This letter was sent today, May 17th 2013, to Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus
This is from Sami Women’s Forum (SNF), which organizes Sami women from four countries.
Unfortunately, SNF will not be attending the UN conference in Alta, as we are not invited to join the preparations and the conference.
We tried to be prepared, by inviting Sami parliament of Norway to our annual meeting at Inari Finland in September 2012 to get more information. At the meeting it was assured that SNF would be included and that there would be organized indigenous women’s group.
As it is, there is another unfortunate matter: Our organization’s funding for this year 2013 is reduced. This year our organization reached 15 years as a formal organization (since 1998) and it is 20 years since Sami Women’s Forum first time gathered, it was on Sami national Day February 6th 1993. We were looking forward to meet indigenous sisters from all over the world on a year like this.
In 2013, through the year, will also be lots of arrangements to celebrate women’s rights, as it is 100 years since Norwegian women gained the right to vote and Norway became a true democracy.
But – we do not consider it as democracy to keep women’s voices outside an important indigenous people’s conference as the one in Alta. Our organization tried to ensure that indigenous women will be visible and will have a voice by inviting Sami parliament to our annual meeting last autumn. We have sent a letter to Sami parliament with questions about this one month ago. This letter we have not received any answer to yet.
Of this, we understand there will be no indigenous women’s gathering in Alta, and we are really sorry for that.
The UN conference and its working organization had the possibility to prioritize to include women’s voices and to include women’s organizations in their preparations, but they did not do it.
Funding would have been possible – of course. As for the practical matter: If SNF had been asked to prepare a global indigenous women’s gathering in Alta, we could have done it.
In 1990 the 2nd International Indigenous Women’s Conference was arranged in the small sami village Karasjok (3000 inhabitants), where the Sami parliament of Norway is situated. Many of the women who were arranging the conference, are still active in sami women’s organizational work in Sami Women’s Forum.
In 1990, 100 women, among them Mililani Trask, Vicky Tauli-Corpuz and Winona La Duke, visited Karasjok and attended the conference. Some years ago, in May 2006, we met some of you, as SNF attended the Permanent Forum in New York. SNF also succeeded in fundraising for two sami women who are lawyers, to attend in New York: Susann Funderud Skogvang and Laila Susanne Vars.
Sami Women’s Forum wish the delegates and indigenous people from all over the world most welcome to Alta and Sami Land!
Hope you will enjoy your stay, and best wishes for the conference.
Dearvvuođaiguin / Med hilsen / Best wishes
SNF-Sámi NissonForum/Samisk KvinneForum / Sami Women’s Forum
P.b. 110, N-9735 Kárášjohka/Karasjok