Indigenous Heritage 2017 Speakers

The keynote speakers at the Indigenous Heritage 2017 Conference are Rauna Kuokkanen from the University of Lapland and Margaret Kovach from the University of Saskatchewan.

The other speakers are confirmed panellists. 

Andrea Carmen, Yaqui Nation, has been a staff member of the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) since 1983 and IITC’s Executive Director since 1992.  Andrea has many years of experience working as a human rights trainer and observer around the world, and was IITC’s team leader for work on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In 1997, she was one of two Indigenous representatives invited to formally address the UN General Assembly for the first time in history at the UN Earth Summit +5. In 2006, Andrea was a Rapporteur for the UN “Expert Seminar on Indigenous Peoples’ Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources and their Relationship to Land”, the first time an Indigenous woman had been selected to serve as a Rapporteur for an UN Expert Seminar. Andrea has been an expert presenter at UN bodies and seminars addressing Treaties and Treaty rights, Indigenous Peoples Cultural Indicators for Biological Diversity, Food Sovereignty and Sustainable Development, the Millennium and Sustainable Development Goals, Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Participation in Decision-making, Indigenous Children under State Custody, Climate Change and Human Rights, Reproductive and Environmental Health, International Repatriation and Rights of the Child. Since 2010, Andrea has served on the Indigenous Peoples Global Steering Committee for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change since 2009, which coordinates IITC’s International Work at the UNFCCC.

Ranjan Datta is a South Asian Indigenous descent from Bangladesh. He has strong commitment to and passion for Indigenous environmental sustainability, Indigenous land rights, anti-racist theory and practice, decolonization, social and environmental justice, community gardens, and Indigenous research methodology and methods. He is dedicated to building cross-cultural bridges amongst Aboriginal, immigrant, and refugee communities in Saskatoon. He is known as a community activist on Indigenous and immigrant rights as well as for making positive impacts on the community. His recent book, "Indigenous perspectives on Land-water Management and Environmental Sustainability", is under-review by the State University of New York (SUNY) Press. His edited book, "Land, Responsibilities, and Reconciliation", is under contact with London: Routledge. He connects and leads various social justice movements in Saskatoon: Idle No More, Walking with our Sisters, community gardening, immigrants, LGBTQ rights, and Climate Justice.

Stefan Disko works with the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) on issues related to the World Heritage Convention and UNESCO. He is co-author of World Heritage Sites and Indigenous Peoples' Rights (IWGIA, 2014).

Philippe Erikson is Professor at the University of Paris Nanterre and director of the Centre for Ethnology and Comparative Sociology (Laboratoire d’ethnologie et de sociologie comparative–LESC). He was a coordinator of research project Fabriq’am– La fabrique des « patrimoines » : Mémoires, savoirs et politiques en Amérique indienne aujourd’hui (Making of “heritages”: memory, knowledge and politics in current Amerindian societies) 2013–2016. He is a specialist in Pano linguistic family. Erikson has served as elected member of Section 38 of the CNRS National Committee (2004–2008), Director of the Ethnology Department of Nanterre (2005-2009) and Vice-President of the Société des Américanistes (2008–2017). He has worked mainly with the Matis in Brazil and the Chacobo in Bolivia.

Marina Fedina is Associate Professor and director of the Centre for Innovative Language Technology at the Komi Republican Academy of Civil Service and Management, Syktyvkar, Komi Republic (Russian Federation).

Aytalina Ivanova is a postdoc in a NRC NORUSS project at UiT the Arctic University of Norway and a lecturer in the Faculty of Law, Northeastern Federal University, Yakutsk, Russia. Dr Ivanova has specialised in anthropology legal studies, environmental, minority and land legislation in Russia and indigenous peoples and the extractive industries. As industries advance to ever more remote areas of Russia, it encounters the traditional livelihoods of indigenous peoples. The legal regulation of that contact is at the heart of Ivanova’s expertise. She has worked on cases from the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Kamchatka in Russia as well as shorter analyses of cases in northern Norway.

