Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

October 15, 2021

From the Gulf of Finland to the Arctic Circle, Zapatistas link with Sami and Finland's Struggles

Meeting with the Sápmi people inside a large Lavvu tent.
Photo: Suomi Armadillo Collective

From the Gulf of Finland to the Arctic Circle, the Zapatistas link  with Finland's Struggles.

Grieta Collective
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Original en Espanol
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October 10, 2021 - Traveling from end to end of Finland, the Zapatista delegation "La Extemporánea" has met with collectives, organizations and individuals learning about their struggles and resistances, learning and exchanging experiences. The Armadillo Suomi Collective of Finland has documented and shared different moments of this journey that has taken the indigenous Mayan rebels from Helsinki on the shores of the Gulf of Finland to the territory of the Sami people, within the Arctic Circle, in the town of Ohcejohka, where the borders of capital mark the boundary between Finland and Norway.

In Helsinki, the Zapatista comrades met to learn about the experiences of immigrants in Finland. In this meeting, music was present through "Las Jaranas del Norte" and a Finnish choir. Also in Helsinki, activists of the "Free movement" and other collectives in defense of migrants' rights shared their experiences of struggle with La Extemporánea.

In the extreme north of Finland, in the territory of the Sami people, "La Extemporánea" met in a Lavvu, a traditional reindeer herders' tent with comrades from the Ohcejohka community. There, they learned how extractive projects threaten the Sami people's grazing territories, affecting their annual migrations through the Nordic taiga.

In the city of Oulu, on the northeastern shores of the Gulf of Bothnia, 160km south of the Arctic Circle, the Journey for Life included a meeting with collectives such as Elokapina Oulu, which fights in defense of the environment and promotes peaceful civil disobedience; Oulutopia, a collective that has organized a whole cycle of video screenings, talks and forums to spread the Zapatista struggle in this Finnish city. The indigenous Mexicans also met with the Punk group Paskakaupuni.

Throughout its journey through Finland, "La Extemporánea" has participated in various forums, symposiums and discussions with environmental and feminist collectives, exchanging experiences of struggle in defense of Mother Earth and against capitalism that destroys it and thus threatens our lives. From the jungle to the boreal taiga, the delegation has carried out its task of learning from the struggles of other peoples and other lands.

Communities dedicated to reindeer herding, feminist collectives, migrant workers in struggle, environmental collectives, a call to "not forget the spirit of Yanga", the cry of solidarity against the aggressions of the bad Mexican government towards the Zapatistas, have been some of the flashes of the Zapatista journey through Finnish lands. Flashes that barely suggest what, without shining, illuminates the steps of this delegation, its joy, preparation and willingness to listen.

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