The workshop “Indigenizing Education: Historical Perspectives and Present Challenges in Sámi Education“ was held online 16-17 November and it was hosted by the UiT-Arctic University of Norway and Professor Torjer Olsen. The workshop was the first in series of three workshops in project Indigenous Pedagogy in Teacher Education (IPED).
The goal of the IPED project’s workshops is to open and talk about practices of Sámi education. In a first workshop the thematic concentrated on the added value of Sámi education history and present challenges. Education history has consisted the politics of different forms of colonization and assimilation in the countries that Sámi people live in, and these policies have produced practices of inequality and experiences of otherness. The aim of Indigenous pedagogy is to solve out the heritage of educational histories and secure by educational practices bright future for every child and youth with diverse backgrounds and needs in Indigenous contexts.
Workshop day 1
The first day kicked off with a speech by Norway Sámi Parliament board representative Ol-Johán Sikku, with a title “The current situation and future prospects of Sámi education”. Sikku brought up the processes Sámi Parliament in Norway is conducting in wide range Sámi preliminaries. He also highlighted the importance of maintaining focus on teacher education for Sámi contents and research. The next talk was given by Title of Docent, Pigga Keskitalo, University researcher at the University of Lapland with the title “Sámi Education Across Borders: Some Historical Lines”. Keskitalo discussed about the history of Sámi education from its early stages to the present day. She reminded that there are different kinds of requirements when working in a revitalization, after long era of assimilation. At the same time educational contents about Sámi matters should be offered for mainstream pre-service education and on the other hand take care of the Sámi language and culture curriculum needs in different levels of educational institutions, from kindergarten until the tertiary education.
After a break, the first day of the workshop continued with insights to Sámi education policy and rights in different countries. Scholars presented history and present in Sámi education policies and rights in different countries concerning Sámi education in Sámi core areas and outside it. Professor Else Grete Broderstad (UiT – The Arctic University of Norway) presented Norway’s situation, PhD researcher Ekaterina Zmyvalova (Umeå University) presented Russia’s Sámi education, PhD, Associate Professor Rauni Äärelä-Vihriälä (Sámi University of Applied Sciences), presented Finland’s situation, and PhD, Senior lecturer Hanna Outakoski (Umeå University) presented Sweden’s situation and challenges. The introductions to Sámi education policies and rights in different countries were thought-provoking and some differences but also similarities were recognised. The first day ended with a vivid plenary discussion.
Workshop day 2
The second workshop day started with Professor Hilde Sollid (UiT-Arctic University of Norway) speech titled “Sámi language education policy and citizenship in Sámi curricula”. The talk discussed research concerning Sámi language curriculums in Norway, and in particular exploring how the relationship between language and citizenship is expressed from 1974 until today in different curriculum reforms. The second day continued by Professor Torjer Olsen’s presentation “’Not good enough for everyone’ – Finding space for Sámi education in a diverse Sámi community.” In the presentation Olsen investigated the situation for educators working within or connected to the diverse field of Sámi education.
The workshop’s last talk was given by PhD Kristina Belancic (Umeå University). Belancic’s presentation titled “Sámi children’s language beliefs and practices as implicit language policy” highlighted the issue that voices of children and young people are still largely absent when realizing different kinds of educational policy documents.
The second day ended with an open conversation between the speakers and all workshop participants. In the final conversation was highlighted Sámi education present state and how it would possible be improved and what is the status of teacher education in the important questions concerning Sámi education with different kinds of challenges.
This workshop focused on historical perspective of Sámi education. The second workshop on 15-16 April 2021, will focus on the present forms of Sámi education with the title: "Development of Sámi education and its appreciation". The host will be University of Lapland and Department of Education.
About the project
IPED project is funded by the grant for NOS-HS workshops, by the joint committee for Nordic research councils in the humanities and social sciences (NOS-HS), administrated by the Academy of Finland. The project period is 1/2020-12/2021. The project partners are Pigga Keskitalo (University of Lapland), Tuija Turunen (University of Lapland), Rauni Äärelä-Vihriälä (Sámi University of Applied Sciences), Inker-Anni Linkola-Aikio (Sámi archives), Torjer Olsen (UiT-The Arctic University of Norway), Jorunn Eikjok (Head of Gáisá), Hanna-Máret Outakoski (Umeå University), Rauna Rahko-Ravantti (Sámi University of Applied Sciences).
Please visit project website: www.ulapland.fi/uatn/iped.
Text written by Sara Ihamäki, Pigga Keskitalo, Torjer Olsen