Tuomas Aslak Juuso (Gáijjot Ántte Issáha Duommá) is a Sámi from Karesuvanto, currently living in Kilpisjärvi, Finland. He holds the position of second vice-chair of the Sámi Parliament in Finland and is serving his second 4-year term as a member of the Parliament. Previously, Juuso has been president of the National Finnish Sámi Youths and a co-chair of the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus.

Tuomas Aslak Juuso has been active in Sámi and international Indigenous politics for years, and has presented the Sámi people at the United Nations several times, including UNPFII, EMRIP, Human Rights Council and General Assembly levels. He has participated in the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) process by being one of the Indigenous Global Coordinating Group members. He was also one of the Indigenous representatives in the negotations of the outcome document of the WCIP. Mr. Juuso also actively participated in the EMRIP's mandate review process, where they negotatiated the new mandate of EMRIP that is currently in place. 

Dmitry Kharakka-Zaitsev, PhD in Law, belongs to Izhora indigenous people. He works as practicing lawyer, and is a board member of regional National-cultural Autonomy of Ingrian Finns and board member of community of small-numbered indigenous people Izhora “Shojkula”. Kharakka-Zaitsev has ample experience in indigenous issues and interrelations with authorities at multiple levels. Since 1995 he has been engaging activities devoted to protection of national minorities and indigenous rights, indigenous life environment, support and development of indigenous peoples’ languages and culture. He has also been leading and participating in different international and regional social projects dedicated to support indigenous peoples. The Council of the Kindred People’s Programme decided to award the 2015 Ilmapuu (World Tree) Prize to Dmitrii Kharakka-Zaitsev for preservation and development of Izhorian culture and protection of Izhora traditional environment.

Margaret Kovach is of Plains Cree and Saulteaux ancestry and a member of Pasqua First Nation located in southern Saskatchewan. She is currently an Associate Professor at the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Kovach's work focuses on Indigenous research methodologies and the integration of Indigenous knowledges within post-secondary learning sites. Dr. Kovach's publications have had a significant impact in her field.  Of note, her book, Indigenous Methodologies: Characteristics, Conversations, and Contexts, published through the University of Toronto Press. In 2015, she was the planning co-chair of the University of Saskatchewan hosted National forum Building Reconciliation: Universities answering the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action. Dr. Kovach is a Member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada.

Rauna Kuokkanen is Sámi from Ohcejohka (Utsjoki), Northern Finland. She is Research Professor of Arctic Indigenous Politics at the University of Lapland, Finland. She also holds a position of Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science and Indigenous Studies Program at the University of Toronto. Her main areas of research include comparative Indigenous politics, Indigenous feminist theory, Indigenous women’s rights and Arctic Indigenous governance. Professor Kuokkanen is the author of Reshaping the University: Responsibility, Indigenous Epistemes and the Logic of the Gift (UBC Press, 2007) and Boaris dego eana: Eamiálbmogiid diehtu, filosofiijat ja dutkan (translated title: As Old as the Earth. Indigenous Knowledge, Philosophies and Research, Čálliidlágádus, Sámi Academica Series, 2009). Her new book is titled Restructuring Relations: Indigenous Self-Determination and Governance in Canada, Greenland and Scandinavia forthcoming by Oxford UP. She was the founding chair of the Sámi Youth Organization in Finland and has served as the Vice-President of the Sámi Council. She has also long worked and advocated for the protection of Sámi sacred sites, particularly Suttesája, a sacred Sámi spring in Northern Finland. 

Petra Laiti is the chairperson of the Finnish Sámi Youth Organization (Suoma Sámi Nuorat) and a co-chair of the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus–GIYC. She is a Sámi from Inari, Finland. Laiti is currently studying at Hanken School of Economics. She has been active in Sámi politics in Finland for several years and has attended the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Laiti also actively blogs about Sámi rights in Finland.

Pirkko Moisala is Professor of Musicology and Ethnomusicology at the University of Helsinki. Her research interests include music anthropology, as well as gender and cultural studies of music. She has studied music of the indigenous peoples in Nepal (since 1975), the Sámi of Northern Europe (since 2001) and the Inuit of Greenland (2017). In addition to monographs and anthologies in Finnish and Swedish, her publications include Musical Encounters with Deleuze and Guattari (Bloomsbury, 2017), Kaija Saariaho (University of Illinois Press, 2009), Gender and Qualitative Methods (Sage, 2003), Music and Gender (University of Illinois Press, 2000) and Cultural Cognition in Music, Continuity and Ghange in the Gurung Music of Nepal (Gummerus, 1991).

