Ups and Downs

Stockholm, Sweden – 4:12pm – Heavy Snow – (32º F) – Sunrise: 8:38am Sunset: 3:13pm

Quite the day here. Both Danika and I woke up feeling absolutely awful with no real explanation. We tried to venture out for breakfast, had coffee and a delicious kardemummabulle, but it was hard to enjoy due to the intense stomach issues going on. Went back to the apartment, took a nap, woke up around 12:15 and felt good enough to try again, but poor Danika did not and has spent the day in bed. It’s a bummer to waste a whole day while traveling, but shit happens, sometimes literally.

I devoted my afternoon to the Nordic Museum, and saw a lot of really fabulous exhibits on fashion, Scandinavian furniture design, folk art, Sweden and sugar, and appropriately enough for my post yesterday, a large display of cultural artifacts from Sápmi.

The exhibit on sugar was surprisingly interesting, because the reflective and neutral tone is not one often heard in American conversations about sugar and its (over)consumption. The exhibit was also notable for its setup; rather than just plastering a lot of information and art to white walls, there were various thematic installations that brought the point of each section home. As an example, the picture below is the view from outside the gallery that focused on how stealthily sugar is added to everyday groceries.

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And of course the exhibit on Sápmi was very interesting and well done. One of the consultants that they listed works at Áttje, so I’m excited to be there in a few days and ask her a few more questions about the current situation. From what I read, it seems like lots of Swedes consider the Sami the same way most Americans think of Native Americans – they and their interests are put on the back burner and are not considered too important. Something that surprised me was that the Swedish government has actually been reprimanded by the UN for failing to consult or give the Sami Parliament any power in making decisions that affect them. It was disheartening to learn of the oppression since Sweden is generally considered to be such a progressive and welcoming place, but I suppose it just goes to show how rights for indigenous people is an issue that deserves more attention basically everywhere in the global North.

More related to my actual study was a discussion of how the biggest issue in the Sami Parliament is land rights. Apparently, there’s a fair amount of dispute over what say they have in various decisions regarding land use, including forestry. That’s something I’ll definitely keep my eye on when I head up to Jokkmokk, and I’ll be extra careful not to step on any toes or make an presumptions about who has access to the allmänning and what the ethnic makeup of the shareholders and governing board looks like. Not all Swedes are created equal, apparently. Sweden’s national radio did a pretty good run down of some of the issues here, so take a listen if you’re interested.

One last shot of Stockholm just as it was beginning to snow this afternoon. This graveyard sits just behind the Nordic Museum on Djurgården.

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