In the blog section, members of the research team will report on their work as well as interesting findings. The team hopes to share stories and photographs that might be left out of the more structured academic research articles.

Our Research Council of Finland (a.k.a Academy of Finland) funded project “Traditional Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, Re-Indigenization and National Parks: Toward a New Framework for Sustainable Co-Governance (IndEcol)” officially began on September 1st. The first task was to hire a researcher to work on this exciting project, and Doctoral candidate Sonja Salminiitty was the first researcher to hired. She is working on her dissertation, “Indigenization and Californian Central Coast Museums” that is closely linked to the larger theoretical concepts of (re)indigenization. In addition, she will work on two actual cases in this project.  Our team will get a new member, University Researcher Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi (Sámi) in January 2024. He is living in Enontekiö, and will focus on Pallas-Yllästuntuntui national park and the Pöyrisjärvi wilderness area. Klemetti is the former chairperson of the Sámi Parliament and currently serves as the chairperson for the Sámi Climate Council. 

Our research started with a bang as we were able to interview both the park personnel of the Valles Caldera Nature Preserve and the Jemez Pueblo (link to video, that will be added to our website later). This conversation will be a part of our new MOOC (Open Online Lecture Course) that will be part of this project deliverable and available to indigenous communities, national parks services etc.  worldwide. 

Sonja has already attended a webinar on the creation of the new Chumash Heritage National Marine sanctuary (Proposed Designation of Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary | Office of National Marine Sanctuaries) and I have set up interviews with the NOAA personnel in Monterey CA, and several Chumash elders in Santa Barbara California, where I will be conducting the first leg of fieldwork in October and November 2023. More to come, stay tuned. 

Author: Rani-Henrik Andersson 

In October 2023 the PI had the opportunity to start a three-month long research period first in California and then in Hawai’i. Our journey in California started with an interesting invitation by Chumash elder Roberto Cordero. She took us out to Santa Ynez where Chumash culture days were ongoing. We spent a beautiful day out in the countryside, met a lot of people and were able to attend cultural events like dances and games. What a wonderful start to our fieldwork.

My purpose on this trip was to meet with people, network, do some grant writing and also to get familiar with the Chumash homelands. With the help of Roberta Cordero, I was able to connect with other Chumash environmental experts like Violet Sage Walker, who has been actively working to establish a new Chumash Heritage Marine Sanctuary. We had interesting discussions on how the collaboration with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency) has worked so far and discussed the many complicated issues involved in developing a completely new marine protected area. I was also lucky enough to be invited by the director Mike Murray and Laura Ingulsrud to visit the NOAA facilities in Santa Barbara. Mike and Laura have actively worked with the Chumash communities in the establishment of this new sanctuary that was actually approved by the Biden administration last year. Michael and Laura were wonderful hosts, and we had a two hours lively discussion on indigenous engagement in natural protection in general and how the US government could and should work together to achieve common goals.

We were also able to meet with our good friends Julia Cordero Lamb and Teresa Romero. Julia took us to the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens and showed us what it really means to know your surroundings. Julia is an ethnobotanist and she carries Chumash traditional knowledge on plants native to the Southern California area. This traditional ecological knowledge is vital for our battle against climate change, and I hope that my project can bring forth new ways of bringing indigenous knowledges and so-called western science together to tackle these universal issues.

While in California, I also attended meetings workshops in Los Angeles where was happy to meet my old friends Josh reid, sam Truett, and Boyd Cothran again. Our joint project on Indigenous Borderlands is in full swing and we are hoping to publish yet another book next year.

Spent overall about 3 weeks in in California met with so many interesting and cool people and I'm so grateful for my friends for always being willing to listen to me and working with me and I hope this project will serve the Chumash community as well.

On November 10 we started our second leg of this research trip flying from Los Angeles to Honolulu. We had a nice little place in the in Makaha valley on the leeward side of Oahu. The town of Waianae was surprisingly run down and it took us a while to get used to the area. Both Sara and I were visiting scholars at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and were extremely kindly welcomed by the faculty, especially Professor Elizabeth Colville. She organized a dinner in our honor and invited the faculty too. That way we got to know a lot of people, who turned out to be well networked with key folks working with the National Park Service and NOAA.

