Before making “Frozen 2”, Disney signed a contract with the Indigenous people of Scandinavia.
When “Frozen” debuted in 2013, it opened with a tribal chant. It turns out the tune was recognized right away by the Sámi people – the Indigenous communities in Scandinavia. The context behind that song was subject to being erased from the film completely.
The song was written for “Frozen” by South Sámi musician and composer Frode Jfellheim. He adapted the song, Vuelie, from one of his original pieces called “Eatnemen Vuelie (Song of the Earth). His music is famously based on joik which is a vocal traditional that was unfortunately outlawed when Nordic Indigenous communities were overtaken with Christianity.
The use of Sámi culture led to an uproar on social media regarding cultural appropriation and whitewashing. This debate was based on the use of joiking and Kristoff’s wardrobe in “Frozen”. To ensure the content wasn’t erased, Disney entered a contract with Sámi leaders that confirms the ownership of their culture.
The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden, and Finland, along with the Saami Council (a non-governmental organization of Sámi people) formed a group called Verdett to act as cultural ambassadors. Anne Lájla Utsi was part of this group and she shared a contract that shows an agreement between Walt Disney Animation Studios and the Sámi people.
The contract was signed by film producer Peter Del Vecho and the Sámi parliament members. It highlights Disney’s “desire to collaborate with the Sámi to ensure that the content of Frozen 2 is culturally sensitive, appropriate, and respectful of the Sámi and their culture.”
They made an agreement that the Sámi people will give their cultural input and in exchange, Disney will produce a second version of “Frozen 2” in Sámi language and play a part in cross-learning initiatives that contribute to learning about Indigenous people of Scandinavia.
The original chant, Vuelie, will be used again in “Frozen 2”, but with a new spin that gives respect to the Sámi people’s culture. Sámi people will also be culturally represented with spirits that resemble earth, wind, and fire.
With the release of Disney+, some of Disney’s culturally insensitive content has required a disclaimer before the film. Hopefully, Disney’s steps with the Sámi people will prevent this from happening with “Frozen 2”.
Source: Now Toronto.
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