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Reindeer in my Saami Heart

Janet Merewether
Australia, 2016, 73 min.

In English & Northern Saami with English subtitles.
This film is family friendly.

Inghilda Tapio, an inspirational writer, is one of the last generation of Indigenous Saami born into a nomadic reindeer herding culture. Her family continues its herding traditions in Saapmi, their preferred name for the Arctic region previously known as Lapland. Inghilda is a member of Sweden "stolen generation," forced by the Swedish government to attend residential boarding schools in the 1950s. At the age of seven she was removed from her parents for months at a time and forced to speak Swedish. Despite these challenges, Inghilda attended university, becoming a poet, performer, and champion of her Saami language and culture.

Director's Statement

Filmed over a ten-year period, Reindeer in my Saami Heart is my first feature documentary, made with the collaboration of Inghilda Tapio and her family in Saapmi, Sweden and Norway's Arctic Circle. This documentary celebrates Inghilda's life and poetry, and the struggle of the Saami in Sweden for cultural survival. The film reveals Sweden's harsh "assimilation" policies, and the damage caused when Indigenous children are denied the right to speak or be educated in their own language. These policies were also introduced in Australia and North America, which gives this award-nominated film relevance to international audiences of all ages.

Category: Documentary.
Themes: Culture, Community, Human Rights, Identity, Language, Poetry, Women, World Cinema.

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