Tero Mustonen has worked as the traditional knowledge coordinator for Eurasia for the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment. Professionally, he works for the award-winning Snowchange Cooperative, which is a non-profit organization based in Finland with members across the Arctic, including the communities of Eastern Sámi, Chukchi, Yukaghir, Sakha, Evenk, Even, Inuit, Inuvialuit, Gwitchin and many more. Dr. Mustonen is well-known scholar of Arctic biodiversity, climate change and indigenous issues. He is also winter seiner. Mustonen has won several human rights and environmental awards for the work with Snowchange and indigenous peoples of the Arctic. He is also an adopted full status member of the Kwakwakwala First Nation based in British Columbia, Canada. He is also a Docent at the University of Eastern Finland.

Ragnhild Lydia Nystad lives in Karasjok. She was the vice-president of the Norwegian Sámi Parliament in 1997–2005. From 1995 to 1997 she served as parliamentary leader of the Norwegian Sami National Association and in 1985–1991 she acted as the head of the Norwegian Sámi National Association, being its first female leader. During the same period, she established and led the Sami Nursing Association. In the period 1986-1997, she was a member of the Sámi Council. Besides being a Sámi politician, she has acted in art field, among others leading art school in Kárajok.

Jukka Nyyssönen works as a researcher at the department of Archaeology, History, Religious Studies and Theology, as well as Department of Cultural Sciences at Tromsø University museum, both at the UiT – the Arctic University of Norway. He defended a doctoral thesis in 2007 on Sámi identity politics in Finland, in addition to which, his research interests include Sámi politics in Finland, Sámi research, historiography and history of education. Currently he leads a research project Societal Dimensions of Sámi research at the Tromsø University Museum and he is a member of the international Editorial Board of the journal Arktika i sever, Arctic and North.

Jelena Porsanger is an independent Skolt Sámi scholar with Doctoral degree in the history of religion and indigenous research from the University of Tromsø (Norway), and a degree of Licentiate in philosophy from the University of Helsinki (Finland). She previously worked as Rector of Sámi University of Applied Sciences, Associate Professor at the Department of Sámi at the University of Tromsø, and lecturer and researcher at the University of Helsinki. She worked as the Chief editor of a Sámi research journal Sámi dieđalaš áigečála. Porsanger is currently a member of the international Editorial Board of AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples.

Susanne Schnüttgen is the Chief of the Capacity Building and Heritage Policy Unit in the UNESCO Secretariat of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003). She coordinates the Section’s global capacity-building programme and a thematic programme on integrating intangible cultural heritage in education. She also represents the Section and the Division for Creativity in the intersectoral UNESCO teams on indigenous peoples’ issues and gender. From 2004 to 2011 she was team leader in the UNESCO Cultural Policies Section, responsible for developing tools and programmes to support the mainstreaming of international standards for the protection and promotion of cultural diversity in national development strategies. She was then house-wide coordinator of UNESCO’s collaboration with indigenous peoples.

Prior to her work in the Culture Sector, Ms Schnüttgen worked as Programme Specialist in the Education Sector from 1995 to 2004 at Headquarters and in the field (Burkina Faso). She holds a Postgraduate Degree in Political Science (1996) and a Masters Degree in Education (1994) from the Free University of Berlin; she was awarded scholarships for studies at the University of Turin, Italy (1991) and Essex, United Kingdom (1989).

Irja Seurujärvi-Kari, PhD in Sámi and Finno-Ugric studies, is a researcher of indigenous studies and a retired Sámi lecturer of Sámi studies at the university of Helsinki. Her dissertation Ale jaskkot eatnigiella (Meaning of indigenous movement and language to Sámi identity), which deals with indigenous movement and the role of language in it, was published in 2012. She has co-edited several anthologies of Sámi people and their culture. The Saami: a cultural encyclopaedia was awarded the State Prize Award by the Ministry of Education in 2005. In addition to her academic work, she has been chairman and board member of the Sámi Parliament, the Sámi Council and the World Council of Indigenous Peoples, as well as several other indigenous organs since the 1980s. 

