Samí activist and artist Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen wins “Zola Prize”

ISÁK or Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen performs during an event at the Dead Sea during King Harald and Queen Sonja's state visit to Jordan in 2020.
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Ella Marie Hætta Isaken, a Sami activist and artist, has been awarded this year’s prestigious ‘Zola Prize’ for civil courage.

Awarded for great civil courage, Isaken a strong ambassador for Sami youth

The Norwegian Sami activist and artist, Ella Marie Hætta Isaken, has been awarded this year’s “Zola Prize”. This is the second major award in the 24-year-old artist’s young career after winning the 2016 Samí Grand Prix. The Zola Prize is awarded each year to “individuals who have shown great civil courage in the fight for justice, for human rights and democracy” and singled out Isaken for her efforts in Norwegian society.

Isaksen was chosen by the Zola Board as they felt that she had highlighted how the “Norwegianization policy that has been pursued in Norway has damaged the Sami language, Sami culture and several generations of Sami.” Her environmental work against mining sludge in the Repparfjord, her book, and her musical work were also seen as important to contemporary Samí culture.

Isaken helped highlight what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is investigating

Karl Eldar Evang, chairman of the Zola Board, spoke of the decision to award the Tana local in a press release. He said that Board felt that “Isaksen has become a strong ambassador for the young generation of Samí. She also sees it as a task to educate the majority population.”

Evang also felt that Isaksen had “focused sharply on how the racist-based Norwegianization policy has damaged the Samí language and culture, and how it has affected many generations of Sami in their daily lives.”

Isaksen’s activism about the erosion of Sami culture by “Norwegianization” policies is exactly what a ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ was established, in 2018, to investigate. The Commission will deliver its final report on historical injustices against the Samí, Kvens, and Norwegian Fins to the Storting later this year.

Source : © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayCulture

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