New Book on Sámi Educational History

“Sámi Educational History in a Comparative International Perspective” establishes an overview of Sámi education in an historical and internationally comparative perspective and examines indigenous educational history around the world, ranging from Asia to Oceania to Sápmi and the Americas.Sami educational history book cover

The new book provides a comprehensive overview of Sámi education in an internationally comparative and multidisciplinary perspective, including anthropology. Despite the cross-national character of the Sámi population, academic literature on Sámi education has so far been published within the different nation states in the Sámi area, and rarely in English. Exploring indigenous educational history around the world, this collection spans from Asia to Oceania to Sápmi and the Americas. The chapters frame Sámi school history within an international context of indigenous and minority education. In doing so, two narrative threads are established: both traditional history of education, and perspectives on the decolonisation of education. This pioneering book will appeal to students and scholars of Sámi education, as well as indigenous education around the world.

Contributing authors: Daniel Lindmark (Umeå University), Ritva Kylli (University of Oulu), Jukka Nyyssönen (UiT – The Arctic University of Norway), Andrej Kotljarchuk (Södertörn University), Lukas Allemann (University of Lapland, Arctic Centre), Ekaterina Zmyvalova (Umeå University), Hanna Outakoski (Umeå University), Torjer A. Olsen (UiT – The Arctic University of Norway), Inker-Anni Linkola-Aikio (Sámi  University of Applied Sciences), Merja Paksuniemi (University of Lapland), Pigga Keskitalo (University of Lapland), Marikaisa Laiti (University of Lapland), Yoko Tanabe (University College London), Madoka Hammine (University of Lapland), Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen (University of Helsinki), Francisco Apurina (University of Helsinki), Lea Kantonen (University of the Arts Helsinki), Mere Kepa (James Henare Maori Research Centre), Elizabeth Jackson-Barrett (Murdoch University), Libby Lee Hammond (Murdoch University) and Otso Kortekangas (Stockholm University)

More information:

Posted in All | Leave a comment

We don’t survive – we live here!

These were the introductory words of Alexandr Ivanov, the head of the Olenek district in Yakutia, in his discussion during our session on indigenous people’s territorial governance under industrial development at the Northern Forum for sustainable development in Yakutsk, 25 – 26 September 2019 (full session programme).


practicing governance on the land: herding reindeer through a gold deposit in Neryungryi District, Yakutia

He thought it is useful to remind researchers from any field and country that there is a tendency in scholarship to portray indigenous life in the Russian Arctic as a struggle for survival, rather than a quest for harnessing opportunities, achieve well-being and happiness, and just living at home. This stems from the old idea that the Arctic is a resource frontier with a tough climate rather than home for people. Social scientists doing Arctic Studies have acknowledged this long ago, and published on it before. Continue reading

Posted in All, conferences, Extractive Industries, Fieldwork, Indigenous Peoples, Russian North, youth wellbeing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Call for Workshop contributions “Gender in Polar Research: Gendered field work conditions, epistemologies and legacies”

A two-day workshop in the framework of

Arctic Science Summit Week 2020, Akureyri, Iceland, 29-30(TBC) March 2020

funded by IASC – the International Arctic Science Committee

Gender in the Arctic

The IASC Social Sciences and Humanities Working Group (WG), together with IASC’s Cryosphere, Marine, and Terrestrial WGs, invites you to a unique cross-disciplinary workshop attempting to bring together the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities in order to discuss and reflect on the gendered nature of Polar research.
The workshop will combine three strands of debate that have thus far not been discussed systematically: (1) Doing science in the 21st century in a way that departs from but also pays careful attention to the history of exploration and colonial endeavours as “heroic” and masculine activities – while a masculine image still seems to dominate the methodologies and practices of Arctic and Polar research. (2) The still existing gender gap when it comes to female researchers in hard sciences, their career prospects, and their sometimes difficult working conditions as women in the field. Critiques of the gender gap and gendered research work have thus far neglected the diversity aspects of queer and gender minority (LGBTQI) researchers. They face particular challenges while working in a still largely heteronormative research environment as it is described for research stations, vessels or tundra/taiga camps. (3) The gendered composition of researchers as actors and the gendered spaces of conducting research, including the field sites, have an important impact on research interests, research design, research ethics and epistemology. The gender bias affects the research subject and methodology, and Polar research can learn from and communicate with other fields of science about how to ensure a high standard of equality, sensitivity to issues of marginalization, and ethical production of science.

