Etnografiskt museum ber om ursäkt för nidbilder om samerna

Det etnografiska museet i Hamburg, Museum für Völkerkunde, Tyskland, har under våren 2012  haft en utställning om samer och samisk kultur. Utställningen presenterade nidbilder på samerna och slarvigt ihopsatt samedräkt som gav ett intryck av samerna som ett primitivt folk.

I samisk media och på Facebook fanns protester mot utställningen.
Verddeviessu skickade ett protestbrev till ledningen för Etnografiska museumet i Hamburg.

Chefen för Det etnografiska museet i Hamburg, Museum für Völkerkunde, ber nu om ursäkt och förklarar utställningen. Här är svaret till Verddeviessu:

”Verddeviessu – Sami Center against discrimination and racism,

Thank you very much for your mail concerning the way the Museum of Ethnology in Hamburg presented the Sami people in a small part of a general exhibition about the relation of the traditional way of nomadic life in a modern sedentary surrounding, curated by the University of Leipzig. I received it yesterday. The exhibition closed regularly last Sunday as it had reached its final date. We are filled with consternation about your bad impressions as we have a long tradition of excellent and free of doubt cooperation with Sami people and have the highest esteem for their culture.

As far as I could get from the Swedish text, you sent me, your concern is essentially about one display case with caricatures on Sami people. As it seems, that you were only able to judge by pictures, taken by someone else, you could probably have got a wrong impression of our intention.

In this showcase we confronted books like “The Sami”, edited by the Sami parliament and other scientific books, i.e. the right explanation about the Sami way of living, with caricatures depicting the most popular prejudices about Sami people. I copy you part of the English text, where we point this out to the visitors and we do so as well in the German text placed nearby to this display as well. We find that a very tried and tested way in museums pedagogies of making people aware of their own prejudices. If we have offended the Sami people involuntarily with this way of production, we apologize for what we see as a deplorable misunderstanding and will take in the future even more care, that such misunderstandings don’t dull again the otherwise shining cooperation that started more than 30 years ago between Sami people and our museum.
With best regards
Prof. Dr. Wulf Köpke
- director –“

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