From the Author:
During my first few years delving into Norwegian culture, I was always interested in the culture and struggles of the Sami people. Lapp illustrates the difficulties of being Sami, especially in the 1960s through the 1990s, through the eyes of an unnamed boy. The very title “lapp,” taken from the Northern Sami term láhppon olmmoš (one who is lost), is a slur towards the nomadic nature of the traditional Sami way of life. During the twentieth century, there was a strong push across Norway to “Norwegianize” the Sami people, discouraging them from wearing their native dress, participating in their customs and traditions, and even from speaking their native language. Children were assimilated in Norwegian schools and told that their first language, Sami, was the “devil’s tongue” and was unclean to speak. Since much of the Sami history is passed down orally, a narrative told by an outcast boy seeks to mimic and reflect on a method of storytelling that he finds familiar, yet is discouraged from engaging in. The poem is shaped like Norway, providing a visual of what the boy strives for, but ultimately cannot assimilate into.