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Indigenous

Here you find a number of different areas with associated researchers who in different ways are engaged in research about Arctic indigenous peoples.

Indigenous culture

Johan Runemark Brydsten

Johan Runemark Brydsten is a doctoral student at Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, at the unit for Religious Studies and Theology

He is active in a research project on Sámi Christian confirmation.

Constanze Ackermann-Boström

My research focusses on multilingualism on an individual and societal level in Northern Sweden. Linguistic and cultural reclamation among minoritized language communitues is one of my [...]

main research interests. My current work focusses on the use of Meänkieli among young Tornedalians, Kvens and Lantalaiset. 

Maria Doeke Boekraad

Maria Doeke Boekraad is affiliated as research student at Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies.

She has studied ethics in relation to Sámi research, as well as ecological sustainability in traditional Sámi beliefs and rituals.

Josef Fahlén

Josef Fahlén is a researcher at the Department of Education, Umeå University and associate professor in Sport management and Policy at Norges idrettshøgskole.

Fahlén's research focuses on, amongst other things, management and organisation of Sami sports.

Anne Heith

Anne Heith is an Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and researcher at the Department of Culture and Media Studies, Umeå University, Sweden.

Between 2016 and 2017 she worked with the research project Decolonisation and Revivalism: The Role of Laestadianism in Contemporary Sámi and Tornedalian Texts. The outcome of the project has been published open access and in print in a volume entitled Laestadius and Laestadianism in the Contested Field of Cultural Heritage: A Study of Contemporary Sámi and Tornedalian Texts (ISBN 978-91-7601-827-9). Her current research projects are: Literature and Place-Making: Meänmaa in Contemporary, Tornedalian, Imaginative Writing, and Other Places in the Teaching of Literature: Sápmi, Meänmaa and Migrant Cartographies.

Between 2008 and 2011 she was a researcher in Border Poetics, Tromsø University, Norway. She has been a guest researcher at the Hugo Valentin Centre, Uppsala University, Sweden, on several occasions. She participates in a number of networks and projects exploring bordering practices and identity formation. She collaborates with a Nordic network exploring renewal of the genre of literary history.

Lis-Mari Hjortfors

Lis-Mari Hjortfors is affiliated as research student at Department of Language Studies. 

She has studied, amongst other things, Sámi traditional knowledge, and the relationship between laestadianism and Sámi identity.

Moa Sandström

My research interest is focused on how art expressions and practices from discourse which in turn [...]

affect human relations and philosophical assumptions on humanity’s place in relation to the planet and the universe.

Currently I am working on a dissertation project with the working title Dekoloniseringskonst – artivism I 2010-talet Sápmi In the project artivism (activism through art) in relation to questions of decolonization through mainly four contemporary Sámi artists’ works and activities: the artivist Jenni Laiti (including the artivismcollective Suohpanterror), the pictoral artirst Anders Sunna, the poet and spoke word artist Timmie Märak and also the joiker Jörgen Stenberg. Decolonization kan, in short, be seen as processes which aims for gaining freedom from something colonial, and the adoption of non-colonial alternatives.

Indigenous education

Kristina Belancic

Kristina Belancic is currently a PhD student in language teaching and learning at the Department of Language Studies and Vaartoe at University of Umeå, Sweden.

Her PhD research focuses on Sámi children’s language use in the Sámi educational context in Sápmi. In particular her work examines Sámi children’s opportunities for language use from both the macro-level and micro-level.

Johan Hansson

My research is primarily about history didactics as well as educational history and currently I am researching

teaching at the Sámi’s public school in theory and practice from the 1940’s to the 2010’s. Beyond my research I also work hourly as a teacher, primarily with teaching different courses at the teacher’s university education programme.

Michael Lindblad

Michael Lindblad is associate professor at the Department of Applied Educational Science. 

I'm currently leading a project about young Sami people and their transition using life stories. Being Sami myself I´m stepping into the field of indigenous research with great interest.

Extractive industries

Kristina Sehlin Macneil

Kristina Sehlin MacNeil is since July 25 2017 employed as a Postdoctoral Researcher at Vaartoe - Centre for Sami Research.

