Márkomeannu#2118, the Future is Already Here: Imagining a Sámi Future at the Intersection of Art and Activism





Sámi festivals, artistic activism, climate change, Indigenous Futurism


The 2018 edition of the Sámi festival Márkomeannu elaborated a narrative about the future of both the environment and society by articulating fears of an oncoming apocalypse and hopes for Indigenous Sámi futures through a concept presented to festivalgoers via site-specific scenography, visual narratives, and performances. This essay, addressing the festival as a site of artistic activism, reveals the conceptual bases and cultural significance of the festival-plot in relation to Indigenous Sámi cosmologies, the past and the possible future(s) in our time marked by escalating climate change. I argue that Márkomeannu-2018, providing a narrative about the future in which, amidst the Western societies’ dystopic colonial implosion, Indigenous people thrive, can be regarded as an expression of Indigenous Futurism. Counterpointing 19th-century theories predicting the imminent vanishing of Indigenous peoples while positioning the Sámi as modern Indigenous peoples with both a past and a future, this narrative constitutes an act of empowerment. Sámi history and intangible cultural heritage constituted repositories of meaning whereas a folktale constituted a framework for the festival-plot while providing an allegorical tool to read the present.


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Author Biography

Erika De Vivo, University of Torino

Erika De Vivo is currently Adjunct Lecturer in cultural anthropology at the University of Torino. She recently defended her PhD thesis in cultural anthropology (University of Torino) on the origins and meanings of the Sámi festival Márkomeannu. As a PhD student, she carried out fieldwork on the Norwegian side of Sápmi during a visiting researcher stay at SESAM the Centre for Sámi Studies at UiT Arctic University of Tromsø for 16 months (summer 2018–spring 2020). Her research interests include Sámi Festivals and Indigenous efflorescence, art as a means for political expression in Fennoscandinavian colonized contexts, Indigenous futurisms, linguistic landscapes and soundscapes in Sápmi, modern and contemporary Italian literary production about Sápmi with a focus on travelogues and iconography.


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How to Cite

De Vivo, E. (2022). Márkomeannu#2118, the Future is Already Here: Imagining a Sámi Future at the Intersection of Art and Activism. Text Matters: A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture, (12), 227–246. https://doi.org/10.18778/2083-2931.12.14