Monday, February 6, 2017

Sami National Day

Today, February 6, is national Sami day, celebrated in the Nordic countries, as it is around the world, wherever Sami people and their friends and allies live.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, it has been celebrated for several years at the Scandinavian Cultural Center at Pacific Lutheran University outside Tacoma. The festivities for today are now re-scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 2:30 because of snow and school closings.

2017 holds special resonance. A hundred years ago, in Trondheim, the first pan-Sami congress took place. This 1917 congress was largely conceived and organized by Elsa Laula Renberg, who gave the opening address. There were others who played a role organizing and publicizing the event, including Daniel Mortenson, a reindeer herder and editor from Røros, Norway;  the Norwegian journalist Ellen Lie, who managed press coverage; and Anna Erika Löfwander Jarwson, who opened up her hotel in Trondheim for Sami guests and who took care of many of the arrangements for food and drink.

Herders and their families came from all over Norway and Sweden. They debated a number of issues, including schooling for their children, herding rights, conflicts with settlers, and the use of “Sami” instead of “Lapp.”

Today in Trondheim, the festivities were attended by Sweden’s Culture Minister Alice Bah Kuhnke and by Norway’s King Harald and Prime Minister Erna Solberg will also attend. Solberg was quoted as saying, "Previously, we have apologized on behalf of the Norwegian people for the Norwegianizing policy that was led for not only decades, but in fact hundreds of years, where we tried to remove the Sami’s cultural expression."

Saturday, February 4, 2017

ALTA and other translation organizations stand up for cross-cultural exchange

A Joint Statement on the Executive Order
Restricting Immigrant and Refugee Entry into the US

Dear ALTA colleagues and friends,
We the undersigned wish to affirm that freedom of expression and unfettered exchange of ideas are among the core tenets of our society as much as they are indispensable means of cross-cultural understanding and peaceful co-existence. Writers, translators and interpreters would be vulnerable to the far-reaching consequences of the travel ban; these professionals are crucial to the advancement of cross-cultural cooperation, and their efforts would be harmed by the corrosive effects of distrust and exclusion. If national security is our priority, we should recognize that we are safer with the knowledge translators provide about the culture, values, and humanity of other countries. At a time in history when people feel so divided, we believe that our stories—and the people who make it possible to hear them told—are critical to sustaining our coexistence. We voice our support for the refugees fleeing wars—for whom the U.S. has always been a place of refuge, and whose spirit of creativity and innovation has made our cultural and artistic life all the richer and infinitely more diverse. Turning away today's refugees may amount to turning down immeasurable human potential. We therefore urge the President to rescind the travel ban immediately.

American Literary Translators Association
Center for the Art of Translation
PEN America Translation Committee & Subcommittee on Freedom of Expression
Red T
Words Without Borders