Contact Information

The Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights
Faculty of Law
P.O. BOX 4
Tel: +358 (0)29 4123140



FINAL CONFERENCE January 19-20, 2017 at the University of Helsinki

Indigeneity in the Arctic: Local and Global Experiences


You can find the Book of Abstract here and the UPDATED PROGRAMME here.

The two day conference on Indigeneity in the Arctic: Local and Global Experiences will take place on Thursday 19th of January from 08.45 to 17.30 and Friday 20th of January 2017 from 9.00 to 17.00. The venue is University of Helsinki's Metsätalo, Lecture room 1 (Unioninkatu 40, Helsinki).

The conference examines the concept of ‘indigenous peoples’ as an international and global phenomenon, and the unique processes through which this concept is applied to, lived and translated for each local situation. What do the concepts "indigenous peoples" and “indigeneity” mean? Are they terms that promote indigenous and human rights, or are they tied to changing power relations in discursive ways? What is the role of these terms in the Finnish context? What are the past and current experiences of indigeneity?

Indigenous peoples’ experiences are closely tied to colonialism, which has shaped indigenous languages, cultures, and livelihoods. But, how is colonialism experienced at micro-levels? What kind of forms did and does colonialism(s) take? How is colonialism reflected in the current research on indigenous peoples? Who defines and decides on research subjects and research topics?

The second day of the conference examines the Arctic and especially Sámi peoples issues. It aims to open new perspectives to the history and presence of indigenous peoples in the Arctic’s multicultural and -lingual history. By bringing together several disciplines, the aim is to foster academic research on understanding the local indigenous communities and the borders of ‘indigeneity’. During the conference, a broad range of standpoints, results and research problems will be put in enriching, constructive dialogue to provide new insights into the studies on ‘indigeneity’.

                      Keynote speakers:
Ulf Mörkenstam, Associate Professor/Senior lecturer, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Stockholm
Michelle Harris, Director, Institute for Global Indigeneity, University of Albany (SUNY)
Else Grete Broderstad, Professor, Centre for Sámi Studies, University of Tromsø.

The registration is now open! Please fill in the online registration form here: The event is open to the public and free of charge for all participants but a registration before January 15, 2017 is compulsory. The available places will be filled in the order of registration. Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation arrangements. The event will be held in English.

The venue is wheelchair accessible and there are places for 3-4 wheelchairs at the back of the lecture room.

Organisers and contacts:
In case you have any questions, please contact

Reetta Toivanen, Dr. Docent, University Lecturer, Academy of Finland project On "Glocal" governance: On the meanings and consequences of the "vernacularization" of Human Rights Concepts (2010-2016), University of Helsinki (
Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen, Assistant Professor, Dr. Docent, Indigenous Studies, University of Helsinki (

Practical information:
Airport and Public transportation

University of Helsinki

Past Events

Unearthing the formation Process of Ethnicity through Archaeological Investigation
-A case of Archaeological Field School in Rebun Island

Visit  and presentation by Professor Hiromufi Kato, 18–19th January 2016 at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights

Minority and Indigenous Rights Organizations in Russia: Balancing in challenging circumstances
Guest Lecture by Alexey Tsykarev, 17th September 2015 (room P545, Yliopistonkatu 3, Porthania)

Visit by Professor Anne Julie Semb
Visit and presentation by Anne Julie Semb, 24–25th of August 2015 at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights

Rights, self-determination, culture - and what do they mean for "indigeneity"
ECI brown bag seminar by Professor Isabelle Schulte-Tenckhoff, 28th May 2014 at 10.15-12, (room P667, Porthania, Yliopistonkatu 3)

Paneelkeskustelu "Kuka on saamelainen?"
11th February 2014, University of Helsinki, room P545 (Porthania, Yliopistonkatu 3).

Language revitalization in a Russian and European context: exploring solutions
for minority language maintenance
16–18th December 2013 at the University of Helsinki, Finland

On ethics and engagements: workshop on the methods in the field research
13–15th May 2013, Venue Sajos, Inari, Finland

Workshop on inter-ethnic relations in the Barents Sea area:
Focusing on the Kola Peninsula
18–19th October 2012 at the University of Helsinki, Finland