Category Archives: Activities

Umeå University visits UiT

Researchers from Umeå University visit UiT

Written by Sarah Musubika and Maeve Powell

Lis-Mari Hjortfors, Kajsa Kemi Gjerpe, Kristina Belancic, Isabelle Brännlund, Johan Runemark Brydsten, Anders Haglund, Hildegunn Bruland

Lis-Mari Hjortfors, Kajsa Kemi Gjerpe, Kristina Belancic, Isabelle Brännlund, Johan Runemark Brydsten, Anders Haglund, Hildegunn Bruland
Photo: Maeve Powell

As part of the Focal Point North project five researchers from Umeå University visited UiT The Arctic University of Norway to take part in events hosted by the Center for Sámi Studies between 13th and 15th  of October 2015.

Bjørg Evjen at the launch

Bjørg Evjen at the launch of Mapping Indigenous Presence: North Scandinavian and North American
Photo: Lis-Mari Hjortfors

These included a visit to Giellatekno, the Center for Sámi language technology at UiT and attending the book launch of Mapping Indigenous Presence: North Scandinavian and North American Perspectives edited by Kathryn W. Shanley from the University of Montana-Missoula and Bjorg Evjen from UiT. The visitors also had the opportunity to attend guest lectures, network with students from the Masters of Indigenous Studies and discuss research projects, methods, challenges and experiences in the field of Indigenous Studies. They also held a seminar where they presented their PhD projects and shared their research. During their time in Tromsø the guests also visited institutions including the Sámi Parliament, Gáisi the Sámi language center in Tromsø Municipality, and the Tromsø Museum.

meeting mis students and ?

PhD researchers from Umeå and Masters students attend attending guest lecture with artist Geir Tore Holm
Photo: Lis-Mari Hjortfors


Visiting Researchers

Isabelle Brannlund
Isabelle is a post-doctoral researcher whose main interest is in Sámi history and land use. She is interested in this area as it is key in understanding the dynamics of so many historical issues such as power relations, decision making, and identity which are pertinent to Sámi people. She plans to continue researching among Sámi peoples on issues of health and wellbeing.
She came to Tromsø with expectations of meeting new people, building new relationships and learning more about the Masters programme in Indigenous Studies at the Center of Sámi Studies. She is impressed with the way the programme is organized and its continent.  She is also grateful to Focal Point North for preparing and sponsoring student field trips and excursions and wishes for more collaborations with other universities for the benefit of the students.

Networking around the fire in Árdna

PhD students from Umeå and colleagues from Sesam enjoy a meal and discussion around the fire in Árdna
Photo: Bjørn Hatteng

Kristina Belancic
Kristina is a second year PhD student at Umeå Sweden, interested in languages, teaching, and learning in different contexts. She wishes to understand the situation of teaching and learning in Sámi schools using Sámi language. She became interested in this area during her Masters, where she wrote about the representation of Sámi women in literature and documentaries. She is impressed with the Masters programme in Indigenous Studies offered at University of Tromsø because it offers a deeper understanding of Indigenous Peoples to the students.
Her expectations of coming to Tromsø were meeting and networking with other researchers and learning more about the Center for Sámi Studies.

Johan Runemark Brydsten
Johan is pursuing a PhD in Religious studies focusing on Educational Science. His research topic relates to informal education and contextual Sámi Christianity. He is particularly interested in confirmation courses for Sámi members of the Swedish National Church. He is curious to discover the role that confirmation courses may play in processes of reconciliation. He was motivated to pursue his PhD by his background training as a religious studies teacher and courses in Sámi religion taken during his Master’s degree in Umeå.
Johan came to UiT to meet fellow scholars and foster cooperation, discuss ethics and methodology and be inspired. He is also interested in the role of UiT as an Arctic university and the exciting research taking place at Sesam.

Visiting researchers from Umeå

Kristina Belancic, Johan Runemark Brydsten, Isabelle Brännlund, Anders Haglund
Photo: Lis-Mari Hjortfors

Anders Haglund
Anders’ research interests are nationalism, the effects of colonization as a complex historical phenomena, and concepts of ingenuousness . His PhD topic examines indigenous health in Sweden, New Zealand, and Australia. He was motivated to pursue a PhD on Sámi issues due to his disappointment on finding that Sámi people were not included in the Swedish national narrative during his training as a secondary school teacher.
Anders came to Tromsø in the hopes of finding out about the research taking place here which had been discussed in his courses in Umeå. He has enjoyed the visibility of Sámi culture and perspectives at UiT and believes that here Sámi people are more accepted as part of historical discourses. In contrast, at Umeå University history department, he is the only person researching Sámi history and believes there is stigma directed toward Sámi Research in Sweden. During his stay in Tromsø he has enjoyed meeting new people and hearing new ideas while enjoying the nature and fjords surrounding the island.

