Main content

Homecoming - Máhccan

If you are not affiliated with a college or university, and are interested in watching this film, please register as an individual and login to rent this film. Already registered? Login to rent this film.

Filmmaker Suvi West takes the audience behind the scenes of the museum world, revealing a visual, philosophical, and spiritual realm. Sámi herself, she seeks a connection with her ancestors through old museum objects, eventually arriving at the collective pain points of the Sámi people. How can the damage caused by outsiders be repaired so that collective pains can be left behind?

Máhccan - Homecoming is set in the changing world of museums and deals with the repatriation of museum objects. Repatriation refers to the return of cultural heritage to its original owners. In recent years, museums around the world have had to confront their own colonialist burden and consider returning objects taken from oppressed or subjugated nations, often through theft.

The National Museum of Finland acts as a pioneer in the international museum world. In 2021, it returned thousands of everyday objects taken from the Sámi people to the Sámi Museum Siida. This represents a significant repatriation on a global scale. At the same time, the holiest objects of the Sámi people, the drums, remain imprisoned in the basements of museums around the world. While the return of everyday objects brings joy and empowerment to the Sámi people, the absent drums continue to carry the inherited sorrow from one generation to another.

West asks whether the returning objects can help a fractured nation cope with past sorrows? How can one hear the voice of ancestors, who traditionally have aided the Sámi people in navigating life? And how can one confront a sacred drum that has been violently taken, traditionally considered inappropriate to photograph or touch, as it belongs only to its owner?

West embarks on a journey following museum objects from Helsinki to Inari and from Berlin to the shores of the Arctic Ocean. Her travel companions and advisors include experts from the museum world, past generations, and dreams that guide the story. As the dream-like journey progresses, West delves deeper into the bloody past of the Sámi people and the realm of unresolved sorrows. The effects of historical events are felt and become visible in the present moment.