Amanda Kernell’s Sami Blood explores the systematic removal of indigenous Sámi children from their parents that occurred in Scandinavia over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Set in the 1930s, we follow the reindeer herder Sámi girl Elle Marja (Lene Cecilia Sparrok, a real-life reindeer herder). Elle Marja is forcibly removed from her family and sent to a state boarding school that teaches the Swedish language and culture, enforcing the idea that their Sámi culture is wrong. While there, Elle Marja is faced with the difficult decision: remain with her people, or reject her culture, become Swedish, and start a new life.
Sami Blood blends the struggles of growing up within the rarely depicted cultural context of Sweden’s oppression of Sámi people, events that are familiar within the context of Australian history. Touching on similar themes as seen in Reindeer in My Saami Heart (Scandi FF 2016), Kernell, a Sámi person herself, shows the struggle her family faced as they were forced to abandon their culture, some even growing to reject it altogether.