Norwegian pastor explores Sami roots
|A Web-only image
Two women attend the Second Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations in New York.
June 1, 2005
women attend the Second Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous
Issues at the United Nations in New York. The forum examined various
situations faced by native peoples around the world, with a particular
focus on the goals to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger and to
achieve universal primary education. A Web-only image courtesy of the
Forum on Indigenous Issues. Photo #W05-047. Accompanies UMNS story
#328. 6/1/05 |
By Linda Bloom*
YORK (UMNS) — A United Methodist pastor from Norway made a personal
connection of his own while attending the Fourth Session of the
Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations.
Rev. Yngvar Ruud, who serves a church in the suburbs of Oslo, noted
that his grandfather was part of an indigenous Scandinavian people
called the Sami, belonging to the Svonni and Partapouli families.
I grew up, it was kind of shameful to be of Sami origin," he explained.
But when Ruud was appointed in 1996 to a church in northern Norway, the
region where he grew up, he began to dig into his roots.
Sami form an ethnic minority in Norway, Sweden and Finland, along with a
small population on Russia's Kola Peninsula. In Norway, the legal
status of the Sami improved during the 1980s.
first Sami convention, which resulted in the celebration of Sami Day on
Feb. 6, was hosted in 1917 by the Methodist Church of Trondheim, Ruud
Soltun Folkehogskole, a United Methodist school in northern Norway, the
architect used Sami inspiration to design the chapel there, which is
formed like a Sami lavvo or tent.
was invited to attend the forum, which met May 16-27, when Liberato
Bautista, an executive with the United Methodist Board of Church and
Society, visited Norway in January 2004 and they discussed their common
background of being part of an indigenous group.
was the first time that I represented my Sami people as a United
Methodist," Ruud said, adding that he was not very knowledgeable about
global indigenous issues. "It was very challenging to realize that I
belong to a world wide people and I will never forget the opening
session with indigenous people in their dresses."
said he also appreciated being part of a United Methodist-sponsored
delegation that included Celine Cajanding, a Roman Catholic nun, and
Zaynab Ampatuan, a Muslim woman, both from Mindanao in the Philippines.
He thinks the grouping was "an important sign" at a time when some
people consider those of other faiths to be enemies.
experience at the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has made Ruud
"much more aware of my Sami identity" as well as indigenous peoples in
other parts of the world.
Ruud is the brother of United Methodist Bishop Oystein Olsen of Northern Europe.
*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or email@example.com