Her postdoc project builds on her PhD research where she examined conflicts and power relations between extractive industries and Indigenous peoples and where she introduced the concept of Extractive Violence, in order to describe how extractivism can affect Indigenous communities. Sehlin MacNeil's research focuses on asymmetric conflicts and power relations that exist between these parties and explores how cultural, structural and extractive violence impact on Indigenous communities. She has primarily worked together with Indigenous communities in Sweden and Australia, as well as Canada more recently. 

Apart from this Kristina Sehlin MacNeil teaches as much as time allows and is also the Co-Director of the Faculty of Arts Doctoral College (FADC).

Åsa Össbo

Åsa Össbo is a researcher at Várdduo – Centre for Sámi Research, with a current research project called “Damage Done. Indigenous peoples' experiences of and [...]

recommendations for energy production” funded by the Swedish Energy Agency 2019-2022.

In 2014, Åsa concluded a dissertation in history on Swedish Hydropower expansion in Sápmi and have since then worked as a lecturer at Sámi Dutkan - Sámi studies at the Language department for one year and worked as a research co-ordinator and Postdoctoral researcher at Várdduo. In addition to ongoing research, Åsa is the convenor of the Forest Sámi research platform, a group of researchers and actors with an aim to rise the awareness of Forest Sámi research questions. In 2020, on the 100 years anniversary, the platform will re-publish the important Forest Sámi pamphlet "Dat läh mijen situd" (Eng: This is our will) written by forest Sámi teacher and politician Karin Stenberg and author Valdemar Lindholm, the book will be accompanied by an anthology with articles on Karin Stenberg, Valdemar Lindholm and Forest Sámi issues.

Åsa’s research interests are: Indigenous peoples' historical and contemporary land use with a certain focus on the Arctic, social consequences of and conflicts over natural resource extraction, mainly hydropower production, in Indigenous peoples' areas.

Indigenous health & well-being

Kristin Ahlm

Kristin Ahlm is affiliated to the Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation.

She has done research on mortality in relation to different parameters, for an example unnatural deaths within reindeer herding Sámi families.

Per Axelsson

Together with Christina Storm Mienna I am leading the HALDI – project. The overall aim of the project is to establish a comprehensive understanding of [...]

the present health and living conditions for the adult population in Jokkmokk municipality, including the Sami population. Funding has been received from Wallenbergstiftelserna (MAW 2019-23) and the  Ministry of Health and Social Affairs (2018).

Hanna Blåhed

Political scientist with a master’s degree in Public Health.

Holds an interest in Arctic health. At present working with a Health Impact Assessment regarding the potential mine establishment in Gállok/Kallak which connects to Indigenous health.

Anette Edin-Liljegren

Anette Edin-Liljegren, BMA, adjunct associate professor at the Department of Nursing and research coordinator/researcher at the Rural medicine centre, [...]

FOU-staff in Region Västerbotten and FOU-head within the hospital care area of Southern Lapland. I am also associated as researcher at LIME, Innovative care at the Caroline Institute (KI).

After my thesis within clinical chemistry at Gothenburg University my research has been about the health situation of the Sámi, especially amongst reindeer herders and their working environment since the year 2000, for starters at the Stiftelsen Glesbygdens research unit in southern Lapland. Risk factors for cardiovascular disease, life quality, psychosocial health, work related health as well as trust in the healthcare system has been some of the areas which I have studied together with Sámi representatives and other researchers. I am also the head supervisor for the doctoral student project “Sámi and care in palliative care – knowledge about traditions to develop the care of the future”.

At the Rural medicine centre we study different solutions for a high quality and close care in municipalities and regions. My research is now about digital care meetings, social rooms and continuity in the healthcare system.

Jing Helmersson

Jing is a modeller in public health and a physicist with two PhDs, one in Public Health (Umeå University 2018) and one in Physics (University of Michigan 1989).

Jing has published 76 scientific articles in physics and public health. Her current research is comparison between Sámi Traditional Healing with Traditional Chinese Medicine - literature review and interview study. Her main research interests are Arctic well-being with focus on integration of scientific research with traditional knowledge/practices of Indigenous people.

