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Finland’s National Musuem Returns Over 2000 Sámi objects

The National Museum of Finland has announced the return of 2,200 artifacts belonging to the indigenous Sámi people to other museums.

According to a report published by Art Newspaper, the objects would be returned to the Sámi Museum and Nature Centre (Siida). It is located in Lapland, in the northernmost part of Finland where the Sámi community have traditionally lived. The deal regarding the repatriation of these objects first began in 2017. It will include a large number of objects and artefacts collected by the National Museum between 1830 and 1998.

The repatriated objects would be hosted in a newly-built extension in the museum. To commemorate the return of these objects, the National Museum and Nature Centre have announced an exhibition titled “Mäccmõš, maccâm, máhccan—Homecoming”. The exhibition, scheduled for October, will showcase 150 of the returned objects, alongside a vast array of records, photographs and contemporary artworks. It is developed by artist Outi Pieski and activist Petra Leiti, and will feature audio-visual presentations about the objects.

Elina Anttila, the director-general of the National Museum, said: “The objects are returning to their original family context. The objects are very useful as prototypes when younger people are learning the traditional techniques.”

The decision by the National Museum of Finland is the latest in the series of recent efforts to return stolen or lost objects back to their rightful place. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office had recently announced the return of 33 objects back to Afghanistan. Collectively valued at $1.3 billion, these objects were part of an investigation into New York art dealer Subash Kapoor. The Art Institute of Chicago also announced the return of a 6th-century linga, looted from Nepal, back to the country.