For millennia, the Indigenous Sámi people have hunted, fished, and herded reindeer across Arctic Europe. But as their ancestral lands are increasingly targeted for development, who gets a vote in the Sámi community has become an intensely charged question.
In Finland, where settlers and Sámi have mingled for hundreds of years, debate over a bill that would redefine who counts as Indigenous has turned ugly. Accusations of elitism and racism abound—and some Sámi leaders say their community's progress toward self-determination, and say over development in their own lands, could be in danger.
As anger gives rise to threats of violence, who will get to define who the Sámi really are? In this project, freelance reporter John Last travels to the Finnish capital and Sámi territory to explore how the debate is affecting settler and Indigenous communities.