Her previous research in public health was to study the relationship between climate change and health. She developed mathematical models for vector-borne disease (dengue) and Aedes mosquitoes, and their future projections under various climate change scenarios to support climate mitigation. She was born in China and lived in USA for 20 years before moving to Sweden in 2004. Jing was formerly a professor in Physics from California State University Long Beach with over 20 years of physics research in quantum optics and soft condensed matter physics - magnetorheological fluids. She also has experience in Chinese medicine in the area of disease prevention and lifestyle consultation. In addition, she gives public lecturer/workshops on promoting well-being from body, mind and spirit.

Lars Jacobsson

Lars Jacobsson is affiliated as professor emeritus at the Department of Clinical Studies, at the psychiatry unit.

For many years I have worked with mental health in several different environments, including Africa, Central America and countries in Eastern Europe. During later years I have, together with several postgraduate students, researched the mental health issues of Swedish Sami with particular focus on suicide issues. In connection with this I have also collaborated with scientists and clinicians in Norway, Finland and Russia to further develop the work being made on suicide prevention among Sami.

Lena Maria Nilsson

I work as a research coordinator at the Arctic Research Centre (60%), and at Várdduo, the Centre for Sami Research (20%) where I also work as Deputy Director.

I hold a PhD in public health (2012), with my thesis focusing on traditional Sami lifestyle factors as determinants of health. In autumn 2012 I was in involved in an Arctic food and water security project, initiated by the The Arctic Human Health Experts Group within the Arctic Council. So far, this project has resulted in one report, two book chapters, six journal papers and continuing research collaborations on food security in the Arctic. As of March 2020, my total scientific production included 67 peer reviewed papers, and eight book chapters. In 2016, I was the first 2016 laureate of the “Eva de la Gardie” Research Residency, a mobility program organized in collaboration between Institut Francais de Suède (IFS) and Institut Suédois in Paris in order to improve cooperation between France and Sweden. I am the secretary of the Nordic Society for Circumpolar Health, and a member of the steering group of Neon, the Nordic Nutrition Epidemiological Network. Based on my broad expertise, I am often invited to speak to both scientific and public audiences, including four key note lectures at large International conferences.

Annika Nordström

Annika Nordström is adjunct associate professor at Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.

Her research is about social service issues in different groups, for an example alcoholism in some reindeer herding Sámi families.

Anne Ouma

Anne Ouma holds a PhD in Social and economic geography from the University of Umeå Sweden and an MSc in environmental science and technology from IHE UNESCO Water Institute, Delft Holland.

Previously Ouma worked, inter alia at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and at the Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA) on issues related to biodiversity conservation and Sustainable human development. She has experience in providing expertise to development projects on economic, environmental, social determinants of sustainable human development for over a decade. Her current research focus and interests are connected to the role of traditional /indigenous knowledge systems within contemporary health and well- being. Ouma who has lived and worked in the Arctic with her family for more than a decade and is lead researcher for action research-based consultancies for Region Vasterbotten County Health Ministry on Health Governance partnerships with Kenyan counties .Currently, Ouma is affiliated to the Arctic Centre at Umea University and Centre for Sami Studies as a Researcher. Her latest Publication is a book chapter on Food Security in the High North Contemporary Challenges across the Circumpolar Region. (Published September 10, 2020 by Routledge) which is a result of project collaboration with various actors

Klas-Göran Sahlen

Klas-Göran Sahlen is Deputy head of the Department and chair of the Program Council for the Master Programs in Public Health (PRPH).

Research mainly in health economics and health related preventive actions.

Miguel San Sebastian

I coordinate the Norrland Observatory for Equity in Health and Health Care (NOEHHC) which monitors socioeconomic inequalities in health and health care in northern Sweden.

I am also health research leader at Várdduo-Center for Sami Research.

Anders Wänman

Anders Wänman is professor, senior consultant dentist at Department of Odontology.

He is head of the department, and has previously done research on dental health amongst Sámi women.

Indigenous history

Daniel Andersson

Daniel Andersson is associate professor at the Department of Language Studies.

Place-making in a post-colonial Swedish Sápmi with a special emphasis on (1) the way nature plays a part in the narrative of Lapland and (2) the meaning of minority place-names for peoples sense of place, language revitalization and place-based identity.

Isabelle Brännlund

My overall research interest concern the history of Sápmi and northern Sweden.