We invite participants of the ASSW 2020 from natural and social sciences to pop by at the workshop and to join the discussions and break-out groups. Participants will be engaged through alternative formats to gain a maximum of knowledge exchange as well as to map out the state of the art and ideas about where to go from there.

We invite abstracts for a great variety of contributions in conversation with the three themes outlined above: besides as a set of classic academic papers (15 min) and short inputs (5 min) (e.g. sharing experiences or introducing NGOs and movements).

In particular, the workshop facilitates discussions and break-out group work for examining pressing issues in the thematic fields based on individual, group and scholarly experience and activism. Audiovisual or artistic contributions are very welcome. Also join us for volunteering as an organiser of a break-out group.

Submission of proposal and request for funding

Describe your contribution with an abstract of max 250 words and submit at the latest on the 1st of October 2019 to: and

We can fund a limited number of participants up to 800 euros each. Priority will be given to early-career researchers. Please, indicate your financial need in your message to us.

For more information see IASSA Working Group Gender in the Arctic


Posted in All, Announcements, conferences, Fieldwork | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

New PhD Position at the University of Kiel in Human Reindeer Interactions

The University of Kiel, Germany announces a
PhD Position “Human-reindeer interactions in contemporary and ancient Siberian communities”
in the fields of Cultural Anthropology, Zooarchaeology, Archaeology

The term is fixed for a period of 3,5 years (42 months).Reindeer are intensively herded as a means of subsistence and symbolic identity in many circumpolar societies, but, unique for husbanded animals, lack clear expressions of the ‘domestication syndrome’. Taiga reindeer herding strategies can be seen as domestication-in-practice; they probably impact more strongly on reindeer behavior and biology than the large-scale herding practices in the North Eurasian tundra. Evolutionary changes to the phenotype and the genome of reindeer as well as health-related impacts through such taiga human-animal cohabitation systems are still poorly understood and require more empirical research. The successful candidate will contribute to this field, investigating the evolution of human-reindeer interactions and the emergence of reindeer herding as a means of food production, transport and ideological expression in the Western Siberia taiga through combined ethno-archaeological and zooarchaeological scientific approaches guided by a rigorous theoretical framework grounded in cultural anthropology.

The full announcement can be found here

Posted in All, Announcements, reindeer | Tagged | Leave a comment

Arctic youth well-being reserach project WOLLIE goes to Kola Peninsula

Last week, the mid-term meeting of our research project on youth in Arctic industrial settlements (WOLLIE) took place in Kirovsk and Revda, two mono-industrial cities in the Murmansk Region, North-West Russia. While discussing our project goals and achievements so far, we also visited several places. Being highly industrialised, densely populated and relatively compact, the Murmansk Region showcases the huge diversity of mono-industrial settings in the Arctic.

The WOLLIE team in Revda, where the local teenagers showed us their favourite hang-out place: the ruins of a Soviet-time building project

Single-industry towns are widespread all over the Arctic. What can they offer to their young generation inhabitants? Why do young people want to leave, or to stay? What can be done to make them stay, or return? These are the main questions that WOLLIE is trying to answer. Continue reading

Posted in All, Extractive Industries, Fieldwork, Russian North, youth wellbeing | Leave a comment

Lapland’s cultural codes: ‘unlocking’ experiences in Rovaniemi

Our Arctic Studies Programme in Rovaniemi has already started. Most of the participants are international students, for whom it is the first time not only in Rovaniemi, but also in Finland.


