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How is Smi post-colonial identity negotiated through photographic images?

A a comparison between the photography of Jorma Puranen and of Olga Re. Candidate number: 426480

1 Introduction 1.1 The Smi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . a 2 6 9 13 17 22

2 Smi in Images a 2.1 2.2 Jorma Puranen - Imaginary Homecoming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ola Re Smi Diversities in the Turn of the Millennium . . . . . . . . . a

3 Conclusion

List of Figures
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 David Alfaro Siqueiros - Ethnography (Friendsofart, 2011) . . . . . . . . . . Smi Man as presented by Norwegian Tourist Board (Visitnorway, 2011) . . a Smi Protest (Galdu, 2011) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . a Faces in Snow (Puranen and Edwards, 1999) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faces on Birch Trees (Puranen and Edwards, 1999) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Transcript with Images (Re, 2011) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Family Scenes (Re, 2011) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Main Page (Re, 2011) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Youth (Re, 2011) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 11 12 14 16 18 19 20 22


Despite countless confusions to the contrary, it has been understood since the time of Aristotle that forms of cultural expression, both artistic and otherwise. . . do not reproduce reality itself; rather, in their various ways. . . each oer something which stands for an aspect of reality (Gidley, 1992). Photographic representation in the 21st century is one of the most powerful ways that identities are fashioned, both through acts of self-representation and via representations made by others. What Gidley fails to recognise here is the simultaneous existence of many realities with representations both depicting and at the same time constructing dierent realities. The Smi people of Lapland, as represented in photography, inhabit parallel and a seemingly opposed realities. The visual representations of Smi people in indigenous phoa tography, journalistic photography, photography for the tourism industry and contemporary artistic photography in their own way constitute realities both for Smi people and for a other consumers of the images. However the realities depicted by the dierent genres vary greatly. In this essay I will critique the work of Finnish photographer Jorma Puranen and Norwegian Smi photographer and activist Ola Re and question the relationship between phoa tography and Smi identity in these specic cases. I will draw upon critical photographic a and post-colonial theory to draw comparisons between the construction of indigenousness in contemporary political settings and the parallel construction of visual Smi identity via a contemporary photographic practice. I will argue that the presentation of an identity which is limited and xed and which ignores the experiences of those who do not t within the stereotypical image of a Smi indigenous person excludes a more nuanced understanding of a Smi identity but this can prove useful in certain contexts. Voices that do not t with an a archetypical image of traditional Smi are also represented photographically, however their a

remit is often far smaller than the spread of the romanticised, exoticised image. I demonstrate that photography has the potential to contribute to the deconstruction of stereotypical assumptions and be a medium for the assertion of alternative views, however it is dicult to change the visual allegories by which the Smi are generally known. I will begin with a an outline of the present day Smi situation with regards to indigenous rights. Then I will a briey set the scene of Smi representation in tourist literature and indigenous responses to a such representation. Then I will progress to my reading of Puranens and Res work. I will investigate how these specic photographic works encapsulate dierent notions of the Smi a as historical people of the land who necessarily exist in the landscape and are as much a part of it as the birch trees and lakes but who also possess modern identities and often live a far less exotic life than is imagined by outsiders. Post-colonialism seeks to critique the often negative eects of colonialism on cultures and its theories are equally applicable to indigenous cultures which may not have been ocially colonised but that have suered subjugation by dominating cultural systems. Such is the case with the Smi people - Europes only indigenous group (recognised as such a by the United Nations). The Smi traditionally live in a sparsely populated region known a as Smpi which is spread across Northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula a of Russia and together they number about 80-95,000 individuals (with a majority living in Norway), however an exact gure is dicult to count (Henriksen, 2008). They see themselves as possessing long-standing roots in this territory and regard other inhabitants as settlers (Aikio et al., 1994, p.84). During the nineteenth and twentieth century the Smi faced a intense pressures of cultural assimilation and subjugation, mainly through the powers of the church and through state education policies. In Norway the use of Smi language in schools a was eectively banned until the late 1960s (Henriksen, 2008). American Smi scholar Rauna Kuokkanen questions why the Smi today have not reached a a greater degrees of self-determination when they have enjoyed comparably more advantages 3