I focus on the relationship between human and nature, with an emphasis on social resilience, reindeer husbandry and the importance of place. I also have an interest in childbirth and midwifery in northern rural areas and what the development of midwifery can tell us about social relations, acculturation and gender.

Constanze Ackermann-Boström

My research focusses on multilingualism on an individual and societal level in Northern Sweden. Linguistic and cultural reclamation among minoritized language communitues is one of my [...]

main research interests. My current work focusses on the use of Meänkieli among young Tornedalians, Kvens and Lantalaiset. 

Johan Hansson

My research is primarily about history didactics as well as educational history and currently I am researching

teaching at the Sámi’s public school in theory and practice from the 1940’s to the 2010’s. Beyond my research I also work hourly as a teacher, primarily with teaching different courses at the teacher’s university education programme.

Lis-Mari Hjortfors

Lis-Mari Hjortfors is affiliated as research student at Department of Language Studies. 

She has studied, amongst other things, Sámi traditional knowledge, and the relationship between laestadianism and Sámi identity.

Philip Jerand

My research focus on prehistoric and historic Sámi settlements situated in northern Norway and Sweden, on different altitudes and in dissimilar environments.

From the woodland valley of River Pasvik in the taiga zone of northern Norway, to the mountainous region of Tärna in Västerbotten county, Sweden. I use a multiproxy approach comprising chemical, physical and spectral analyses of soils and sediments, such as phosphate analysis, magnetic susceptibility, loss on ignition, NIR and Raman spectroscopy, together with archaeological remains and ethnographic accounts in order to examine questions of spatial use, methodology, modelling and ethno-archaeology.

Patrik Lantto

Patrik Lantto is a professor of history working at Vaartoe – Centre for Sami Research at Umeå University.

He defended his PhD thesis, Tiden börjar på nytt: En analys av samernas etnopolitiska mobilisering i Sverige 1900–1950 on the ethnopolitical mobilization of the Sami in Sweden, in 2000. In 2013 he became a professor, and he served as the Director of Vaartoe 2013-2018. His research mainly focusses on Sami political mobilization in Sweden and the Swedish Sami policy in a more contemporary historical perspective. He has published more than 60 texts in the field of Sami history, among them the two books Att göra sin stämma hörd: Svenska Samernas Riksförbund, samerörelsen och svensk samepolitik 1950–1962 (2003), and Lappväsendet: Tillämpningen av svensk samepolitik 1885–1971 (2012).

Daniel Lindmark

My research concerns Sami culture and history, especially Sami interaction with the church and state in Sweden from the 17th century and onwards.

Mission and education are two areas of special interest. Historcial justice is a current theme, more precisely truth and reconciliation commissions with a focus on Sami and other people in the arctic region.

Krister Stoor

Krister Stoor, born in Jukkasjärvi, grew up in Kiruna and Orusjohka in the northern part of Sweden. Director of Vaartoe - Centre of Sámi Research, Umeå University.

Earned my Ph.D, in 2007. My dissertation is based on yoik tales – Jojkberättelser. My academic research field is folklore, narratives and yoik, the Sami way of singing.

The arctic and Indigenous perspective is always important in my research. Through the elders’ experiences, their practical work and oral traditions we can gain a good picture of heritage and knowledge. In that way we tie past, present and future together – like a crocheted tablecloth.

I am also a performer, playing with Stuoris & Balddonas, and solo. Giving workshops in yoiking. Furthermore I have published three CD:s.

Charlotta Svonni

The educational system and the knowledge content for Sami is central in my research.

I am doing my doctoral degree in history with an educational science aim, and my thesis encompasses the time period from the 1950’s up until today where the contents of steering documents and course plans for the Nomadic school and the Sami school (on the Swedish side of Sápmi) are in focus.

Sami education is done in Sami schools within Sápmi, and therefor also the Arctic, which means that my research is a an obvious part of Arctic research in general.

Indigenous rights

Anna-Lill Drugge

Anna-Lill Drugge is associate professor at Department of Language Studies, at the units for Sámi studies. 

She has amongst other things studied ethics in indigenous research.

Christine Godeau

My research interest are interdisciplinary.

