Erik Abraham Olofsson Rim, 1844-1920, was a Sámi, commonly remembered for allegedly having sold his land and water rights to the State Power Company, Vattenfall, for the first large scale hydropower plant, Porjus – on the Lule River in Sapmi, Sweden. When Erik is mentioned in historical books and PR-brochures about Porjus, his Sámi name “Rim” has most of the time been taken away, as well as his Sámi identity. He is instead referred to as the “old man” of Porjus.
At the time when the Vattenfall started showing interest for Porjus, Erik lived with his family off self-subsistence agriculture and from guiding tourists in the area. Erik disapproved of the selling, and claimed he had been deceived by Vattenfall.
When the Porjus power station was inaugurated on February 8th, 1915, Erik was invited to the inauguration lunch along with several prominent guests. However, Erik opted to not attend, and to move from Porjus on this very day. In the contemporary media, referred to as the King of Porjus, he was accused of being greedy, doing this silent protest just to get more money out of the deal.
So far very little work in regard to Sámi resistance against hydropower exploitations in the early 20th century has been made. It has proved difficult to find examples. The intention of this paper is to revoice Erik’s story, as part of revoicing Sámi resistance against the hydropower exploitations in Sapmi.
The study is based on archival documents, contemporary newspaper articles and earlier literature.
NAISA, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, Annual Meeting, Mohegan Sun, June 3-6, 2012