Based on these initial meetings we went to see Doctor Hans Van den Tillburg NOAA marine archaeologist. He was kind enough to invite us to NOAA our headquarters inside Pearl Harbor military area. It was extremely interesting to learn about how NOAA incorporates indigenous knowledge and practices whenever it's doing research in Pacific marine protected areas. We also got to visit the Pacific tsunami warning center which was a really cool place. I'm looking forward to collaboration with Hans and his team.

On December 12 our next leg of the fieldwork started by taking a flight to Hawai’i island also known as Big Island. Our first stop was at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and meeting with Halena Kapuni Reynolds, who works for the Smithsonian Institute at the Museum of the American Indian as well as is an expert on indigenous perspectives on Volcanoes National Park. At Volcanoes NP we also go to talk to archaeologists and anger Summer Roper, who works on indigenous knowledge in an effort to incorporate indigenous ways to the management of the park. The tour of the park was interesting as the area is the site of the world's largest volcano Mauna Loa and the Kilauea crater just erupted few weeks earlier, unfortunately did not do so while we were there, but fumes were visible in and around the crater. Volcanoes National Park also holds tremendous cultural of values to the indigenous Hawaiians as the site of Pele. The park also includes jungles, lava tubes and tremendous lava fields where you can actually get a better understanding of how the island actually grows through volcanic activity.

On our way across the island, we also visited Mauna Kea, which is a very different kind of volcano with a lot of cinder cones dotting its sides. At Mauna Kea they have also started to include indigenous perspectives and talk about Hawaiian star navigation systems. Mauna Kea is a site of controversy since several new telescopes have been planned on top of the mountain and that, of course, is not approved by most indigenous Hawaiians. As we moved toward to the Kona coast, we were lucky to visit Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historic site  where I got to talk with Park Ranger Keola Awong. While small, this place too holds tremendous cultural value to indigenous Hawaiians as a place of shelter where people during war could escape to without fearing any harm from the enemies. It is also the home of Hawaiian kings and chiefs, and a place where, for example, a person who had committed a crime could go to. He would not be harmed after entering this sacred area. The person would go through ceremonies and come out as cleansed of their crimes. This place is one of those special places in the world, where you can immediately get a sense of a certain presence - in Hawaiian Mana.

In addition to these major site sites, I was able to visit other environmentally important places such as Ka’ena Point nature sanctuary and Kahana river area. Overall, these research periods in California and Hawai’i gave me a lot of new insights and thoughts about not only national parks but also marine sanctuaries as highly significant sites for environmental protection. Furthermore, they are also places where indigenous presence should be emphasized and be brought to the management of the area in an effort to create abundance through indigenous stewardship practices. 

 Author: Rani-Henrik Andersson 

January-February Blogpost

Prior to January, several workshops and conferences were attended as part of responsible research commitment principles and maintain our research relevance within various disciplinary fields. In September 2023, the SIEF task force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in European Ethnology and Folklore Studies (DEI) organized a workshop "The ‘Dark Histories’ of European Ethnologies and Folklore Studies". Engaging presentations included Thomas DuBois (University of Wisconsin) Taking Native Sovereignty Seriously: Notes toward an Ethics of Practice and Coppelie Cocq (Umeå University) From Lappology to Sámi Studies. Shifts in positionality, responsibility and ownership in Indigenous research. In October 2023, I attended both the 9th Annual Repatriation Conference and their Pre-Webinar: Starting at Home: How Universities Can Use the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act to Rebuild Relationships Inside and Out. In that same month I also attended the International Conference on the Inclusive Museum. These conferences helped me keep up with the latest in research developments and both conferences had a heavy emphasis on environmental concerns and conservation programs that were being led by Indigenous groups around the world. In November, I joined "The Apophasis Initiative" Research Seminar which is a reformed Cultural Studies Seminar but with an emphasis of digital humanities and AI research technologies, and learned more about the impact such developments will have on our future research. In December, I attended the Decoloniality in teaching, hosted by African Research Forum for Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Helsinki. The forum offered multiple presentations on the theme of decoloniality in teaching. This was useful for our responsible research requirement.

