Square Enix may have landed themselves in hot water with a winter cash-shop attire from 2022. The Far Northern Attire, which we wrote about last year, has prompted the ire of the Saami Council, or Sámiráđđian, an advocacy organization of the Sámi people, who have demanded the removal of the attire, and that SE engage in a dialog with the Sámi people.
According to the council, the use of Sámi cultural elements constitute property that belong to Sámi. Therefore their use without permission is an infringement on their rights. In their letter to Square Enix, the Saami Council specify that this is not an issue about cultural sensitivity or appropriate depiction. Instead they are in violation of property rights, which are protected under intellectual property laws.
These rights are no different than those that Square Enix, for example, would use if anyone was making unauthorized Final Fantasy products. Or for another cultural property example, take Champagne, or Scotch Whisky, which much be produced in the Champagne region of France and Scotland respectively, otherwise they cannot be called those names.
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The Saami Council cites an agreement they have with Walt Disney Animation Studios related to Frozen 2, in which several facets about the cultural property of the Sámi were adhered to. The council is likely looking for a similar agreement with Square Enix.
However, some are quick to balk at the council’s claim. On Reddit, commenters are disputing the authority of the Saami Council. They claim that as a non-governmental organization (NGO), they are not officially sanctioned. Meanwhile, several states in and around Scandinavia have their own government-certified Sámi advocacy organizations.
Whatever the case, Square Enix will have to make a decision. It’s likely they will concede the point in favor of avoiding controversy, but we will have to wait for an official SE statement to be sure.
For more Final Fantasy XIV news, guides, and info, check out New FFXIV anime-style commercial has fans pining for a full series.
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The Saami Council insists on removal of Sámi-inspired FFXIV attire