Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sámi Student of Christianity Finds Practicing Faith Hard

Youth leader excited to meet other indigenous people

Kirsti Guvsám is a 27-year-old Sámi who is a student of Christian studies at Oslo University, Norway, who says she does not find it easy being a Christian.

It's coffee time on the second day of a consultation of indigenous people from around the world and she arrives for her interview to talk about her role on the Sámi Church Council. She is smiling, her blond hair flowing.

She is delighted about the consultation in Karasjok, where indigenous people from every corner of the globe have gathered.

Asked what she felt after hearing she was invited to the LWF consultation, she replies. "I was looking forward to meeting other indigenous, because we are like a family and we are sharing stories. We have the same challenges. For example, the challenge is to get Church practice and indigenous people together."

She continues, "It's not easy to be Sámi and Christian at the same time. Sámi would like to use their own songs at services, but here it's not possible. And that makes us sad. It's very important to somehow bring together culture and liturgy."

So what steps should the Church take to get closer to Sámi people and their youth?

"I think we need our own Church. We need freedom to use our own songs and to put some of our own things into the liturgy. Our culture is colored by some specific notes from pagan days, so we miss them in Church."

Il est difficile de pratiquer sa foi, selon une étudiante Sámie en théologie

Kirsti Guvsám, blonde et souriante étudiante en théologie à Oslo de 27 ans, reconnaît qu'il est difficile pour un jeune Sámi de vivre sa foi chrétienne.

Excitée à l'idée de vivre cette rencontre de la "grande famille des peuples indigènes", elle souhaite partager au sujet des défis qu'ils ont en commun. "Les Sámis aimeraient pouvoir chanter les chants de leur tradition à l'Église, mais cela n'est pas possible. Il est très important de pouvoir réunir culture et liturgie." L'Église devrait pouvoir, selon elle, se rapprocher des Sámis, et des jeunes en particulier, en offrant la liberté de chanter le joik, quand bien même celui-ci est hérité des temps du paganisme.

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