Brown Bag Seminar: The importance of respect - ethical guidelines for research on the Sámi

The Sámi, like many other Indigenous peoples around the world, have interested researchers from different fields for a long time. There is a saying that reflects the long history of research on the Sámi people, their cultural heritage and traditional knowledge: “Every Sámi family consists of a mother, a father, children and a researcher.” Historically, the research on the Sámi has been colonialist, and even traumatising. It has often been conducted without the consent or participation of the Sámi, ignoring the Sámi’s own perspectives and knowledge, and violating their rights and dignity.
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Venue location

Tellus Stage, Linnanmaa campus & Zoom



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The development and consolidation of sustainable practices for research on the Sámi and especially the need for ethical guidelines have been discussed among the Sámi and in the field of Sámi research since the 1970s. In 2018, a working group was established in Finland to create ethical guidelines for the research on the Sámi and they will be published early 2024. In line with the modern guidelines for Indigenous research, the guidelines have been prepared in close cooperation with the Sámi communities.

The speakers at this Brown Bag Seminar are Dr Guhtur Niillas Juhána Sigga-Marja (Sigga-Marja Magga) and Dr Sami Lakomäki. Dr Magga has been part of the working group mentioned above and will introduce the ethical guidelines for research on the Sámi. She is the Director of the Giellagas Institute that has a national responsibility, assigned by the Ministry of Education, to organise and promote the highest education and research of the Sámi language and Sámi culture in Finland.

Dr Lakomäki is a University Lecturer of Cultural Anthropology at the Faculty of Humanities. His research has focused on the histories of Indigenous peoples and colonialism in eastern North America, including themes such as politics, diasporas, nation-building, violence, and storytelling. Currently he is involved in a new Formas-funded project “Surviving the Unthinkable: Ecological Destruction and Indigenous Survivance in North America and the Nordic Countries, 1600–2022”. He will discuss how he, as a non-Indigenous cultural anthropologist researching history, has engaged with Indigenous communities and considered ethical issues, and what these experiences have taught, and keep teaching, him.

Please join us on Tuesday 30 January from 11 am to 12 pm at Tellus Stage on Linnanmaa campus to hear Dr Sigga-Marja Magga and Dr Sami Lakomäki and engage in scientific conversation across disciplinary borders. Lunch will be served to registered participants. Please register here by Friday 26 January at 12 pm. The language of the seminar is English.

If you can't make it to the Linnanmaa campus, you can also participate via Zoom.

This autumn, we want to highlight the new Arctic Strategy of the University of Oulu at our Brown Bag seminars. The Arctic Strategy aims to address the challenges and opportunities in the Arctic by creating a sustainable arctic knowledge society. The spearheads of the Arctic Strategy are resilience and ability to respond, environment and one health, and natural resources and business. The University of Oulu has over 150 researchers specialising in Arctic topics, and it works actively in networks that co-operate in matters related to Arctic education and research.

The idea of the University of Oulu's Brown Bag Seminars is to bring together researchers from different fields and to encourage interdisciplinary discussion. Once a month, we invite two of our researchers from different disciplines to talk about their research related to the same topic. Brown Bag seminars are open to everyone - come learn something new and join in the conversation!

Last updated: 16.1.2024