Races according to outfit requirements: – It flowed over for me

Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen (23) tells in a longer post on Instagram that she this week had a very unpleasant experience in connection with a performance at a conference.

The 23-year-old says that she experienced being pressured by the organizer to wear a cardigan during work.

“We were hired to perform a song. A few days before the performance, I received a message that the organizer preferred that I put on my cardigan. To which I replied clearly “I take on what I feel for that day.”. But I immediately felt that it felt wrong to put on my cardigan. So I showed up with a woolen shawl and my cardigan belt. I felt fine. But on the spot, the organizer was dissatisfied. My tour manager was asked to talk to me, to see if I could pull myself around and put on my cardigan at the last minute. “After all, this is what we have paid for,” they said. Then it ran over me », she writes in the post.

She further says that she experiences that there is a culture in the industry to exoticize indigenous peoples.

“Unless it is a dress code that everyone at the event must adhere to, it is completely unheard of to impose it on one person, on the basis of ethnic background. I think that is directly racist », she writes.

She emphasizes that she comes to booked events to do the job as an artist.

“I do not come as a mascot, a circus animal, or someone you can adorn yourself with as the event’s diversity alibi. I come to do my job, in the clothes I feel comfortable in »she says.

The following evening, she returned to the event, in protest. She left the cardigan at home in the closet.

“To emphasize that I am just as much Sami, just as many indigenous peoples, without my cardigan”, she writes to her 19,000 followers on instagram.

Good evening Norway has been in contact with the management of Ella Marie, who refers to the post and says that the artist has no further comments.

Thanks for the support

The statements of support after yesterday’s post have not been long in coming.

«You’re so tough !! Think how many people’s attitudes you have changed! You make such a big difference, and you are so important », is there anyone who writes in the comments field.

“Certified Superhero”, writes another.

The artist is clearly grateful for all the response.

“Thank you so much for all the support for my protest yesterday,” writes Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen in a new post on Thursday.


The conference she and the band attended was Oslo Tropical Forest Forum 2022, under the auspices of Norad.

They now apologize to the artist.

– We regret that Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen had a bad experience in meeting the conference, and we are sorry that she was asked to wear a Sami costume. Ella Marie and her band ISÁK had a fantastic performance, and get very good feedback from the participants at the Oslo Tropical Forest Forum. It is an international conference where people from all over the world gather to discuss solutions to climate challenges and deforestation, and the rights and identity of indigenous peoples are central. What people choose to wear is of course entirely up to them, so we are very sorry that this has happened, says communications director Martha Haukaas in Norad.

She emphasizes that the communication the artist refers to in his post was with Norad’s event agency, which was responsible for the practical and artistic content.

– Norad still as organizer has full responsibility for what has happened, and we are very sorry that she experienced this.

Has been open about incitement

Hætta Isaksen has been a visible character in the public eye in recent years. In addition to being a vocalist in the band ISÁK, she won “Star Wars” in 2018, and has since raised her voice as an activist for, among other things, environmental protection and Sami culture.

Hætta Isaksen has previously been open about being incited for her Sami background in her teens.

When she was 16, she moved from Tana to Alta to go to high school.

– It was a little scary sometimes to get a little ugly comments: “Huff, do you have to speak Sami? Can’t you calm down a bit? Speak Norwegian, here we speak Norwegian ». It came so suddenly to me, she said when she visited “An evening at Kloppen”.

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