In January 2024, the INECOL project officially welcomed another university researcher, Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi (Saami). His research has primarily focused on Saami culture and reindeer herding as well as biodiversity, adaptations to climate change, climate justice, indigenous youth's perceptions of climate change, and indigenous peoples' co-production of knowledge. Näkkäläjärvi has also served as the chairman of the Saami Parliament of Finland in 2008-2015. Currently, he also chairs the Saami Climate Council during the term 2023–2027. We are very excited to have him on the project team!

On February 6th, the university celebrated Sámi National Day (the ethnic national day for the Saami people). It is celebrated on this date because the first Sámi congress was organized on February 6th, 1917 in Trondheim, Norway. The university sponsor of this event was HELSUS. The event was first marked by the ‘Sámi leavgga stággui geassin, Sámi soga lávlla ja friija sáhkavuorut’ or Sámi flag rising, Sámi national anthem and free word speeches, outside the Porthania building. Speeches were given by Professor of Indigenous Studies Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen, Sámi University Teacher Ilona Kivinen, Sámi games researcher Outi Laiti, and Sámi elders from CitySamit Ry (based in Helsinki). 

These events were followed by coffee and talking-and-sharing-circles inside the Porthania building. Afterwards, there was a ‘juoigan Tuuni Partti’ session, or music session where Tuuni Partti, a Sámi musician, gave a yoik music performance. Additionally, Partti played ‘goavddis’ or a drum where particpants and Sámi university students could sing along. As the final portion of the program, we were able to watch a screening of the Ruoktojohka (2023), a film about North Sámi fishing rights in Finland and three Sámi women’s efforts to overturn the new Fishing Act. The film was directed by Kati Eriksen and Scott Thornton. The language of the film is North Sámi, and subtitles in English.

Photographs from Left to Right: Elders sharing recent experiences at an Indigenous People’s Conference in Mexico during the sharing-and-talking-circles. Tuuni Partti teaching the chorus a Sámi song to participants. Photographs are authors own. 

During the discussions, event organizers highlighted the importance to the university community to be multilingual, and not only in English. As part of our commitment to responsible research, I took beginner’s Northern Saami language courses from the September to November period of 2023 in order to gain some understanding of the language. In February, we also had our researcher profiles available in three languages: English, Finnish, and Northern Saami.

Author: Sonja Salminiitty


In March, Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi was interviewed by Erika Benke for the BBC about how climate change is impacting the Northern Sami language. 

More to come!

This blog post is available in three languages; English, Saami (Northern), and Finnish. 

Akwé: Kon–guidelines and their significance for the Saami in Finland


How to improve participatory rights of indigenous peoples in matters that concern them is the thousand-dollar question that has been considered globally, nationally and regionally. Different models have also been developed locally and some have worked better than others. In the IndEcol project, we also consider these questions and seek local solutions to global challenges. 


The Nordic countries has been considered a very progressive region, both in terms of environmental protection and in promoting the rights of indigenous peoples. However, recent developments suggest that this reputation is not justified. Wind power and mining projects in Norway and Sweden have highlighted the downside of the green transition, which will be paid for by the Saami and their living environment. Natural use – be it the planning of the use of protected areas or forestry areas, brings together different economic, environmental, functional, livelihood, social and cultural interests. In areas inhabited by the Saami, the indigenous rights of the Saami must also be taken into account. Resources for nature conservation have diminished and, at the same time, visitor pressure in protected areas remains steadily high.


In Finland, Metsähallitus manages 92 per cent of the waters and land in the Saami homeland. Less than 80 per cent of the Sámi homeland is protected in various ways. Metsähallitus' management, land use plans and natural resources plan have a major impact on the possibilities of Saami people to maintain their own culture.


The Convention on Biological Diversity is the most significant international agreement guiding the protection of biodiversity, and it was the first to take into account the traditional knowledge of indigenous people on biodiversity. The Conferences of the Parties issue voluntary decisions and guidelines to implement the Convention. In Finland, the first and so far only implemented guideline is  the Akwé: Kon guidelines, which are applied in Metsähallitus' operations in the Saami homeland. The implementation of the guidelines began in Finland with a pilot project for the management plan for the Hammastunturi wilderness area, which was completed in 2011. Subsequently, a permanent model for the application of the guidelines was created. The model for applying the guidelines is agreed upon in collaboration with the Saami Parliament and the Skolt Saami Village Assembly, and the model will be updated as necessary. The purpose of the guidelines is to increase the participation of indigenous peoples in measures related to biodiversity and to take into account the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples in impact assessments.


