Report from Olusegun Olawale Olakunle, Master Programme in Indigenous Studies, University of Tromsø
Financial support for my fieldwork and Thesis
The Centre for Sami Studies made available some strategic funds for students that were engaged in carrying out fieldwork on certain areas of specialisation with regards to their fieldwork, I as a master’s student of the University also applied for this fund to cover my fieldwork and research for my Masters thesis.
The theme of my thesis is “The Sarahkka (An organization founded by the Sámi women), The Sami Nisson Forum (Forum for Sámi women). A comparative analysis of their historical background, its leaders and their perspectives on what these organizations consider to be the role of the Sámi Indigenous women in the Sámi movement for self-determination?”
My attending of the conference organized by the Forum for Development Cooperation with Indigenous peoples which took place from the 27.09.04-29.09.04 and had as its theme for the year 2004 as “Indigenous peoples rights and Gendered Representations” which was held at the University of Tromsø on the said date, contributed immensely to my decision to embark on this particular project which I consider to be laudable.
In the process of my fieldwork, I had interview sessions with past and prominent politically active Sámi women in Kautokeino and Karasjok; members of the Sarahkka and the Sámi Nisson respectively. I embarked on my fieldwork on the 5th of August 2005 to Finnmark, which is regarded to be the center for where these Sami women organizations thrive where I had interview sessions with prominent Sami women leaders that belonged to either of these two organizations under study. During the fieldwork, I was able to understand the various perspectives to which the issue of self-determination was interpreted by the Sami womenfolk, especially with regards to the politicization of the term who is to be considered as the “average Sami”
Consequently, the funding I received from the Center for Sami studies was geared towards this research and fieldwork and more importantly the inevitable processing of my thesis and the Masters Programme. At this juncture I would like to state that the funds provided by the center was very useful in terms of collection, processing and the eventual dissemination of the information that I gathered during my fieldwork. My gratitude goes to the Center for Sami studies.