She walked through the lobby of the hotel in her native dress. It was a full black felt knee-high dress with colorful hem. The skirt was so full it kicked out when she walked. Her dress included a golden belt and silver medallions around her neck. Our director, Jim, said he saw her on Norwegian TV. So, Miss Melannie approached her to learn her story.
Maret Anne Sara is a member of the Sami people and she was living what she called a nightmare. The Sami are the indigenous people of Norway. The government of Norway demanded her brother slaughter 225 of his 300 reindeer herd. Reindeer herding had been in her family for centuries. The government demands to slaughter his reindeer would mean financial ruin for her brother.
Maret is an artist. She said she studied how North American indigenous people used art to advocate for their cause. She references the art in ‘Pile of Bones” (which is a reference from a brutal colonial history of settlers who massacred the buffalo to eliminate food source of indigenous people and thereby get control over their land) when she used reindeer heads to create an installation to protest her brother’s plight. (Please see the image in her website).
She told Melannie that brother has been working for many months to overturn the Norwegian government’s orders to make her brother kill most of his herd. Her brother has even appealed to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Just yesterday, Maret told Melannie, she learned that her brother’s petition to the Norwegian government was denied by the Norwegian Parliament. This caused Maret to continue to protest by turning her native dress inside-out.
She talked with Melannie about this story and the plight of her family. She added that her family has started a “Adopt a Reindeer” Go Fund Me Campaign to help her brother pay the fines imposed by the government. This site contains much more information about Sara’s brother and his fight with the Norwegian Government.