Giving Memory A Future
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Who says they’re nomads?

  • In Europe, 85-90% of Roma and Sinti people ceased to be nomadic a long time ago. In Italy, only 2-3% of Roma and Sinti live a nomadic lifestyle.
  • Nomad” is no longer a realistic description of Roma and Sinti people in Italy. In the past, they used to travel for their crafts and professions (horse traders, tinkers, trade fair merchants, etc.), but nowadays they are increasingly non-nomadic.
  • In Italy, apart from the media and in populist language, it is often the institutions (Interior Ministry, Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, law enforcement agencies, local administrations, schools, nomad camps) that use the term “nomads”.
    In Italy, between May 2008 and December 2011 five regions (Lombardy, Campania, Lazio, Piedmont and Veneto) declared a nomad state of emergency. The local heads of law enforcement agencies were appointed as Extraordinary Commissioners in charge of the Nomad Emergency.

© Stefano Pasta

  • In the past few years some Italian authorities have forcibly transformed settled Roma people into “nomads by coercion”. This is the case of Roma children repeatedly evacuated from their homes by the authorities.
  • Cristina, a Romanian Roma girl, was born in Draganesti, a village in the Oltenia region of Romania. Both her parents were also born in Draganesti and so were three of her grandparents (her other grandfather was born in the adjoining village of Daneasa). When Cristina was 8 years old, her family emigrated to Milan (Italy) looking for work. In the year between November 2009 and November 2010, Cristina and her family were forcibly evacuated from their homes twenty times, along with other Roma people


Further Reading

About their name and their allegedly “nomadic” lifestyle: