Are Native American and Sámi people the same?

The answer to this question is of course no since they belong on two different continents, but sometime somewhere a producer of native music must have thought just that, or maybe though that no-one would notice. A song on the album “Sacred Spirits – Chants and Dances of the Native Americans” called “Ly-O-Lay Ale Loya (The Counterclockwise Circle Dance)” is in fact a Sámi joik (chant) called “Normo Jovnna” sung by Terje Tretnes in the beginning of the 1990s when Channel 4 was visiting Karasjok in Northern Norway. As NRK Sámi Radio reports (link in Norwegian) John Trygve Solbakk of the Sámi kopiija – a Sámi organisation trying to secure the intellectual rights of the Sámi – have tried to contact Virgin Records on this matter but haven’t won through with anything. This is in spite of Tretnes trying to get credit on his work since the CD was first released in 1994. Solbakk is afraid that the record company will continue to ignore their requests. He says that the cultural knowledge of indigenous peoples’ is unprotected against commercial exploitation. “Normo Jovnna” was first published in the 1970s by Piera Balto. That many have thought this is in fact a genuine Native American chant can be seen on YouTube where a search on “Ly-O-Lay Ale Loya” will turn up many versions. I think the spirit of this joik is best preserved by the Sámi group Aigi and their version of “Normo Jovnna” witch has kept the Sámi joik intact.

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