In simple terms, the practical application of the guidelines in Finland means that the Saami Parliament appoints an Akwé: Kon -working group, consisting of holders of traditional Sami knowledge, to prepare a management plan or natural resource plan for a protected area from the perspective of Saami culture. If the area is located in the Skolt region, the Skolt Saami Village Assembly appoints some of the representatives. The management plans and natural resource plan guide the use of the area and Metsähallitus' management and use measures. A rapporteur independent of Metsähallitus will be appointed for the working group. Metsähallitus is responsible for the resourcing of the working group. The working group works independently and makes proposals on the content of the plan and prepares an impact assessment of the plan with regard to Saami culture. Metsähallitus must justify if it does not take the working group's proposals into account. 


The guidelines were applied for the first time in the whole world in Finland. The guidelines have not been applied at all in the other Nordic countries or elsewhere in the world, with a few exceptions. The interesting question is why the guidelines adopted by the international community have not been implemented widely.


The guidelines have now been implemented for more than ten years, and it is good time to assess what has changed since the introduction of the guidelines and whether the Akwé: Kon -guidelines and management and use planning are the right tools to solve the  biodiversity loss, climate change adaptation and mitigation, cross-pressures between different land use forms, and the participation rights of the Saami people. The IndEcol work package explores these questions. The target area is East-Enontekiö and the case study is the implementation of  Akwé: Kon -guidelines in the management plans for the Pöyrisjärvi wilderness area and Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, which are currently being prepared.  The project also discusses the reasons why the implementation of the guidelines has remained so modest on a global level and how to proceed from here.


University researcher Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi

Akwé: Kon–rávvagat ja daid mearkkašupmi Suoma sápmelaččaide


Mot eamiálbmogiid oassálastinriekti áššiide, mat gusket sin, sáhttá ovdánahttojuvvot, lea earenoamáš buorre gažaldat. Dát ášši lea suokkardallojuvvon globála dásis, álbmotlaččat go guvllolaččatge. Sierralágán mállet lea ráhkaduvvon báikkálaš dásisnai ja oassi dain leat doaibman buorebut go earát. IndEcol-dutkanprošeavttas guorahallat maid iežamet beales dáid gažaldagaid ja viggat gávdnat báikkálaš čovdosiid máilmmiviidosaš hástalusaide.


Davviriikkat leat adnojuvvon earenoamáš čuvgehuslaš guovlun birassuodjaleami dáfus go eamiálbmogiid rivttiid ovddideaddjinge. Maŋemus áiggiid gárggiideapmi addá goitge čujuhusaid das, ahte buorre beaggin ii leat ákkastallamis. Bieggafápmo- ja ruvkefidnut Norggas ja Ruoŧas leat buktán ovdan ruoná sirdáseami suoivvabeali, man máksin leat šaddame sápmelaččat eallinbirrasiiddisguin. Luonddugeavahusas – lei dat dal suodjalanguovlluid dehe vuovdedoalloguovlluid geavahusa plánen, deaivvadit sierralágán ekonomalaš, biraslaš, doibmii gullevaš, ealáhuslaš, sosiálalaš ja kultuvrralaš beroštumit. Sápmelaččaid orrunguovlluin galget dasa lassin sápmelaččaid eamiálbmotrievttit vuhtii váldojuvvot. Luonddusuodjaleami resurssat leat unnon ja oktanaga suodjalanguovlluid galledeaddjideaddu bissu dássedis alladin. 


Suomas meahciráđđehus hálddaša 92 proseantta sápmelaččaid ruovttuguovllu čáziin ja eatnamiin. Sápmelaččaid ruovttuguovllus sierra vugiid mielde leat suodjaluvvon vádjit 80 proseantta. Meahciráđđehusa dikšun- ja geavahanplánain lea stuora váikkuhus sápmelaččaid vejolašvuođaide bajásdoallat iežaset kultuvrra.


