Episode 10

Anna Karin, The Woman of Sakajärvi

Episode Producers

Connor Adkins and Claudia Manca

As Khaled slowly walks in a silent town covered in snow, his journey has almost come to an end. He’s now in Sakajärvi, northern Sweden, where he meets horse farmer Anna-Karin Nordvall.

People in Sakajärvi are also facing displacement as their homes are at risk of being demolished to expand the local copper mine. Some locals have lived in Sakajärvi for generations and have no other place to go. They are being forced into migration as their homes are being claimed to serve other purposes. 

Uncertainty is at the heart of their experience. How do you uproot entire families that have no reasons to leave the home they love and know like the back of their hand? How do you prepare for an entirely different life without even knowing if you’ll be compensated for such a radical change and to help kickstart a new life?

The issues prevalent in Sakajärvi are true for many communities in Sweden. People’s jobs in Sakajärvi are deeply linked to the land. In Anna-Karin’s case, the wide and open spaces are crucial to her horse farming. Every corner of Sakajärvi means something to each inhabitant. The kids skate over the frozen lake and play in their cabins, there are cycling tracks and ways of riding over gravel pits on motorcycles. Space and nature are integral parts of social life in the community, and with the mine expansion, this will be taken away. It will eventually be fenced off and unreachable.

Imagine knowing something or someone your whole life and suddenly you can’t see them anymore. What if your home was demolished and replaced by something that doesn’t include you or hasn’t any space for you in the future? How do you deal with having no say in the process? Developing one’s sense of self and identity includes growing accustomed to calling the shots in one’s life. What happens when, suddenly, a corporation is going to do that instead? How would you feel? What would you do?

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