in education and access to international platforms than other indigenous groups for example in Canada and New Zealand (Kuokkanen, 2009). She argues that the answer may lie in the quiet and conservative nature of Smi resistance to cultural assimilation through acts of a withdrawal and diplomacy combined with the dicult task of translating such opposition into a visible and public discourse. She references Julls (1995, p.109) argument that there is no change in policy without changing publication perceptions (Kuokkanen, 2006). Visual media, in particular photography, has the potential to inuence public perception of the Smi a and also aects self-perception. Images presented of Smi are often essentialising, bordering a of stereotyping, and therefore can be extremely restrictive. There are dangers associated with the stereotype for people negotiating post-colonial situations around the world. The stories that are told (or not told) about a people can powerfully aect a culture and inuence the desire of individuals to express a particular identity. Photographs of indigenous people build visual narratives with either constructive or destructive implications - groups whom have experienced explicit cultural attack are especially vulnerable to the eects of photographic representation, both positive and negative. Identity can be classied as a sense of belonging to a group or conforming to an ideal (Hall and Du Gay, 1996), and showing allegiance to people of the same identity. Theories of identity have proved problematic, with critics dismissing the idea of a fundamental core identity, in favour of a more uid model. The concept has not been dismissed or erased altogether however, as in certain contexts it seems to hold its ground, particularly in what Stewart Hall terms the politics of location. Hall argues that theorists are unable to avoid identity even with all of the problems they nd with the concept - identity operates under erasure in the interval between reversal and emergence; an idea which cannot be thought in the old way, but without which certain key questions cannot be thought at all. (Hall and Du Gay, 1996, p.16). The concept of Smi identity will be investigated in this essay and I will a demonstrate that there are (at least) two distinct but not opposed identities working parallel 4

to one another for modern Smi who wish to present themselves as indigenous peoples but a who also struggle with representation which does not t their modern lived-reality. This complex mix of identities is apparent in the photographic work that I shall discuss below. There are various ways that identities are constructed and maintained. The photographic image is important in identity construction and ever more so with the contemporary spread of widely available digital technologies and practices of digital photo sharing. The prominence of the photographic image in twenty-rst century globalised society means that people everywhere can seemingly make a visual approximation of cultures geographically far removed from their own. Education, the media and advertising all exploit the power of images to convey desired messages, often presenting images in a realist manner, promoting the idea of a window looking into what ever is being depicted. Alan Sekula argues that mass culture and mass education lean heavily on photographic realism, mixing pedagogy and entertainment in an avalanche of images. (Sekula, 1987, p.187). We are trained through constant exposure to view visual images as bearers of truth. The documentary nature of photography invites the viewer to believe that what is seen is reality and not to recognise it as a representation, or even a construction of reality (Sekula, 1987). This can be very powerful when it comes to manipulating desired outcomes of an image, for example in advertising. However, to those whom are vulnerable to misrepresentation, the truthfulness of visual representation becomes imperative. Such is the case with visual representation of indigenous peoples who have tended to be subjected to a history of misrepresentation and violent subjugation. Of course, now that photographic technology is so widely available, people who hold positions of marginality and whom have traditionally been depicted only by others, can make their own representations of their personal realities and can make use of far-reaching distribution as social-media technology continues to develop at great speed. However, as I shall discuss below, the potential audiences of these images compared with those who see images produced by the 5

non-indigenous other remain limited. Also, media produced by indigenous people does not necessarily make for more truthful representation in fact the concept of truth seems redundant and should be replaced by subjective individual experience. As Howard S. Becker has argued, representation leaves out much, in fact, most, of reality representation involves processes of selection, translation, arrangement, and interpretation and this is no less so for indigenous media (Becker, 2007, p.126). Indigenous representations are part of a self-fashioning exercise and often they must work within non-indigenous pre-existing frameworks, leading to even further complication and blurring of cultural boundaries. There is a dual parallel identity construction taking place amongst the Smi that is not a only reected in the content of visual images but is actually formed by them. This dual identity combines both essentialised images and images of Smi which are less focused on a capturing dierence. On one side is an identity projected internationally through entertainment photography, tourist literature and the indigenous movement in which an essentialised link with the land is emphasised. The other is an identity more reective of the troubles that people have tting into such an ideal of what it means to be Smi, through personal photoga raphy distributed in much smaller circles. Both identities co-exist, one is useful in political and commercial enterprises, and one is useful to the individual, for their own negotiation of identity but both are intimately intertwined.


