Arctic peoplesAgreements and cooperationSaami Council25 March 2020Interview with Christina Henriksen, the President of the Saami CouncilChristina Hendriksen is the President of the Saami Council. We asked her about how national measures taken to contain the coronavirus in the Arctic impact Sámi people across Sápmi. We discussed her major concerns and how similar infectious outbreaks have impacted Sámi communities in the past – while she was juggling work tasks and home schooling. How are Sámi people affected by the national measures taken to contain the coronavirus? The Sámi people are used to cross the borders established by states without considering them borders, as many of us have family and relations widespread throughout Sápmi. So, with the borders closing, many have had to choose where they would prefer to stay if this lasts throughout spring and early summer. Many are prevented from visiting family and this is, of course, particularly hard if someone in the family is not feeling well. Also, many Sámi cross the borders for work or studies – as do we at the Saami Council. We monitored the situation and decided rather early that travels would be considered case by case, while also awaiting notice from our cooperation partners. We have cancelled all trips and meetings until the end of April, while monitoring the situation and awaiting further advice from the health authorities. However, the different national states in which we live have different policies regarding the pandemic, so the Saami Council is basically advising everyone to stay calm, stay at home, or in a place they feel safe for a longer period, and to follow official advice. Yet, not all Sámi have office jobs, and we have contacted the national authorities regarding cross-border reindeer husbandry, to make sure the reindeer herders can travel across the border and continue doing their job and providing food.