Biodiversiteahttasoahpamuš lea mearkkašahttimus riikkaidgaskasaš soahpamuš, mii stivre luonddu máŋggahápmásašvuođa suodjaleami, ja mii vuosttažin válddii vuhtii eamiálbmogiid luonddu máŋggahápmásašvuhtii gullevaš árbevirolaš dieđu. Dan ollahuhttima várás oassebeallečoakkámat addet mearrádusaid ja rávvagiid, maid ollahuhttin vuođđuduvvá eaktodáhtolašvuhtii. Suomas vuosttaš ja doaisttážii áidna ollahuhtton ávžžuhus lea Akwé: Kon-rávvagat, mii heivehuvvo Meahciráđđehusa doaimmas sápmelaččaid ruovttuguovllus. Rávvagiid ollahuhttin álggahuvvui Suomas Bátneduoddara meahcceguovllu dikšun- ja geavahanplána pilohttaprošeavttain, mii válmmastuvai jagi 2011. Dán maŋŋel duddjojuvvui bissovaš málle rávvagiid heiveheami várás. Málle rávvagiid heiveheapmái sohppojuvvo ovttasráđiid Sámedikki ja Nuortalaččaid siidačoakkámiin ja málle beaiváduvvo dárbbu mielde. Rávvagiid ulbmil lea lasihit eamiálbmogiid searvevuođa luonddu máŋggahápmásašvuođa doaibmabijuin sihke doahttalit ja fuopmášit váikkuhusaid árvvoštallamis eamiálbmogiid árbevirolaš diehtu. 


Ovttageardánahtedettiin rávvagiid heiveheapmi dárkkuha geavadis Suomas dan, ahte Sámediggi nammada sápmelaš árbevirolaš dieđu eaiggádiid joavkkus Akwé: Kon-bargojoavkku válmmastallat suodjalanguovllu dikšun- ja geavahanplána dehe luondduriggodatplána sámi kultuvrra dáfus. Juos guovlu lea nuortalašguovllus, nuortalaččaid siidačoakkán nammada oasi ovddasteddjiin. Dikšun- ja geavahanplánat ja luondduriggodatplána stivrejit guovllu geavahusa ja Meahciráđđehusa dikšuma ja geavahusa doaibmabijuid. Bargojovkui nammaduvvo Meahciráđđehusas sorjjasmeahttun áššemeannudeaddji. Meahciráđđehusas lea ovddasvástádus bargojoavkku resurseremis. Bargojoavku bargá iehčanasat, ja dahká árvalusaid plána sisdollui ja ráhkada plána váikkuhusaid árvvoštallama sámi kultuvrra oasil. Meahciráđđehus galgá ákkastallat, juos dat ii váldde vuhtii bargojoavkku árvalusaid.   


Heivehettiin rávvagiid lea ulbmil buoridit plánaid diehtovuođu, ovdánahttit Meahciráđđehusa ja sámi servoša gaskavuođa vuorrováikkuhusa ja dorvvastit sápmelaččaid oassálastinrivttiid. Eará eanangeavaheami plánemis, dego lávvemis rávvagat eai leat guoskaduvvon. Akwé: Kon -rávvagiid ollahuhttin lea ožžon riikkaidgaskasaš fuomášumi ja lea lasihan sierra čanusjoavkkuid vuorrováikkuhusa. Rávvagiid ollahuhttin leat goitge bohciidahttán maid kritihka sierra čanusjoavkkuid ja priváhta olbmuid beales. Guovddáš argumeanta lea, ahte bargojoavkobargan addá sápmelaččaide liiggás olu válddi eará geavaheaddjijoavkkuid jelgii. Ságastallamii laktásit dávjá maid sápmelačča meroštallan sihke sápmelaččaid rievttit. 


Rávvagat heivehuvvoje vuosttaš háve oba máilmmis Suomas. Rávvagat eai leat heivehuvvon eará Davviriikkain obanassiige eaige eará sajis máilmmis earret muhtin spiehkastagaid. Miellagiddevaš gažaldat leanai, ahte manin riikkaidgaskasaš servoša dohkkehan rávvagat leat báhcán ná viidát ollahuvakeahttá. 