The Smi a

Archaeology has indicated that Smi settlement patterns 2000 years ago were spread over a a much larger area than today, but over time Smi populations have withdrawn to the most a northern parts of the region (Aikio et al., 1994). Traditional economic activities were mainly hunting and shing but during the seventeenth century reindeer husbandry began to hold a position of high prestige (ibid ). Reindeer are what most people associate with Smi today, a however only a minority actually rely on reindeer as a main source of income (Weaver, 2006). 6

The Smi share similar cultural features across the state borders that divide them; however, a it would be false to assume cultural homogeneity as there are considerable variations in language, livelihood, and the arts amongst many other things. There is no formally recognised denition of the term Sami (Henriksen, 2008), however section 2-6 of the Smi Act a

outlines those who are entitled to vote in Smi Parliament a

elections and these criteria can be taken as dening who is identied as Smi: a Everyone who declares that they consider themselves to be a Smi, and who either (i) has a Smi as home language, or (ii) has or has had parents, grandparents or great-grandparents a with Smi as home language have the right to be enrolled in the Smi census in the region a a of residence. It is fundamental to note the subjectivity of self-identication in this process. Smi a identity involves self-subscription and an active desire to be recognised as such. The Smi a Parliament was established in Norway, Sweden and Finland respectively in 1987, 1992 and 1995 its main goal being to facilitate the involvement of Smi people in policy decisions on a matters pertaining to them, however the way that the each individual state has negotiated with the Smi Parliament has not been uniform (Errico and Hocking, 2008). a One uniting experience of many contemporary Smi is the common threat of land struga gles. The land which has been traditionally used by the Smi for reindeer pasture and a hunting is under continued threat of exploitation from natural resources industries and local competition from non-Smi inhabitants. There have been numerous court cases where a ownership of land is at stake with the Smi asserting their rights over land they have used a for generations. The Smi Council a their organisation: 1- We, the Smi, are one people and state borders shall not divide us. 2- We have our a
Act of 12 June 1987 No. 56 concerning the Sameting (the Smi Parliament) and other Smi legal matters a a as subsequently amended by Act of 11 April 2003 No.22. 2 Smi Political Program 1980. Second edition 1986 a

formulated a statement outlining two central tenets to

own history, traditions, culture and language. From our ancestors, we have inherited the right to land, water and livelihoods. However, in reality there is large internal variation between Smi groups and state borders a are divisive. Ancestral inheritance of land is fundamental to indigenous identity politics. Rapporteur of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations, Erica-Irene Daes states that indigenous peoples have a profound relationship to their traditional lands and that there is a need for a dierent conceptual framework to understand this relationship and a need for a recognition of the cultural dierences that exist 3 . It is clear from the literature published by the UN regarding indigenous peoples that an essentialised Smi identity is being a invoked in favour of Smi identity an identity based on traditional economic and spiritual a links to the land. It is important to question simplistic notions of indigenous identity and to ask whether there exists a similar profound relationship with the land between non-Smi a who live in the same conditions and do similar kinds of work. A unied, essentialised notion of what it is to be Smi is a powerful tool in political settings but it disregards individual a experience and over-simplies Smi identity. a
Daes 1999; para 10 HUMAN RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES. Report of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations on its seventeenth session(Geneva, 26-30 July 1999) Chairperson-Rapporteur: Ms. Erica-Irene A. Daes)