Galina Shkalina is Doctor of cultural studies, and currently Professor and Head of the Department of Culture and Arts of the Mari State University. 

Florian Stammler is Research Professor at the University of Lapland, Arctic Centre. He is a Social Anthropologist and specialises in Arctic Anthropology, particularly the Russian Far North. He has published on indigenous peoples and the extractive industries, legal anthropology, Arctic oral histories, human-animal-environment relations in Arctic pastoralism, indigenous knowledge, industrial migration, and centre-periphery relations.

Kiri R. Toki is the Indigenous Fellow at WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization). She is Maori of Ngati Wai and Ngapuhi tribal descent. Toki holds a Master of Law from Harvard Law School and a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Law (Honors) from the University of Auckland. She is an experienced commercial litigator and is familiar with the application of intellectual property with respect to indigenous peoples. Toki has also been active in a range of indigenous organizations, and has participated in international forums such as the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Aleksey Tsykarev is a member and former Chairperson-Rapporteur of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He has worked as a national minority activist in the Republic of Karelia to heading the International Youth Association of Finno-Ugric Peoples. He has also have experience in representation of the Republic of Karelian in the Barents Regional Youth Council. He has been involved in a number of international projects in sphere of arts, education, human rights and civic diplomacy. 

Mai Britt Utsi is Assistant Professor of Sámi literature studies at the Sámi University of Applied Sciences. She has also acted as a rector of this university in Kautokeino. At her rector period, the main aim was the accreditation process for the PhD program in Sámi language and literature which was approved in 2015 by NOKUT. Her research interests include Sámi and Indigenous Oral Literature and her current project is a study on the Sámi Yoiking tradition in Várjjat (Varanger). She has been a long experience of being a teacher in Sámi primary school.

Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine is the chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and originally from Mali. She holds a degree from the Medicine School of the University of Tizi-Ouzou (Algeria) with several researches in ophthalmology, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics and general medicine. Wallet Aboubakrine is a member of Tin Hinan, an association working for the defence, promotion and development of indigenous peoples in Africa, in particular the Tuareg (Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Mauritania and Libya). She has been a very active member of the organization since she was young and has worked on many issues related to health such as nutrition, malaria prevention, and education on sexual and reproductive health among the Tuareg. Currently, Wallet Aboubakrine advocates the cause of indigenous Africa particularly in improving the living conditions of the Tuareg.

Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen is Assistant Professor of indigenous studies at the University of Helsinki. She has PhD in Latin American studies and her research interests include human-environment collectives, epistemological plurality, as well as decolonizing research methods. Recently, she has also addressed the questions of evidence in state politics. Since 2003, she has collaborated with indigenous groups in the Purus River region, Brazilian Amazonia. Virtanen has written about nonhuman agencies’ central role in the construction of heritage in Amazonian indigenous communities. Her publications include Creating Dialogues: Indigenous Perceptions and Forms of Leadership in Amazonia (Colorado University Press, 2017) and Indigenous Youth in Brazilian Amazonia (Palgrave MacMillan 2013), articles on mobility, shamanism, indigenous politics, and ethnohistory, as well as indigenous ontologies and epistemologies. In addition to her research interests, she has co-authored various indigenous school materials.

Joaquim Tashka Yawanawa is one of the Yawanawa chiefs in Brazilian Amazonia. Tashka and his wife Laura (Mixteca-Zapoteca) have created innovative business partnerships towards sustainability and creative reproduction of Yawanawa traditions. After oppressive relations with the rubber barons and resource extraction in the area, the Yawanawa people have established their own schooling, strengthened their medicinal plant knowledge, opened space both for male and female shamans, and the community elders have actively participated in the creation of cultural festivals, which now gather annually a large group indigenous and non-indigenous participants and foster diversity of material and immaterial traditions. 

Tiina Äikäs is archaeologist and research fellow at the University of Oulu. Her dissertation discusses Sámi sacrificial sites (sieidi), and currently her research focuses on the use of these sites in the past and the present. Her other research interests include archaeological research on religions and rituals and the meanings people give to cultural heritage today.