Film Review: “Sami Blood”

by Kurt Seaberg

I just watched this incredible film the other night with my niece Anna. Achingly beautiful and profoundly sad at the same time, the most potent scenes of Sami Blood are like a haunting piece of music, with little or no dialogue. Yet they stick with me like a powerful dream. I’ve rarely experienced a movie that depicts the overt and subtle effects of racism, colonialism and internalized oppression in such a visceral manner.

What can you say about a system that compels one to reject their own heritage, their own language, their own family, their own identity? And yet the land itself seems to call her back.

My father, like the Sami girl in the film, was ripped from his idyllic childhood by unfortunate circumstances, a childhood where he spent his summers living in a tent. After his parents died he went to live with Swedish immigrants who “civilized” him, taught him to play the piano, enrolled him in art school. It wasn’t a boarding school but it had a similar mission.

He recalled that as a child he was “measured by doctors” who told him the shape of his head was “Lappish.” I don’t believe he felt shame. If anything it made him curious, fascinated by a unique culture he felt a personal link to. But like so many children of immigrants from Europe he was thrown into the great melting pot where the lucky ones become “white.”

And like so many Americans of his generation he bought into the racial theories–once considered “scientific”–that continue to divide human beings into categories of “superior” and “inferior.” Once these categories are regarded as “factual,” it’s only a small step before euthanasia becomes a political program deemed necessary to weed out “undesirables”–the impure, the unfit and the genetically weak–a program that promises to “improve” the human race: genetically modified, scrubbed of the past, torn from the earth, disconnected from nature, uniform, colorless, white…

What Really Happened at PIELC 2018

Over the first weekend in March, members and allies of Deep
Green Resistance (DGR) attended, presented, and tabled at PIELC (Public
Interest Environmental Law Conference) in Eugene, OR, as we have for as long as our organization has existed.
PIELC (formerly ELAW) has long been a place where disparate perspectives from
within the environmental movement—including those of lawyers, radicals, grassroots
activists, liberals, and nonprofits—gather to learn from, engage with, and
challenge each other.
In general, DGR activists appreciate the opportunity to
engage in respectful dialogue, including with individuals who might disagree
with our approach to halting the destruction of the planet and misogynist
For several years, however, a small group of individuals has
harassed DGR activists at PIELC, ostensibly because they disagree with our
radical feminist position. Rather than engage in a productive discussion about
patriarchy and its driving forces, these individuals choose to spread rumors and
outright lies about DGR, both via social media and in person during the
We’ve written several articles that address this ongoing
defamation. You can read them here, here,
and here.
So what happened this year?
This year was no exception. In the weeks before PIELC 2018,
a small group of individuals engaged in anti-DGR
rhetoric and actions via social media and other public forums. During PIELC,
these same individuals attempted to disrupt our designated tabling space by
stealing our materials, holding derogatory signs in front of us and our table,
and using incendiary slurs to describe us to passersby.
First, we asked these individuals to respect our materials,
our right to table, and our personal space. When they refused to move and began
to escalate, we requested support from PIELC organizers—both for our physical
safety and to support our right to engage with the public at our informational
table. Event organizers responded quickly and professionally.
Did you call the cops?
No. DGR activists notified event organizers about the
disruption. As far as we know, they contacted campus security, who then made
the decision to call the police.
What did the police do?
The police told the individuals that they had no right to
block access to our table (or any table).  Police then gave the individuals the choice to
move to their own space, or to face trespassing charges.
Eventually, the individuals moved to the side of DGR’s table
and continued to hold signs and disparage DGR to passersby for the remainder of
the day.
What happened at the
On March 4th, Derrick Jensen (one of the
co-founders of DGR) held a public talk at the Eugene Public Library. His talk,
which was about the destruction of the planet and the patriarchal violation
imperative, was met with such vocal and threatening hostility that Derrick was
forced to hire security from a private local security firm.
Throughout Derrick’s talk, a cohort of disruptive individuals
shouted at and disparaged the speaker, rushed the stage, released “fart bombs,”
coughed loudly, and ultimately made so much noise that they violated the
library’s free speech policy. In response to these escalating, juvenile
violations of Derrick’s right to speak and the audience’s right to hear his
talk, library security called the police. The police then removed several
disruptive individuals, who violated library policy, refused to leave when
asked, and therefore were trespassing.
To reiterate, DGR did not call the police. We held a public
event in a previously reserved public venue with its own free speech policies. Individuals
who chose to violate those policies, even after multiple warnings from security
and then police, are responsible for the consequences of their own actions.
Video coverage of the event is available at the following
Why is DGR accused of
Deep Green Resistance has been accused of transphobia not
because of transphobic policies or actions, but because we maintain a feminist
critique of gender.
DGR does not condone dehumanization or violence against
anyone, including people who describe themselves as transgender. Universal
human rights are universal. DGR has a strong code of conduct against violence
and abuse. Anyone who violates that code is no longer a member.
Disagreeing with someone, however, is not a form of
violence. And
we have a big disagreement.
As radical feminists, we are critical of gender itself. We
are not gender reformists–we are gender abolitionists. We see nothing in
the creation of gender to celebrate or embrace. Patriarchy is a corrupt and
brutal arrangement of power, and we want to see it dismantled so that the
category of gender no longer exists.
As radical feminists, we also believe that women have the
right to define their boundaries and decide who is allowed in their spaces. We
believe all oppressed groups have that right.
Interested to learn more? You can read a more comprehensive
response to this question, here.