Smi in Images a

Figure 1: David Alfaro Siqueiros - Ethnography (Friendsofart, 2011) I will begin this section with an image seemingly removed from Smi identity politics, howa ever the image is a visual allegory of the kind of representational issues facing the Smi a today. The image is by Mexican social realist painter David Alfaro Siqueiros (gure 1). It is his 1939 portrait titled Ethnography which depicts a Mexican indigenous person with their 9

face obscured by an olmec mask, about which Deborah Poole asserts: it is a mystery hiding rather than revealing the nature of the life of the person and culture it represents. (Poole, 2005, p.3). Ethnographic pursuits by anthropologists and artists can be criticised on the grounds that they construct sometimes obscuring assumptions about cultures 4 . However, it is not only representation made by outsiders which can be obscuring, images produced by subjects themselves can prove equally restrictive. Octavio Paz argues that we are inseparable from our ctions, our features. We are condemned to invent a mask and to discover afterward that the mask invents our true visage. (Paz, 1990, p.216). We are in danger of subscribing to self-made essentialised projections condemned to be trapped in our own assumptions of how we must be. Today, most Smi people have modern occupations with only 1 in 10 adults practicing a reindeer husbandry (Weaver, 2006). Tourism plays a major part in the economic life of many Smi. The projection in tourist literature of traditional Smi identity remains one a a of the key attractions for tourists wanting to witness indigenous modes of living. This encompasses expectations of traditional dress, housing, craftwork, song and an essential naturalness within the landscape. Kautokeino is a town in Northern Norway where 85% of the population have Smi as their rst language. The town is promoted through the a Norwegian tourist board as being a place where one can experience a dierent and exotic culture of the Smi people. The Smi culture is vivid and authentic even in the modern a a society of today (Visitnorway, 2011). The image accompanying this text is of a man in traditional dress with a reindeer sleigh behind him (gure 2). The promise of a vivid and authentic cultural experience is what sustains much tourism in Lapland, coupled with the appeal of nature activities. Tourism holds an ambiguous status for the Smi as on the a
Ethnographic pursuits have historically come up against criticism of obscuring rather than illuminating other cultures. Visual ethnographic representation is under even greater suspicion and today the subdiscipline of visual anthropology remains on the margins of the eld. Anthropologists have been, and to a certain extent still are, suspicious of photographic images because of the specter of race (Edwards, 2001)


Figure 2: Smi Man as presented by Norwegian Tourist Board (Visitnorway, 2011) a one hand it oers economic opportunities and a chance to promote indigenous culture and potentially gain wider support for their indigenous rights issues. On the other hand, tourism can be exploitative and insensitive particularly when Smi involvement is limited and a control over representation is taken out of Smi hands. The primary visual statement of a Smi-ness through traditional clothing invites the gaze of the tourist and usually also of a their camera so that even those Smi individuals who do not work in tourism but who a happen to be wearing traditional dress, become viable tourist objects. As a reaction to this the wearing of traditional clothes is now predominantly only on special occasions or for tourist displays (Weaver, 2006). Through the over-exposure of traditional Smi culture for a the tourism industry, Weaver argues that Smi identity is essentialised so that modern Smi a a


identities which are far removed from those commonly depicted are marginalised.

Figure 3: Smi Protest (Galdu, 2011) a In 2008 there was an organised protest against misleading cultural projections and distortions in tourist information relating to the Smi 5 . Photographs from this demonstration a are currently displayed on the Smi indigenous peoples website They are a a powerful set of images displaying the vigour and passion behind Smi opposition to what a they see as cultural degradation. Figure 3 depicts the marching protesters holding various signs with slogans such as I like real things, and Respect the real. Cultural authenticity is something which holds a deep resonance for these people in the face of tourist representations that remain outside of their control. It is notions of being a real Smi which spur a
Representatives gathered in Roveneimi in Finnish Lapland for a week in October 2008 with the aim to address misrepresentations they felt were being perpetrated by the Finnish tourism industry against them. Such oences include the sale of merchandise including clothing and craftwork bearing little resemblance to actual Smi traditional wares and the stereotypical and often false representations of Smi culture in tourist a a literature.


people into wanting to promote an understanding of real Smi culture instead of the often a streamlined version sold to tourists. The protestors in the photograph wear their traditional costumes to add to the visual opposition to the fake clothing being sold. They also carry the Smi ag a visual symbol only devised in the 1980s with the formation of the Smi a a Parliament. The ag symbolises the movement for Smi solidarity across nations and stands a for Smi indigenous identity. These visual demonstrations of collective Smi identity rely a a heavily on essentialised traditions and symbols of indigeneity. Here essentialism is used for political means as a statement of cultural authenticity.


