Drag, Hamarøy: Very few people had heard about Tysfjord municipality in Nordland, Norway before the revealing of a series of child abuse cases placed the municipality firmly on the map. Árran Lule-Sami Center is still working with the aftermath of it all.
Director Lars Magne Andreassen and Árran were placed in charge of confidence building, to create something to be proud about. In addition; raising awareness about Sami cultural understanding.
“During one busy year, we trained 1,000 public employees. This work has now been prolonged for two years, as we are not quite there yet”, says Lars Magne Andreassen.
His concern is that the Sami had very little trust in public authorities.
“One way through which to build such trust was to provide public authorities with this knowledge. That is where we can play a part.”
The young are hesitant
In his interview with High North News, Andreassen also tells about the Mihá cultural festival, a festival about provide.
What is the purpose of the work you do now?
“We hope to get back to a normal situation in which undesired incidents are immediately picked up once they happen. We have to avoid what the Tysfjord Case was: Decades of accumulated reporting. The number of reports to the police has dropped significantly, though there will always be abuse.”
Does the Tysfjord Case and the abuse still hover over everyday life in this municipality?
“There are still some open processes. Some receive help, and there are court cases scheduled. Yet some are still quite weary, and young people hesitate telling others where they come from.”
In the interview, Lars Magne Andreassen also comments on a claim that there is a more aggressive rebellion amongst Sami youth.
“I think they feel that things are moving too slow. I believe they oppose the consequences of the policies that have been led in the past. The young are impatient and want things to be fixed. I very much like the angry ones”, Andreassen says.
Watch the whole interview with Árran Director Lars Magne Andraessen on top of this page. [English subtitling available via YouTube.]
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This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.