Truth and Reconciliation

Video: Healing the Past for the Future: The Sámi in Finland – a Model for Reconciliation? by Bob Coen. Video by Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution.


Research Professor Antti Pentikäinen, director of the Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation (MHCR), has been assisting the Government of Finland and the Sámi Indigenous People in launching a Truth and Reconciliation Process. The Sámi are the last living indigenous people in Europe who for centuries have been subject to colonial policies and assimilation.

A video created by MHCR speaks about the importance of the process and outlines the uniquely designed three-track approach, which aims to address legacies of intergenerational pain. The work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will be complemented with the training of insider reconcilers and the advancement of trauma healing. The insider reconcilers will receive academic training on reconciliation practices and lead intra- and inter-communal reconciliation efforts. The trauma healing will be equally led by a Sámi specialist.

George Mason University is partnering with the United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) to continue these training sessions in Inari, Finland, in February 2020 for mainly Sámi and Inuit participants. Pentikäinen will be providing these training sessions with Eduardo Gonzalez and Anne Nuorgam, the latter of whom is the Chair of the UNPFII.

The culture and experiences of the Sámi have recently been highlighted in the popular movie Frozen II. Disney worked with Sámi parliaments and signed a contract to respectfully portray their culture and release a version of the film with dubbing in the Sámi language.