Focused on land use change driven by green energy transition, reindeer herding and indigenous- and gender perspectives.

Göran Bostedt

Senior lecturer in economics, at the Umeå School of Business and Economics, USBE, and associate professor in resource economics at the Dept. of Forest Economics, SLU.

Also part-time research leader at Várdduo, Umeå University’s center for Sami research. Active at CERE, the Centre for Environmental and Resource Economics, which consists of researchers from both SLU and Umeå University.

Research interests include natural resource conflicts in arctic environments, with focus on the conflict between forestry and reindeer husbandry. Another strain of research has been conflicts from growing carnivore populations, where my research has been focused both on costs for livestock owners, non-market benefits of these carnivore populations, and the Swedish system for compensations for carnivore damages, where the latter can be seen as a variant of a PES (Payments for Environmental Services) system. I have also done work on transaction costs in the mandatory consultations between reindeer husbandry and forestry representatives. My research on policy analysis also extends to spatial planning of forest landscapes to promote a more sustainable and diverse management of forests.

Patrik Lantto

Patrik Lantto is a professor of history working at Vaartoe – Centre for Sami Research at Umeå University.

He defended his PhD thesis, Tiden börjar på nytt: En analys av samernas etnopolitiska mobilisering i Sverige 1900–1950 on the ethnopolitical mobilization of the Sami in Sweden, in 2000. In 2013 he became a professor, and he served as the Director of Vaartoe 2013-2018. His research mainly focusses on Sami political mobilization in Sweden and the Swedish Sami policy in a more contemporary historical perspective. He has published more than 60 texts in the field of Sami history, among them the two books Att göra sin stämma hörd: Svenska Samernas Riksförbund, samerörelsen och svensk samepolitik 1950–1962 (2003), and Lappväsendet: Tillämpningen av svensk samepolitik 1885–1971 (2012).

Elsa Reimerson

I am a teacher and researcher in political science with a particular focus on environmental politics, conservation, and Indigenous peoples in the Sámi and Nordic parts of the Arctic.

My PhD thesis explored Indigenous peoples' space for political agency in the governance and management of protected areas, with a particular focus on Sápmi on the Swedish and Norwegian sides. 2018-2021 I primarily work within the research project Bring down the sky to the earth: how to use forests to open up for constructive climate change pathways in local contexts, an interdisciplinary collaborative project that aims to explore ways to make anthropogenic climate change relevant for people in urban and rural contexts, enable development of optional pathways, and develop measures tailored to face climate change challenges on local levels.

Ekaterina Zmyvalova

Ekaterina is a postgraduate student at the Department of Language Studies. She says the following about the Arctic perspective of her research:

In my research I examine how the provisions of international and national law concerning the right in focus are reflected upon and realized in primary education that targets Sámi learners in Sweden and in Russia.

The project, A comparative study of the implementation of indigenous children’s right to learn their mother tongue at school: Sámi in Sweden and in Russia, is based on the idea that law can enforce and sustain the status of a minority language in a certain community only if the implementation of law meets varying needs of the community in question. In the Sámi context, in order for the law to be able to protect or maintain the language of the Sámi community, the members of the community should be able to influence educational decisions at least at a local level, but preferably already at higher decision-making levels.

Indigenous languages

Daniel Andersson

Daniel Andersson is associate professor at the Department of Language Studies.

Place-making in a post-colonial Swedish Sápmi with a special emphasis on (1) the way nature plays a part in the narrative of Lapland and (2) the meaning of minority place-names for peoples sense of place, language revitalization and place-based identity.

Kristina Belancic

Kristina Belancic is currently a PhD student in language teaching and learning at the Department of Language Studies and Vaartoe at University of Umeå, Sweden.

Her PhD research focuses on Sámi children’s language use in the Sámi educational context in Sápmi. In particular her work examines Sámi children’s opportunities for language use from both the macro-level and micro-level.

Constanze Ackermann-Boström

My research focusses on multilingualism on an individual and societal level in Northern Sweden. Linguistic and cultural reclamation among minoritized language communitues is one of my [...]

main research interests. My current work focusses on the use of Meänkieli among young Tornedalians, Kvens and Lantalaiset. 

