Cooperation across the borders
Lapland is home to the only indigenous people in the European Union – the Sámi. Sámi-related research is conducted at the University of Lapland, the union’s northernmost university of science and art. As part of the Finnish university establishment, the University of Lapland has a national-level responsibility to promote expertise on Sámi law and Sámi-related social scientific research. Research on indigenous peoples is carried out in each faculty and research unit of the university.
Sámi research focuses for example on the history, traditions, rights, politics, pedagogics, and religion of indigenous peoples as well as Arctic environmental change and biodiversity. In addition, the university conducts research on the relation between the Sámi and tourism, the need for and implementation of welfare services in the Sámi region, the treatment of the Sámi in the media, and the interfaces between Sámi handicraft and design.
The university cooperates with e.g. the University of Tromsø in Sámi-related research. It also cooperates with the Sámi University College in the areas of research, art, and student exchange. Besides Norway, artistic cooperation extends to the Sámi regions of Sweden and Russia.
The University of Oulu and the Sámi Education Institute are important partners of collaboration in research related to the Sámi language and culture, to welfare and health sciences, and to global change in the Sámi regions. The research and education are coordinated by a joint steering group of the universities. In addition, the University of Lapland and the University of Oulu have established a joint working group on Sámi research.
Sámi language studies
The scope of Sámi language studies at the university is 25 credits. The basic studies are primarily for native speakers and for those with corresponding proficiency in the Sámi language. The studies qualify students as class teachers in a Sámi-speaking class. Students who do not speak Sámi as their mother tongue can strengthen their skills by taking Sámi language courses through the Language Centre.
University studies taken to the Sámi region
Bachelor and Master education is developed in the Davvi studies (210 cr.) coordinated by the Faculties of Art and Design and Social Sciences. This is done in cooperation with the Sámi Education Institute. The curriculum has been planned by the mentioned faculties in collaboration with the Giellagas Institute at the University of Oulu.
The open, university-level Davvi studies are aimed at youths and adults living in the Sámi region. The studies are accessible for the students of the Open University at the University of Lapland. The contact teaching takes place in Inari, and teaching is also provided by means of the virtual classroom.
In addition, the Faculty of Education arranges basic and further teacher training in cooperation with the University of Oulu.