Rávvagat leat dál ollahuhtton badjel logi jagi áigge ja lea buorre bisánit árvvoštallat, mii lea rávvagiid atnuiváldima mielde earáhuvvan. Leatgo Akwé: Kon-rávvagat ja dikšuma ja geavahusa plánen rivttes reaidu, mainna sáhttá čovdojuvvot luonddu máŋggahápmásašvuođa geafuma njoahcun, dálkkádatrievdamii vuogáiduvvan ja dan goahcan, sierra eanageavahanhámiid ruossalas dahkkiid mielddisbuktin vuoiŋŋalaš deaddu ja sápmelaččaid oassálastinrievttit. IndEcol-dutkanprošeavtta bargobáhkas dutkojuvvojit dát gažaldagat. Čuozáhatguovlun lea Nuorta-Eanodat ja dáhpáhusdutkamuššan Akwé: Kon-rávvagiid ollahuhttin Bievrrašjávrre meahcceguovllu ja Bállás-Ylläsduoddara álbmotmeahci dikšun- ja geavahanplánain, mat leat bárrahiin válmmastallojuvvome. Dutkanprošeavttas guorahallojuvvojit maid ákkat dasa, main rávvagiid ollahuhttin lea báhcán globála dásis nu vuollegažžan ja mot dás ovddos galggalii ovdánit. 


Universiteahttadutki Juvvá Lemet




Akwé: Kon–ohjeet ja niiden merkitys Suomen saamelaisille


Miten alkuperäiskansojen osallistumisoikeutta heitä koskeviin asioihin voidaan kehittää, on tuhannen taalan kysymys, jota on pohdittu niin globaalisti, kansallisesti kuin alueellisestikin. Erilaisia malleja on kehitetty paikallisestikin ja osa on toiminut paremmin kuin toiset. IndEcol-hankkeessa pohdimme myös osaltamme näitä kysymyksiä ja pyrimme löytämään paikallisia ratkaisuja globaaleihin haasteisiin.  


Pohjoismaita on pidetty hyvin edistyksellisenä alueena niin ympäristönsuojelullisestikin kuin alkuperäiskansojen oikeuksien edistäjinä. Viimeaikainen kehitys antaa kuitenkin viitteitä siitä, että tämä maine ei ole perusteltu. Tuulivoima- ja kaivoshankkeet Norjassa ja Ruotsissa ovat tuoneet esille vihreän siirtymän varjopuolen, jonka maksajiksi on tulossa saamelaiset ja heidän elinympäristönsä. Luonnonkäytössä – olipa se suojelualueiden tai metsätalousalueiden käytön suunnittelua, kohtaavat erilaiset taloudelliset, ympäristölliset, toiminnalliset, elinkeinolliset, sosiaaliset ja kulttuuriset intressit. Saamelaisten asuttamilla alueilla tulee lisäksi saamelaisten alkuperäiskansaoikeudet huomioon otettavaksi. Luonnonsuojelun resurssit ovat pienentyneet ja samanaikaisesti suojelualueiden kävijäpaine pysyy tasaisen korkeana. 


Suomessa Metsähallitus hallinnoi 92 prosenttia saamelaisten kotiseutualueen vesistä ja maista. Saamelaisten kotiseutualueesta eri tavoin suojeltuja alueita on vajaa 80 prosenttia. Metsähallituksen hoito- ja käytössuunnitelmilla ja luonnonvarassuunnitelmalla on suuri vaikutus saamelaisten mahdollisuuksiin ylläpitää omaa kulttuuriaan. 


Biodiversiteettisopimus on merkittävin luonnon monimuotoisuuden suojelua ohjaava kansainvälinen sopimus, joka ensimmäisenä otti huomioon alkuperäiskansojen luonnon monimuotoisuuteen liittyvän perinteisen tiedon. Sen toimeenpanemiseksi osapuolikokoukset antavat päätöksiä ja ohjeita, joiden toimeenpano perustuu vapaaehtoisuuteen. Suomessa ensimmäinen ja toistaiseksi ainoa toimeenpantu ohje on Akwé: Kon-ohjeet, joita sovelletaan Metsähallituksen toiminnassa saamelaisten kotiseutualueella. Ohjeiden toimeenpano aloitettiin Suomessa Hammastunturin erämaa-alueen hoito- ja käyttösuunnitelman pilottihankkeella, joka valmistui vuonna 2011. Tämä jälkeen luotiin pysyvä malli ohjeiden soveltamiseksi. Malli ohjeiden soveltamiseen sovitaan yhteistyössä Saamelaiskäräjien ja kolttien kyläkokouksen kanssa ja mallia päivitetään tarpeen mukaan. Ohjeiden tarkoitus on lisätä alkuperäiskansojen osallisuutta luonnon monimuotoisuuteen liittyvissä toimenpiteissä sekä huomioida vaikutustenarvioinnissa alkuperäiskansojen perinteinen tieto.


