinguished guests,

Let me start with a story about an exceptional sámi woman and coastal fisher:

Anne Marie would go where no one else was fishing, and she would put her nets there.

Anne Marie said «It sounds strange for sure, but I got fish even when no one got anything. And then a fisherman would yell there rows Anne Marie! and all of them would follow me.”

Today we have sonar and radar. But Anne Marie had to rely on our traditional knowledge and skills. She knew the fjords, the currents, the bottom ratio and the behavior of the fish – skills that were passed on to her from her ancestors. And she was able to feed herself and her family.

I am deeply honored to stand before so many Indigenous youth today. Some say that you are the leaders of tomorrow, but you are already leaders for your peoples and your voices are very important.

Food systems are complex, and in an Indigenous perspective, our whole lives are connected to food. A Sámi brother said to me that eating traditional Sámi food is our single most important act to uphold our Indigenous culture.

Because, if you want to eat traditional, then you need know the land and have the skill to survive the weather. You need to know how to make traditional clothes, in order to keep warm. You need to live in close connection to mother earth, and you need to protect her.

And you need your Indigenous community, and the support of your people.

Food systems touches into so many of the most important topics of our time. It’s about climate change, it’s about resilience, it’s about land ownership. It affects our mental health and well-being. And it’s connected to our languages and storytelling.

Women are important carriers of knowledge and values in Sámi culture. Sámi women herd reindeers, hunt, forage, care for our kettle and fish.

When Sámis fish, we use the word bivdit. Bivdit means to fish, but it also means to ask for fish. Bivdit says a lot about our perspective on fishing.  We accept that to get fish is not a given. When asking we pay respect to the Mother Earth and to her spirits. We also pay respect to the fish. The worst thing you can do is to have fish left in the freezer when summer comes. It’s a bad sign – it means that you either haven’t shared enough of your catch, or that you caught more than you needed.

With this balance and respect, we have managed our resources for thousands of years. But now we are told that we are not skilled enough to manage our salmon rivers, or our fish in the sea. That we don’t know how to herd reindeer, even though we invented reindeer herding. Why is there such mistrust from the governments against Indigenous stewardship? We have managed our salmon rivers for thousands of years without overfishing. Is there anyone else in the world that cares more for our resources, than us who rely on them so strongly?

Our knowledge about management of lands and waters have been passed down to us by our ancestors. Our ancestors have given us the knowledge on what foods we need to be maintain our well-being. There are no coincidences, our diet through the year is adapted to what is available at certain times, and which nutrition we need.

Our ancestors taught us to hunt ducks in the spring, so we get the fat we need after the long winter. They taught us to pick berries and store them for winter, so we get the vitamins and sugars we need. They taught us to fish for cod to get vitamin D in the time when we don’t have sun.

I cannot believe that any diet is healthier for us than the one that our ancestors have given us. Importing avocado from the other side of the world to Sápmican hardly be healthy or sustainable for us. To eat the foods from our own surroundings is the most healthy and sustainable act from our side. And to pass on our traditions and knowledge to our children is the most important investment we can make for our future as Indigenous Peoples.

Anne Marie, the Sámi fisher woman, certainly had the knowledge from our ancestors. She said:

Once a fisherman from a neighboring village said to me: “Anne Marie you always get fish, you find the fish, and we, us others, we chase both you and the fish when we follow.”

To the Indigenous youth: I wish you best of luck with your important work this week, and I look forward to reading your declaration. I encourage you to use the knowledge that each of you has, and for each of you to raise your voice. I do hope the states listen to you. I for certain will do my best to support your work.

Giitu! Thank you!