Jorma Puranen - Imaginary Homecoming

Imaginary Homecomings is a collection of photographs taken of a landscape installation Jorma Puranen worked on which involved taking copies of old archive photographs of the Smi and setting them into the landscape where they were originally shot. The archive a photographs were taken during prince Roland Bonapartes expedition to Lapland in the late nineteenth century. At the time of making the images for Imaginary Homecomings (19911997) Puranen had already been working in Lapland for two decades, and had become very familiar with families there. Puranen felt compelled to make something of the images he had come across in the museum archive in Paris and wanted to explore temporal and spatial distance (Puranen and Edwards, 1999, p.11) and open up a dialogue through a metaphorical return of the archive images to their original spatial context in the Finnmarken province of northern Norway.


Figure 4: Faces in Snow (Puranen and Edwards, 1999) Puranen asserts that he gained intimate insight into Smi identity through long disa cussions with individuals in Smi villages and gleaned that subtle visual perceptions and a inferences represent a crucial source of information in the Smi world (ibid, p.11). He argues a that landscape where Smi identities are projected and thus it is landscape which features a most heavily in his work. However, it is Puranens own pre-occupation with landscape that comes across most strong in this and later work of his. The image of Smi faces being proa jected on to the snow (gure 4) is highly aesthetic and a powerful symbol of Smi ancestry a and inherited land rights - it could be an icon for the Smi indigenous movement analogous a to the image of the whale as a symbol for the wildlife protection movement. This image, with the faces of the past looking out from the prints and doubling up in their projections onto 14

snow xes the Smi in the land and binds their identity to it. The ring of faces stood upright a in the snow and the projected images on the ground can also be viewed in another way the upright positioning makes the images look rather like tombstones with the projected images as graves. The images are all of long dead people whose lives in actuality we know little about. Puranens assumption about the essential link between landscape and the Smi a does not leave much room for alternative Smi narratives. Preservation and resurrection a of images of long dead people do not tell the story of those people, or of their descendants negotiating Smi identity today; the image remains a projection of Puranens ideas. a Elizabeth Edwards accompanying essay to the publication of Imaginary Homecomings contributes a great deal to the photographs in terms of contextualising them within an academic framework, paying particular attention to the historical and contemporary position of archival imagery. However the reader learns little about contemporary Smi predicaments. a Of course the publication was not intended as a guide to the modern day Smi, it is more a of a poetic response to the implications and possibilities of archive photography. Yet, by exhibiting the work internationally, Puranens images carry the burden of representing an identity, or a Smi state of being, which people not familiar with Smi existence will store in a a their already existing frameworks as another image of indigenousness essentially linked with landscape and almost trapped in history.


Figure 5: Faces on Birch Trees (Puranen and Edwards, 1999) Sontag (1977) makes connections between capitalist society and photography, arguing that: A capitalist society requires a culture based on images in order to stimulate buying and anaesthetise the injuries of class, race and sex. Puranens work can be viewed as falling into this category of images created for the purpose of capitalist consumption. His images circulate in the international art market and were initially exhibited at several international institutions before having their homecoming in Lapland at the Siida museum in Finland. They are created following his own particular aesthetic style around which his career as an artist is based. The work therefore is produced and consumed in a capitalist context and the indigenous perspective in this is unclear. The presentation of the Other in the art world has been written about extensively (Foster, 1995; Schneider, 2006) and common consensus 16

agrees that it is a fertile position to exploit. However, as Hal Foster argues, artists often do not commit fully to the rigours of participant observation that would rival the standards of anthropology, and therefore their representations can be simplistic (Foster, 1995). I would say that Puranens work is not at all simplistic, it stimulates complex engagement with issues surrounding archive photography. However, if the work is viewed as contributing to representation of Smi identity, to both audiences abroad and to Smi themselves, it a a promotes a limited view. Perhaps its practical value lies in the public demonstration of the importance of land and history to Smi identity; Puranens work has been exhibited a extensively and public engagement allows for dialogue and debate on Smi issues. However, a the Smi are somewhat frozen in the tundra in Puranens photographs, their ancestors a looking out from the landscape and very much part of the natural word - even becoming part of the trees (gure 5). The individuals depicted are un-named, ambiguous, and voiceless, and therefore an engagement with these photographs mainly elicits reactions on the history of the Smi as a collective people bound to nature. Perhaps its importance lies in the a imaginary repatriation to Lapland of archival imagery which Puranen facilitated. However the repatriation is indeed imaginary control and appropriation of the images still remains in the hands of Puranen the outsider no matter how intimate he is with Smi families. a


