I have to say I don’t feel like I came out of two years of self-employment empty-handed.
In addition to my designs and practical experience, I was able to amass contacts and make friends across community and state borders, which was an essential help in working re-establish and re-root myself in my own community.
I continue to be amazed and inspired by indigenous artists, activists and designers every day and I am honoured to have made some of your acquaintance. Without you, I would not have had role models or peer support and without you, I probably would not have chosen a creative career.
And during this time that I have already taken off from running a jewellery business to work on revitalizing my language, I have also found out a number of ways that my abilities and skills can be helpful to our people. And that making that a top priority is what I need to do at the moment. In my first try, I was still kind of hovering between worlds and chose a business model that didn’t suit my realistic skills or my personal needs. The daily grunt work alone without a larger connection to the community literally drove me nuts. I needed something more rewarding to do, and I am only now finding ways of doing it.
I am not sure if this can be attributed specifically to my background as a Saami woman but the idea of doing something purely to get money just doesn’t feel meaningful. Can’t live without money but working just because of money is a gruelling life, and one I was able to leave behind and find otherm, additional ways in which I could become a useful and contributing member of my community. Unlike many indigenous peoples, we are doing pretty fine right now, and money isn’t our biggest problem. Acculturation, language loss, forced assimilation and the subsequent transgenerational trauma are the hot-button issues that I am working to address (in order) in my personal life, in my family, in my community.
My next project is going to be large-ish and hopefully will shed light to some of these issues next year. I am already excited! More details to be announced sometime later when funding & work plan are clear.