The Saami Council has requested that Final Fantasy XIV remove the Far Northern Attire from its Online Store citing cultural property rights

Protecting cultural rights.

Image via Square Enix

The Saami Council has issued a letter to Square Enix demanding that they immediately remove the Final Fantasy XIV Far Northern Attire from their online store. The gaming company often releases optional cosmetic outfits for players to purchase, and The Far Northern Attire is one of the more recent additions. The Saami Council represents the rights of the Sámi people across the globe, and they are accusing Square Enix of stealing Sámi cultural property.

The Sámi people are an indigenous culture that encompasses the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and of the Murmansk Oblast, Russia. This region is collectively known as Northern Sámi Sápmi. The Saami Council was founded to promote and foster respect for the Sámi culture, which was recently represented in Disney’s Frozen 2. The entertainment empire signed an agreement with the council to respect their cultural property, and foster an appropriate image of their society.

In the letter sent to Square Enix, The Saami Council states, “it is the position of the Sámi that their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi.” The Council argues that their cultural property rights are not theoretical, and are protected under intellectual property laws.

Related: How to track housing availability in Final Fantasy XIV

The main moral issue facing Square Enix is that they are selling a cultural outfit to their players who are essentially running around the game playing dress-up without the approval or respect of the Sámi people, thus contributing to the erosion of their culture. The Saami Council states that Sámi clothing traditions are not merely aesthetic and carry significance to the cultural identity.

The Saami Council stresses that they are disappointed that Square Enix did not engage in discussions with the Sámi people, and hope that they can have productive dialogue with all industries on the matter to come to a mutual understanding.