Yksinkertaistetusti ohjeiden soveltaminen käytännössä tarkoittaa Suomessa sitä, että Saamelaiskäräjät nimeää saamelaisen perinteisen tiedon haltijoista koostuvan Akwé: Kon-työryhmän valmistelemaan suojelualueen hoito- ja käyttösuunnitelmaa tai luonnonvarasuunnitelmaa saamelaiskulttuurin kannalta. Mikäli alue sijoittuu koltta-alueelle, kolttien kyläkokous nimeää osan edustajista. Hoito- ja käyttösuunnitelmat ja luonnonvarasuunnitelma ohjaavat alueen käyttöä ja Metsähallituksen hoidon ja käytön toimenpiteitä. Työryhmälle nimetään Metsähallituksesta riippumaton esittelijä. Metsähallitus vastaa työryhmän resursoinnista. Työryhmä toimii itsenäisesti, ja tekee esityksiä suunnitelman sisältöön ja laatii suunnitelman vaikutustenarvioinnin saamelaiskulttuurin osalta. Metsähallituksen on perusteltava, mikäli se ei ota työryhmän esityksiä huomioon. 


Ohjeita soveltamalla on tarkoitus parantaa suunnitelmien tietopohjaa, kehittää Metsähallituksen ja saamelaisyhteisön välistä vuorovaikutusta ja turvata saamelaisten osallistumisoikeudet. Muussa maankäytön suunnittelussa, kuten kaavoituksessa ohjeita ei ole sovellettu. Akwé: Kon -ohjeiden toimeenpano on saanut kansainvälistä huomiota ja lisännyt eri sidosryhmien välistä vuorovaikutusta. Ohjeiden toimeenpano on kuitenkin herättänyt myös kritiikkiä eri sidosryhmiltä ja yksityisiltä henkilöiltä. Keskeinen argumentti on, että työryhmätyöskentely antaa saamelaisille liikaa valtaa muihin käyttäjäryhmiin nähden. Keskusteluun liittyy usein myös saamelaisen määritelmä sekä saamelaisten oikeudet. 


Ohjeita sovellettiin ensimmäisen kerran koko maailmassa Suomessa. Ohjeita ei ole sovellettu muissa Pohjoismaissa lainkaan eikä muualla maailmalla muutamia poikkeuksia lukuun ottamatta. Mielenkiintoinen kysymys onkin, että miksi kansainvälisen yhteisön hyväksymät ohjeet ovat jääneet näin laajasti toimeenpanematta. 


Ohjeita on toimeenpantu nyt yli kymmenen vuoden ajan ja on hyvä arvioida, mikä on ohjeiden käyttöönoton myötä muuttunut ja onko Akwé: Kon-ohjeet ja hoidon ja käytön suunnittelu oikeat työkalut, joiden avulla voidaan ratkaista luonnon monimuotoisuuden köyhtymisen hidastuminen, ilmastonmuutokseen sopeutuminen ja sen hillintä, eri maankäyttömuotojen ristipaineet, sekä saamelaisten osallistumisoikeudet. IndEcol-hankkeen työpaketissa tutkitaan näitä kysymyksiä. Kohdealueena on Itä-Enontekiö ja tapaustutkimuksena Akwé: Kon-ohjeiden toimeenpano parhaillaan valmisteilla olevissa Pöyrisjärven erämaa-alueen ja Pallas-Yllästunturin kansallispuiston hoito- ja käyttösuunnitelmissa.  Hankkeessa pohditaan myös syitä sille, miksi ohjeiden toimeenpano on jäänyt globaalilla tasolla niin vaatimattomaksi, ja miten tästä eteenpäin tulisi edetä. 


Yliopistotutkija Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi