Eatnameamet – Our Silent Struggle is a comprehensive documentary. It tackles the issues that the Sami peoples of Finland currently deal with. And most of those problems become topics of mainstream discussion. Both members of the Finnish and the Sami government started the Truth and Reconciliation project back in 2019. It’s similar to the one active in Canada a few years ago. And the documentary captures the Sami speaking on those commissions on behalf of their people. The youth and college students especially risk being victims of hate crimes. And those crimes make Sami youth want to hide their rich culture.
Eatnameamet is a documentary of committees after committees. But it doesn’t isolate the topics of those meetings. The same goes for the violent interactions that Samis have with Finns. It connects those interactions within history. It gives viewers some archive footage of propaganda that the Finnish government used to attract tourists northward. One scene in that footage shows a presumably naked female Sami dipping into freshwater. It accompanies that visual with narration describing Sami land as one ‘where beautiful witches supposedly lived’. The documentary find the right way to shock its viewers into reminding them about how disgusting propaganda is.
It’s easy to imagine that Indigenous people everywhere still memories of seeing such propaganda. Those are enough to derail any attempts to reconcile with settlers. The documentary brings another thing that could derail such a process. It shows the Finnish government approving some of their citizens into joining the Sami parliament. Thankfully, the movie shows young people protesting such moves. The film uses recent news archives to show how that side of the conflict plays out. Its inclusion of politically active young Sami gives hope. And it compliments the doc’s tone that softly calls for the whole world’s necessary empathy.