Riddu Riddu Saami

Riddu Riddu, Norway

Riddu Riddu is an annual indigenous festival in the Norwegian part of Sápmi (Saami indigenous territory). Literally translated into ‘little storm by the coast’, Riddu Riddu was first held in 1991 by Saami youth with the objective of re-claiming their identity after 150 years of assimilation politics.

Since the beginning, the organizers have connected with other indigenous from all over the world who carry similar struggles and beliefs. Nowadays, Riddu Riddu is a truly unique meeting ground for people from all different walks of life, who are either indigenous themselves or non-indigenous who want to experience the world through indigenous eyes for a few days. Sinchi Foundation went to the 2019 edition of Riddu Riddu in july to experience the Saami way of life first hand and made a full photo and video documentation of the program, including an interview with the 28 years old festival director Sandra Márjá West. What we found there was a genuine celebration of humanity and a place where all people can find something they enjoy. The Saami culture clearly has a leading role in this event, as they are the rightful caretakers of the breathtaking environment in which the festival takes place. This year, there were both workshops on traditional Saami customs like joiking, crafting swords, eco gardening the Saami way, but also Inuit throatsinging, Greenlandic mask dance, tea ceremonies from Altaj and Tuvan traditional music.

The output of this visit is translated into 2 short documentaries about Saami identity (soon to be published) and Riddu Riddu Festival, and a series of portraits of visitors and their stories.

All photography was taken by Sinchi Photographer Mike van Kruchten