Indigenous group says Square Enix contributes to cultural erosion

The Saami Council has called on Square Enix to remove the Far Northern Attire DLC from Final Fantasy 14’s online shop.

The council represents the Sámi people of Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Russia. Its concern is not about whether the depiction is appropriate or not but that the items depicted in the DLC are the property of Sámi culture and infringe upon its rights.

“Our cultural property rights are not theoretical,” Saami Council President Áslat Holmberg said in a statement. “They are protected and protectable under intellectual property laws, which are generally harmonized throughout the world. Square Enix, as a media company, is highly aware of intellectual property laws and has no excuse for this blatant violation of Sámi cultural property.”

According to an article by Andy Chalk, the council said the Sámi clothing isn’t just an aesthetic but carries specific elements of Sámi identity with meaning, content, and context.

Allowing millions of Final Fantasy 14 players to dress up in Sámi clothing without their consent would contribute to the erosion of culture.

The Saami Council has been vocal about protecting the cultural heritage and rights of its people before. Holmberg noted its 2019 agreement with Walt Disney Animation Studios, reached after Disney faced allegations of cultural appropriation after its use of a Sámi choral chant in the first Frozen film, in which Disney:

– Agreed to work with the Sámi to create a dubbed version of Frozen 2 in the Sámi language.

– Thanked the Sámi people for their co-operation and collaboration in the Frozen 2 credits.

– Employed an advisory group of experts to ensure that Frozen 2 content inspired by the Sámi is culturally sensitive, appropriate, and respectful of the Sámi and their culture.

– Invited Sámi representatives to the world premiere of Frozen 2 in the United States.

– Agreed to “pursue cross-learning opportunities” with the Sámi people, and to “arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society.”

The council said Square Enix did not consider the rights of the Sámi people in relation to this product.

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