Ambassadors of the European Year

Magga Ristenrauna

Magga Ristenrauna

Finland

SamiSoster is a national association that takes care of the position and rights of Sami people in social affairs and health care at national and international level. The association stands for the values of Sami people, respect of human rights, equality and social involvement. The association promotes the health and well being of Sami people on the basis of their own language, values, tradi-tional know-how, way of living and culture.

In my work and positions of trust I have been able to get to know the different parts of Sápmi, the problems Sami people face every day and needs for improvement. In my work I see the results of the economic values that dominate in society: inequality, poverty and loneliness.

Many of the changes in society have had hard effects in the life of Sami people. On the one hand we have to adapt to today’s society and on the other hand we have to fight to save our culture and language. If our culture weakens, the amount of inequality and social exclusion increases among the Sami people.

Aim for the EY 2010
My aim for the European Year is to raise awareness on the position and rights of the only aboriginal people in European Union, the Sami people, and questions related to their social exclusion and involvement.

Especially, it is important to strengthen structures that enable Sami people to participate to society and help to keep Sami language and culture living for the future generations (among other things, this means services and education).

Reindeer management is a livelihood that belongs to Sami culture. It is the basis of the community and supports social involvement. Reindeer management is also a remarkable employer and source of living in the region. In the Sami community reindeer management is related to every aspect of family living: social relations, housing, transportation, knowledge of nature, traditional knowledge, use of nature and traditional handicraft.

During the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion it is important to find ways to improve the social involvement and livelihood of Sami people in the context of their own culture.

I became an ambassador to be able to awaken everyone and especially the decision-makers to think, what kind of results there are when everything is measured only by finance. We need actions and decisions that enable sharing real equality better for everyone.

Associated link