Lis-Mari Hjortfors
Lis-Mari is researching Læstadianism in the Lule Sámi area of Norway and Sweden. She is interested in the effect of Læstadianism on Sámi culture and will interview communities and priests in the movement. She has been motivated to pursue this topic in part due to her family history as her grandmother’s father was a Læstadian priest. During her time working at Árran Museum in Tysfjord many people spoke highly of his religious work and his role in maintaining the Sámi language and identity.
She has enjoyed finding out about the work of Sesam, meeting new people and talking with fellow student about Sámi issues.

Barents Indigenous Peoples’ Congress and Conference

Barents Indigenous Peoples’ Congress and Conference 2015

During Sami week, UiT The Arctic University of Norway will be hosting the Barents Indigenous Peoples’ Congress and the conference Indigenous Barents 2050: Impacts of our footprints. The Congress is being organized in collaboration with the Working Group of Indigenous Peoples (WGIP), the Barents Indigenous Peoples’ Office (BIPO), the Norwegian Barents Secretariat and the Centre for Sami Studies at the University of Tromsø.

In addition to taking part during Sami week in Tromsø, which leads up to Sami National Day on February 6th, the Congress is celebrating 20 years of Indigenous cooperation in the Barents region. During the Congress, Indigenous representatives from the Nenets, Veps, and Sami peoples will present the latest developments and news from their homelands in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. They will also discuss the Action Plan for Indigenous Peoples in the Barents 2013-2016, and begin a dialogue on the upcoming 2017-2020 Action Plan. This will mark the third Congress on Indigenous Peoples in the Barents Region.

The Congress will be held on February 4th, 2015 and will be followed by a conference on Indigenous languages and extractive industries on February 5th. Continue reading

Murder at Dieckagåhpe

The Murder at Dieckagåhpe

By Wenche Spjelkavik

Dieckagåhpe                                                                                                           Photo: Cato Hultmann

In the southernmost outpost of the Sulitjelma mountains, high above Saltdal’s smallholdings and patches of farmland, there was a murder in 1829. The incident has not become part of local folklore, and the name of the place where the murder happened, Dieckagåhpe, has been forgotten. Even the grave of the woman who was killed is hidden in a forgotten cemetery at Saltnes in Saltdal.

Through reading Petrus Læstadius’ book Fortsättning af Journalen öfver missions-resor i Lappmarken innefattande åren 1828–1832 (“Continuation of the Journal of Missionary Journeys in Lappmark during the Years 1828–1832”), I became aware of the mention of a murder committed in Norway, where the murderer was arrested by the Norwegian authorities. Since the books are about the people who lived in Pite Lappmark, which also includes the Sulitjelma mountains, I found it interesting that the incident was unknown, both in the local historical literature and among the people who had had great knowledge of this area for generations. Two of the Sami that were mentioned by name in this case were known from the local history of Sulitjelma. One was “Smoleck”, who has a small river in Sulitjelma named after him. The other, Jon Andersson Ljung, is strongly associated with the prediction of Sulitjelma’s establishment – and its decline, should the church tower ever have a spire. Continue reading

legend of Sulitjelma

The Shaman Family and the Legend of Sulitjelma

By Wenche Spjelkavik

The church and copper smelting works at Sulitjelma.
Photo credit: Sulitjelma Historical Society’s photo collection.

The legend of a Sami shaman’s prophecy of the creation and ruin of Sulitjelma is familiar not only to those who grew up in the mining town, but also to many from far away. In particular, many remember the prediction that if a spire were to be erected on the church tower, then Sulitjelma would “go under”. A spire was never put on the church and the legend remained alive. The name of the shaman, however, has been forgotten.

In the local narrative tradition, the legend of the future of Sulitjelma has been linked to a person, most often described as “a Sami”. The name of this person has not been widely known. The legend has been told as an event that really happened, and not a fictional story. It is unknown whether there are other stories and legends that have survived in the folklore of this area.

Continue reading

Sara Jonas

Sara Jonas

By Wenche Spjelkavik

Sara Jonas
The Sara Jonas Cave                                          Photo: Wenche Spjelkavik

In modern times, certain historical landmarks in the Sulitjelma mountains have attracted visitors due to their cultural significance, or for the “feeling” of being there. The Sami people have left their mark on the mountains over the centuries, but because of a lack of records and documentation these cultural heritage sites have been erased from folklore. However, there is still one place, far off the beaten path, that is still famous today. That place is the Sara Jonas Cave, located in a secluded cliff to the west of Lake Balvatnet. The cave is idyllically situated by a small, unnamed lake, where the trout feed on quiet summer evenings.

The cave is named after Jonas Andersson Bessett (1858–1916), colloquially known as “Sara Jonas”. There are many myths about Sara Jonas, such as that he buried a copper kettle full of money in this mountain area.[1] Jonas’ father is also said to have lived in this cave, and he is supposed to have buried two herring barrels full of silver goblets and brooches. In folklore, these stories have combined to become a large silver treasure trove that people have searched for but have never found. Continue reading