Made for the United Nations, this documentary chronicles the logging damage that has taken place in the forests of Finnish Lapland over the past 50 years.

Home to the indigenous Saami peoples, these Northern old growth forests are essential to Saami reindeer herding, a traditional way of life that the Saami hope to continue into future generations. Population growth in Finland has created economic pressure - prompting migration to the Saami lands in the North.

The resulting forest cutting severely depletes the lichen necessary for free reindeer grazing, and logging infrastructure disrupts the entire forest ecosystem.

A tense conflict emerges between the alliance of Greenpeace and Saami activists, who in 2005 set up a "Forest Rescue Station" in the woods to stop the cutting, and logging workers, worried about losing their jobs, who create their own "anti-terror camp" in response.

The situation becomes dramatic as those in the "anti-terror" camp continually assault the Greenpeace workers with noise and threatening behavior.

Last Yoik in Saami Forests? implicates the state-owned logging company Metsahallitus in the exploitation of Saami resources, and shows that the Finnish government has done little to preserve this natural resource.

The film explores possible economic alternatives to logging, such as tourism, as well as more efficient uses for Lappish timber than paper pulp, fuel or railways stocks - the wood is an excellent building material that could be commanding a higher price.

The issue of indigenous land rights is the heart of the problem, and as of the completion of this film in 2007, it remains unresolved.

Last Yoik in the Sami forests from Freunde der Naturvoelker on Vimeo.

Responses to "Last Yoik in the Sami forests (Video)"

  1. Dilemma in northern Lapland: Too many reindeers, too
    many reindeer owners
    In recent public debate about forests in northern Lapland, it has been strongly
    suggested that forestry alone has brought reindeer husbandry to financial despair.
    No material evidence has been presented to prove that forestry carried out in the
    area would restrict the amount of reindeer or impede reindeer husbandry.
    The reindeer population has increased two-and-a-half-fold since the 1970s. At
    its peak, at the turn of the 1990s, the reindeer population was more than three
    times what it was in 1970. During the same time period, the number of state forests
    decreased by 20 percent, and at its peak, at the turn of the 1980s, the number of
    fellings was nearly one-and-a-half times what it was compared to the 1970s. Since
    then, fellings have decreased by a half, although Greenpeace and reindeer herders
    claim otherwise.
    And these "naturepeople" don´t let any predator live in Lappland to protect their money which is reindeeer :) This even though they get compensated if a predator kills a´s not about the nature it´s all about their slave-the reindeer, read Greed!

  2. Unknown says:

    People, there are too many trees being cut down, the water is being turned into a toilet. What will you drink, eat, and breathe? Money?

  3. Anonymous says:


    Does this mean that the native peoples of the United States were slave-the-buffalo, before their land was taken by the colonizers? I don't see the "read greed" at all!

    San Francisco

  4. Anonymous says:


  5. Oh. I am so sorry about all this! The poor reindeer and Laapi people! We have had a similar struggle here in California coastline. We no longer have a lumber mill! Not the big one as the trees are pretty much gone! Just small operations. My Grandfather was from Finland and logged with hand saws in the 1920's close to our area. We had a thing called 'Redwood Summer' here in the 80's with similar conflicts.
    I wish the Sami people to keep up their standing up for rights! ONE person is important! The reindeer are important. I can see what is said and understand it. I guess that money is the carrot for the big industries all over the world. But this will affect all the world and not just the north Finland etc. I am glad to see people sticking up for their rights. I grieve for you and pray we find a way. . . This is just so terrible and I hope there is a way! <3 I like the video as it shows real well what is going on.
    Sincerely, Laura Gentile Mattila, Lintumaki, Kauranen. Gentile Appalito Cataleta

  6. Lugh says:

    In time, people will realize that the war is not against women. It is not against blacks, Asians, African-americans, Mexicans, or anyone of any particular skin color. The war is against tribal people, who wish to live with, not against, the land. America has been fooled, and the Liberals are largely to blame. This has been going on since native European tribes, such as the Saami's, were invaded by tribes that supposedly came from North India called the Aryan's. It goes on today under certain disguises, but know this:no matter who is in power, the war will continue. Be it white males or African-American/Black females, they can all be consumed by greed. The focus on blame is only distracting us from the problem. We need to stop pointing fingers, and recognize the fundamental truth of who we are as a people.

    People will realize this, in time, but by than it will be too late. These people have white skin, but that is just skin, and as long as we thin the problems, and the cures, and skin color and gender, we are going nowhere.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Pirjo, point one: Why should anybody have the right to cut down a tree against the objections of those who have lived there and let it grow to maturity? Second, what right have you to judge Lapplander culture. The Finnish language and distinct culture would likely be extinct if Russia hadn't encouraged its preservation to prevent Swedish influence in captured Finland, for its own political purposes --yes, the Swedes were practicing cultural genocide, as many conquering peoples have done, are doing today,in the process vilifying the victims as 'inferior.' Hell with the loggers. At least in the U.S. oil companies pay royalties to owners of the land on which they drill, even if they're Oklahoma Cherokees.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The only meaningful change comes out of the end of a barrel

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