Unlocking your own internal codes in relation to those of other culture might be an appropriate prerequisite for learning, change and enjoyment of your stay in Lapland.

Text about Rovaniemi here 2013_My Rovaniemi_ENG  2013_My Rovaniemi_Suomi

(Stammler-Gossmann, Anna 2013. My Rovaniemi. Heikkilä M. and Laukkanen, M. (eds).The Arctic calls: Finland, the European Union and the Arctic Region. Rovaniemi: Europe Information/Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs)

Posted in All | Leave a comment

‘People of the Changing Permafrost Land’ (Churapcha, Republic of Sakha Yakutia, Russia, June 18-19, 2019) ICE LAW subproject ‘Local and Indigenous Perspectives’

by Anna Stammler-Gossmann

The third community meeting ‘People of the Changing Permafrost Land’ (June 18-19, 2019), which was organised by Anna Stammler-Gossmann (Arctic Centre) and local partners, took place in a remote northern village of Churapcha, administrative centre of the Churapcha District in the Republic of Sakha Yakutia (North East of Russia), one of the coldest inhabited places on earth. The degradation of the permafrost scape, changes in the water-ice-land interface and their impact on the livelihoods of Arctic inhabitants were addressed during the seminar. The main goal of the seminar was twofold. On one hand, it was focused on creating a dialogue between academic representatives (from the social and natural sciences), authorities and local communities. On the other hand, it was important to identify practical solutions to deal with the problem, and to address legally sensitive questions in this field. The scale, the format and the outcomes of this event exceeded all expectations.


Accelerating thermokarst process: Former airport of Churapcha, takeoff and landing runway. Aerial shot: Nikolay Basharin, Institute of Permafrost (Yakutsk)

The seminar in Churapcha gained unexpectedly broad public and media attention. Among more than 120 participants were people who arrived at their own expense from the regional capital of Yakutsk, other districts and villages in order to address their concerns about the accelerating degradation of the permafrost-scape. A regional TV and radio broadcast team was recording and directly translating the event’s courses  ( Several institutions were involved in the event’s organization. The seminar was hosted by the Churapcha State University of Exercise and Sport and was organized under the aegis of the UNESCO National Committee of the Republic of Sakha Yakutia (seminar agenda here).

Until now, issues of increased dynamics in frozen grounds were not amongst the main regional environmental concerns. Floods and forest fires have been the most debated issues on public and governmental agendas. Great public, academic and governmental interest in the event has revealed that the issue of permafrost has evolved and has to be verbalized and introduced to a broader audience. The seminar made it clear that the matter of water-ice-land relations could not be considered separately, especially in this region. The vast territory of the republic (equal the size of India) is almost fully covered by multi-year ice grounds that might go 1500 meters deep.

Several issues covered during the seminar opened a massive range of permafrost related sensitivities: cultural practices of ice use, disturbances in housing, infrastructure and pastures, danger of and for hydropower plants and dams, effects of deforestation, flooding, soil degradation and absence of a legal base to deal with these changes.

workshop15   workshop16

Thermokarst landscape of Churapcha, photo: Anna Stammler-Gossmann

Presentations and open discussions emphasized the complexity and interconnectedness of water-ice-land-scape. “We in Churapcha thought we don’t have enough water for our agricultural needs and we stored water, build huge water reservoirs and dams. Now we have too much water”, stated one of the participants. Another person from the neighboring district Tatta reminded that the residents of his village see the cause of big floods in their area in the Churapcha dams and concluded: “No water or too much water, but now we all together have a general problem with ice.

Speakers and discussants pointed to anthropogenic and natural causes of the thawing processes of the ice ground. Repeatedly raised was the question as to how to deal with that and what kind of legal mechanisms should be applied. It brought conceptual debates on how water-ice relations should be defined. For example, why land, territory and housing destroyed by flooding is eligible for governmental reconstruction measures, but no support is included if the damage was caused by ice.

How should permafrost be defined at all? This powerful question pointed to existing challenges in the conceptual understanding of the phenomenon. Construction workers might see it as a base when building a house. Another speaker emphasized the importance of considering permafrost as a resource. Villagers particularly stressed the cultural practices of ice use for food storage. A different interpretation of permafrost came from the academic side.

workshop17  workshop18

Presentations on thermokarst processes and their impact, photo: Anna Stammler-Gossmann

Scientists from the Permafrost Institute stated that the ‘permafrost’ notion (“everlasting frozen ground”, translated literally from Russian) is just for ‘popular’ use: “Ice cannot be permanent; changes are happening constantly, existing permafrost maps have to be constantly updated”. Ice is the main but not the only component of ‘permafrost’. In an academic geo-cryological paper the use of this definition is not common.

During the meeting, experts from different fields highlighted already existing ideas of dealing with the processes of thermoerosion. The participants could observe their disastrous impact during the visit of two settlements and dams – transformed terrain, huge accelerating gullies, subsided surface, endangered oil reservoir and kinder garden ground.

workshop20   workshop19

Matter of legal regulations: Is water or ice the cause of the destroyed terrain? Visit of the seminar participants in the village of Nuorgana, photo left: Semen Gotovtsev; photo right: Anna Stammler-Gossmann

Scientists and practitioners pointed to methods of filling gullies, the question of seasonality of these measures, methods to increase soil fertility and how to plant trees in the frozen environment. The final session of this big event – the workshop “Production of topsoil and use of the Californian worms” – was a demonstration with the real species of worms and the planting of a real birch tree in the garden of the hosting institution.

workshop21  workshop22

Californian worms in Churapcha soil, photo: Anna Stammler-Gossmann

This event became a platform to not only to express one’s own concerns, reach a bigger audience, and generate new ideas, but to also bring to the public already existing proposals for legal framing and for practical solutions.

Participants adopted a draft resolution and after the seminar handed it over to regional government (draft resolution and presentations available:

    workshop23  workshop24

Photo: Anna Stammler-Gossmann

The main message of the resolution reads as follows:

“There is a need to develop a legal base for the introduction of special regimes of the use of natural resources, their protection and maintenance; also for regulation of nature-human relations of the permafrost land in the context of anthropogenic, climatic and technical impacts on multi-years frozen grounds”.

The ‘People of the Changing Permafrost Land’ seminar happened address the right topics at the right time, in the right place. Several websites as well as regional and local newspapers reported on the event. A regional channel of a national TV network screened a full report about the ICE LAW seminar one week later and the issues raised during this event. A network of “permafrost people” was established. Due to broad media coverage, the event gained an attention by international researchers and media, for example by journalists from the New York Times. After the meeting with the members of the organizing committee, the New York Times group visited Churapcha and the issue of the permafrost became a part of the New York Times publication (

Organizers of the seminar were: Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Finland; Ministry of Ecology, Nature Resource Management and Forestry of the Republic of Sakha Yakutia; Melnikov P.I.  Permafrost Institute of the Russian Academy of Science (Siberian Branch); Churapcha State Institute of Exercise and Sport; Yakutsk State Academy of Agriculture, Arctic State Institute of Culture and Art; Municipal Administration of the Churapcha District; Elders Council “Ytyk Sybe” and NGOs of the Republic of Sakha Yakutia.


The organizers gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Leverhulme Trust (grant number 220000061711) and the Churapcha State University of Exercise and Sport for hosting the seminar. Anna Stammler-Gossmann wishes to thank the organizing committee for its enthusiasm and great assistance. Special thanks go to Uliana Vinokurova (Arctic State Institute of Art and Culture), Oksana Romanova (University of Yakutsk), Semen Gotovtsev (Institute of Permafrost, Daria Stepanova (Academy of Agriculture) and Akulina Mestnikova (Churapcha State University), Vladimir Miloslavski (Tiksi municipality) 

Posted in All | Leave a comment