Anna-Lill Drugge

Anna-Lill Drugge is associate professor at Department of Language Studies, at the units for Sámi studies. 

She has amongst other things studied ethics in indigenous research.

Krister Stoor

Krister Stoor, born in Jukkasjärvi, grew up in Kiruna and Orusjohka in the northern part of Sweden. Director of Vaartoe - Centre of Sámi Research, Umeå University.

Earned my Ph.D, in 2007. My dissertation is based on yoik tales – Jojkberättelser. My academic research field is folklore, narratives and yoik, the Sami way of singing.

The arctic and Indigenous perspective is always important in my research. Through the elders’ experiences, their practical work and oral traditions we can gain a good picture of heritage and knowledge. In that way we tie past, present and future together – like a crocheted tablecloth.

I am also a performer, playing with Stuoris & Balddonas, and solo. Giving workshops in yoiking. Furthermore I have published three CD:s.

Kirk P H Sullivan

Kirk P H Sullivan is professor at Department of Language Studies, at the unit for linguistics.

He has amongst other things studied indigenous writing and literacy.

Ekaterina Zmyvalova

Ekaterina is a postgraduate student at the Department of Language Studies. She says the following about the Arctic perspective of her research:

In my research I examine how the provisions of international and national law concerning the right in focus are reflected upon and realized in primary education that targets Sámi learners in Sweden and in Russia.

The project, A comparative study of the implementation of indigenous children’s right to learn their mother tongue at school: Sámi in Sweden and in Russia, is based on the idea that law can enforce and sustain the status of a minority language in a certain community only if the implementation of law meets varying needs of the community in question. In the Sámi context, in order for the law to be able to protect or maintain the language of the Sámi community, the members of the community should be able to influence educational decisions at least at a local level, but preferably already at higher decision-making levels.

Indigenous legal systems

Monica Burman

Law, gender and society is the core in my research of men’s violence against women. The ambition with my research is to pinpoint how laws are connected with power structures in society [...]

for an example gender and racism, and how understanding and handling of the violence can change.

I lead a project about violence against Sámi women which reviews how the state and the Sámi society takes responsibility in the question. I also participate in a crossdisciplinary project about violence against women as a public health issue and research healthcare’s preparedness and management.

I am one of two chief editors for the open access journal Nordic Journal on Law and Society and hold a seat on the national board for Rädda Barnen.

Indigenous youth

Kristina Belancic

Kristina Belancic is currently a PhD student in language teaching and learning at the Department of Language Studies and Vaartoe at University of Umeå, Sweden.

Her PhD research focuses on Sámi children’s language use in the Sámi educational context in Sápmi. In particular her work examines Sámi children’s opportunities for language use from both the macro-level and micro-level.

Constanze Ackermann-Boström

My research focusses on multilingualism on an individual and societal level in Northern Sweden. Linguistic and cultural reclamation among minoritized language communitues is one of my [...]

main research interests. My current work focusses on the use of Meänkieli among young Tornedalians, Kvens and Lantalaiset. 

Michael Lindblad

Michael Lindblad is associate professor at the Department of Applied Educational Science. 

I'm currently leading a project about young Sami people and their transition using life stories. Being Sami myself I´m stepping into the field of indigenous research with great interest.

Anne Ouma

Anne Ouma holds a PhD in Social and economic geography from the University of Umeå Sweden and an MSc in environmental science and technology from IHE UNESCO Water Institute, Delft Holland.

Previously Ouma worked, inter alia at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and at the Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA) on issues related to biodiversity conservation and Sustainable human development. She has experience in providing expertise to development projects on economic, environmental, social determinants of sustainable human development for over a decade. Her current research focus and interests are connected to the role of traditional /indigenous knowledge systems within contemporary health and well- being. Ouma who has lived and worked in the Arctic with her family for more than a decade and is lead researcher for action research-based consultancies for Region Vasterbotten County Health Ministry on Health Governance partnerships with Kenyan counties .Currently, Ouma is affiliated to the Arctic Centre at Umea University and Centre for Sami Studies as a Researcher. Her latest Publication is a book chapter on Food Security in the High North Contemporary Challenges across the Circumpolar Region. (Published September 10, 2020 by Routledge) which is a result of project collaboration with various actors