– I probably have the same thoughts as she has, I think she does not interfere. The specialists will find out, says King Harald.
This week he has been traveling in Finnmark and has witnessed the conflict which has bubbled up at the Sami museum in Karasjok, part of the museum foundation RiddoDuottarMuseat. The museum has urged Denmark to keep a Sami drum which was confiscated after the witchcraft trials in 1692 and sent from Sápmi to Copenhagen.
Since 1979, the rare Sami drum has been back on Sami soil, but only on loan until 1 December this year.
– This is unworthy. Should we beg and smile like kind girls to keep our own cultural objects, outgoing Sami Parliament President Aili Keskitalo told VG at the beginning of the month.
Letter to Queen Margrethe
The Danish National Museum formally owns the drum, while it was previously part of the Danish King’s Art Chamber in Copenhagen.
Therefore, Keskitalo has sent a letter to Queen Margrethe in Denmark asking her to get involved in the return of the valuable drum.
King Harald does not think she does.
– But I know that this is up in the national museum, and that it will probably be decided soon, the king says.
The Danish Museum has recently written the following about this process in an email to VG:
– Repatriation cases take significantly longer to decide than lending cases, e.g. because they must be decided by the Danish Minister of Culture. We are in the process of forecasting a final clarification for ours.
Hope the king can mention it
Director Anne May Olli of RiddoDuottarMuseat says that she understands that the king thinks he must be neutral.
– But this particular drum in Denmark is part of the royal collection. And one of the arguments they used when we worked on the previous loan contract was that the royal collection should be complete, Olli says to NTB.
She wants King Harald to mention the case to Queen Margrethe.
– I understand that he has nothing else in public, but I can say that in a more private conversation you can have an attitude to this.
Olli points out that Harald is also the king of Sami.
– He himself has said that Norway is founded in the countryside for two peoples, Sami and Norwegians. I also expect him to be our voice in arenas where we need to be heard.
The drum in question was owned by Anders Poulsen, who was arrested in 1691 in the Nesseby area. He was accused of possessing an oval object called “Rune-Bomme”.
With this instrument, he had “practiced the evil and wicked magic art,” it was stated in the indictment, according to Ságat.
The rune boom was confiscated and sent to Copenhagen, while Poulsen risks the death penalty for his deeds. While awaiting sentencing, however, he was ax-killed by the sheriff’s boy while he lay asleep.
The Norwegian royal couple have previously been involved in the return of several historically important objects to indigenous peoples.
No later than Tuesday, the king was in Kautokeino when the same most important document, the Lapp codicil, was handed over to the Sami archives.
In 2019, the King of Chile was under the signing of an agreement to return a number of cultural monuments that the adventurer Thor Heyerdahl brought with him from the isolated island community of Polynesia to Norway in the 50s.
– Belongs to Tana
In recent days, it has also flared up an internal conflict in Sápmi over where the drum belongs.
– Anders Poulsen’s rune booms belong in Tana, states Aage Solbakk in Tana Museums Friends above Ságat.