Ola Re Smi Diversities in the Turn of the Millennium a

Indigenous photography, like other visual media (as analysed by Ginsburg 1991) provides an outlet for the communication, defense, and strengthening of cultural, national, or ethnic identities that preexist, and thus transcend, the media form itself, as they are simultaneously shaped by it (Poole, 2005). The Smi indigenous movement along with the indigenous tourism industry present an a essentialised image of Smi identity as being xed within the Lapland landscape and to Smi a a cultural heritage. The reality of many modern Smi is that identity is something which is a 17

Figure 6: Transcript with Images (Re, 2011) constantly negotiated and can change dependant on context. The Norwegian anthropologist and Smi activist Jorunn Eikjok co-ordinated the production of a website containing a photographs and text as a space for alternative expressions of Smi identity. The site was proa duced in collaboration with the University Hospital of Troms. It features the photographs of Ola Re alongside transcriptions of interviews with the Smi individuals visually reprea sented (gure 6). What emerges is a picture of Smi identity in ux and in this instability is a a productive ambiguity whereby individuals play up or suppress their Smi-ness dependent a on the situation. The photographs themselves are intimate portraits depicting family scenes (gure 7), individuals in leisure and work activities and hardly any following the typical Smi in the landscape stereotype. Eijok explains on the front page of the website (gure a 18

Figure 7: Family Scenes (Re, 2011) 8) that the impetus for the project came from witnessing a strong feeling of marginalization and misrepresentation on the part of Smi people. On the front page it states: a The stereotypes contribute towards making the diversity in the Smi population invisible. a At worst, they lead to the propagation and continuation of negative prejudices. They also contribute towards creating identity problems for people who fall outside of the xed images. This burden falls especially hard on the youth with Smi background, who thereby experience a diculties in nding reections of their situation and identity in the public sphere. (Re, 2011) Through the photography and text on the website the individual perspective is represented and acknowledged and an alternative projection of Smi identity is allowed. a 19

Figure 8: Main Page (Re, 2011) The project was published on the internet in 1996, making innovative use of multimedia to counteract prevalent negative and restrictive misrepresentations. However, the site does have some drawbacks, one being that the interview text is only provided in Norwegian or in English, and not in Smi. This seems a crucial oversight and it is perhaps because the a intended audience of the website was the younger generation of Smi who are in the most a liminal position in terms of their Smi identity and who are very likely to know either a Norwegian or English but perhaps not Smi. Alternatively, the website is intended for a Norwegian and wider international audiences to gain understanding of the Smi as people a whose everyday lives are not too dissimilar from their own. This is one way in which the


racial prejudices mentioned on the homepage can be tackled. The information presented in the interview transcripts is subjective and personal, much like the images themselves. There is a recognition of individual identity over collective identity and this is one of the main dierences between this work and the work of Puranen. Smi identity is presented as a something which the individual has control over and can strategically manipulate. One of the subjects is quoted as saying: I dont place great emphasis on being Smi if Im home in Masi, for example, because its a so natural. Perhaps its in the predominantly Norwegian environments that we sometimes feel the urge to demonstrate our Sminess more strongly. It can be the way in which one a argues in a discussion, for example, taking the Smi point of view and things like that, or a simply by the outward eects in dressing yourself in a kofte or by doing other things that show that youre Smi. (Re, 2011) a Stewart Hall argues that identities are products of the marking of dierence and exclusion rather than the result of a unity within a group (Hall and Du Gay, 1996, p.17). For the Smi depicted here in Res photography, Smi identity is something they recognise as a a a construct and is therefore something they have control over, through both acts of suppression and engagement. For the inuential French post-colonial theorist Frantz Fanon, one of his central arguments about racial inequality was about its visual underpinnings that visual technologies contribute to establishing distance (Poole, 2005). In Res photography the Smi, instead of presenting images which increase the distance between the viewer and the a subject, the Smi are shown to possess many similar characteristics to non-Smi people of a a Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Clothing, food, home interiors , leisure pursuits, and particularly representations of youth (gure 9) in Res photography are eectively points of recognition between Smi and non-Smi. This reduction of dierence is not a suppression of a a Smi identity rather it is a recognition of the actuality of living as a contemporary Smi and a a is a representation of all of the cultural mixing and hybridity this entails. The photographs 21

