Climate Emergency and Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic

March 12, 2020.
At 13 – 15, Think Corner (Yliopistonkatu 4).

Climate emergency is accelerating in the Arctic region at an alarming rate. It is impacting the fragile ecosystems and diverse linguistic and cultural communities. Rampant extractivism and its consequent ecological destruction are eroding nature as well as the cultural fabric of local Indigenous communities. Intensive extraction of natural resources is fueling the scramble for the Arctic and tying the area tightly to the capitalist world-system.

This panel discussion will tackle the situations of Indigenous peoples in the changing Arctic, how livelihoods have started to alter and what roles does extractivism play with its myriad of direct and indirect consequences for the well-being of the Arctic. The panel offers a forum for Indigenous representatives and researchers to offer insights on the complex entanglement of climate emergency, Indigenous peoples’ sovereignty and Arctic extractivism. It also addresses the questions of future generations and the Anthropocene from the perspective of Arctic Indigenous peoples.

In the context of changing ecosystems and neocolonial practices taking place in the North, there is an urgent need for radical new governance models for the whole of Arctic. As Indigenous peoples hold environmental knowledge crucial for producing sustainable practices in the region, their knowledge is vital in creating new governance models and offering already existing examples of sustainable resource management in the Arctic.


Leo Aikio - Elected Vice-president of the Finnish Sámi Parliament (saamelaiskäräjät) and a reindeer-herder from Inari, Lapland

Hanna Guttorm - Postdoctoral researcher of Indigenous Studies at the University of Helsinki, member of INEQ and HELSUS

Atte Korhola - Professor of Environmental Change at the University of Helsinki

Dmitry Arzyutov - Researcher at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm


Moderation: Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen - Indigenous Studies, University of Helsinki


The event is co-organized by The Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative (EXALT), the UH Indigenous Studies programme and All-Youth research project funded by the Strategic Research Council (SRC).