Legal and ethical questions

An important portion of the work of the Saami Culture Archive focuses on the legal issues and questions on the rights to the material gathered from indigenous peoples. At the general level this is linked to the question of the indigenous people’s rights to their own cultural heritage. These themes have been emphasised in the work of UNESCO and World Intellectual Property Organisation, and they are part of the national and international agreements concerning the rights of the Saami people.

This study on legal issues and ethical questions is done in co-operation with University of Lapland, and it is in many ways outstanding: it will offer the Saami Culture Archive principles and a safe way to organise innovative use of the archive material in the future. The work benefits also the users of the archive material on a practical level, since the ethical and legal questions concerning the archive material are investigated. In this field the work has a pioneering status and the Saami Culture Archive functions as a pilot case, which may be of benefit to collections of other ethnic and minority cultures found in sound archives both in Finland and in the Nordic countries.

The questions concerning legal issues and ethical questions are various and they require both a thorough study and also experience on the use of the archive material. The main issues to be investigated are:

- What is the nature of material gathered before the present agreements?

- How can these old collections be used at present and what do the original oral agreements between an interviewer and an informant contain?

- Is it possible to expand the use of material to a wider cultural use in the case that the original informant had agreed that the material should only be used in scientific work?

- How can the law concerning personal registers be applied to the Saami Culture Archive?

- What is the impact of delicate information found in the material?

- Who has a right to access the archive if the use will expand to the area of culture work?

- What are the proper ways to use the material?

- How do the principles of the international agreements on the indigenous peoples’ rights show in the archive?

Last updated: 14.6.2013