Figure 9: Youth (Re, 2011) are a statement of identity one which is characterised by a closing of the gap of cultural distance between Smi and non-Smi. a a


Homi K. Bhabha (1983) argues that the stereotype is not false but is an arrested, xated form of representation that aects an individuals psychic and social relations (p.374). Photographs are powerful tools for the presentation of identities and it is ultimately the way that certain things are included or excluded from the photographic frame that determines whether a representation is a stereotype. The somewhat stereotyped representation by Jorma Puranen is similar in some ways to those found in tourist literature in that the eect of 22

such images on Smi identity can prove too much to live up to. There is an inherent a assumption encoded into these images that to be a real Smi one is expected to match a these representations and be a traditional person of the land. The stereotype becomes the obscuring olmec mask as depicted in Siqueiros painting. This mask turns Smi identity a into a performative role, which is acted out in particular contexts. However, this is not to say that the Smi have not benetted from this cultural perfora mance and the essentialising of Smi identity. They are fully aware of their own picturesque a value. The Smi protests over misrepresentation perpetrated by the tourist industry were a more about the Smi claiming control over exactly how their culture is represented, not about a the commercialisation of these representations. Tourism continues to play an important part in Smi economy and it is only fair that there is an element of Smi control and that they a a reap some benets from their cultural performance. Whist the stereotype gives knowledge of dierence and simultaneously disavows or masks it. (Bhabha, 1983, p.375), essentialisms are also a powerful tool for uniting fragmented identities for a common purpose, in what Spivak terms strategic essentialism (Spivak, 1987), be it for tourism or for the struggle for indigenous rights. Perhaps a post-colonial pre-occupation with indigenous essentialised representation can actually be restrictive in itself and can perpetuate the notion that dominant and marginal cultures actually exist as binary opposites. Christopher Morton and Elizabeth Edwards have argued, regarding approaches to the anthropological photographic archive, that viewing photographs in a manner which over-determines the dynamics of power relations can eectively silence precisely those voices the indigenous, the Other, the disempowered that they intended to valorize. (Morton and Edwards, 2009). Homi K. Bhabha argues for the recognition of cultural ambiguity and hybridity and as we move further into the 21st century, with increased global access to information, indigenous identities will undergo considerable change along with the rest of the world. Simultaneously, an imaginary au23

thentic and pristine indigenous culture will remain of high value to the tourism industry and to a certain extent the indigenous movement, whilst becoming further removed from indigenous people themselves. We need to create new visual frameworks, if contemporary hybrid identities are to be acknowledged by wider public images that do not t within pre-existing representational frameworks prove harder to take hold than stereotypical ones. For the Smi, their history of cultural subjugation has of course left indelible marks a on their identity. The recognition of this has contributed to the current trend of cultural revival with the establishing of Smi cultural institutions, research centres, and eorts to a engage Smi youth in their Smi heritage. However, marginalization may be replicated in a a the way that these eorts are co-ordinated and in how the results are distributed (or not distributed). With the photographic works discussed above the audiences that they reach are totally dissimilar in terms of size, location and familiarity with the Smi. Ola Res a work is only accessible through her website so prior knowledge of her work or of the project in collaboration with the Troms hospital is required for access. However, Puranens work has been exhibited internationally and published in the form of a glossy book. There is a much greater potential reach of this work and subsequently the ideas expressed in it and the imagined identity of Smi people constructed in the work reaches further. Smi resistance a a to stereotypical representation has local importance and reach, but on an international scale a stereotypical projection of Smi identity remains strong. The Smi indigenous movement a a challenges personal Smi identity in its presentation of Smi identity as collective and rigid. a a For Smi people themselves, local distribution of images which challenge stereotypes provides a an important acknowledgement that modern Smi identity is highly individualised, uid and a adaptable in nature.


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