A few weeks ago, the open access book Including the North: a comparative study of the policies on inclusion and equity in the Circumpolar North has been published. Pigga Keskitalo and Torjer Olsen have contributed to the book with the chapter “Historical and political perspectives on Sámi and inclusive school systems in Norway.”
The book is a publication by the thematic network on Teacher Education for Social Justice and Diversity of the University of the Arctic. This network was created in 2015 and consists nowadays of 22 organisations who have the common aim to promote social justice and diversity through teacher education, from early childhood education to higher- and adult education. The focus of the book is on inclusive education policies from different Arctic and Northern countries and perspectives.
The chapter written by Keskitalo and Olsen is based on their research on the Sámi school system in Norway and Sámi issues in the national Norwegian school system. The chapter aims to describe how the general perspective towards Sámi schools and Sámi issues in mainstream Norwegian schools has developed over time. This is accomplished by examining the approaches to Sámi language and culture in the curricula of both school systems.
Keskitalo and Olsen start the chapter with presenting how Sámi schools have changed from being important actors in the assimilation process in the past to become essential in the revitalisation of the Sámi language and culture today. Thereafter, there is given an overview of how the different ways of approaching Sámi issues in the national Norwegian curricula have changed. Starting from 1974 when Sámi issues became part of the core curriculum in Norway to the current development of the new curriculum for 2020. The second part of the chapter focusses on inclusiveness in Sámi schools.
To be a part of this book is positive on a number of levels. To write about Sámi issues in a book with an Arctic theme is important. Secondly, the article is an expression of the collaboration between UiT and Sámi university of applied sciences institutionally, and Pigga Keskitalo and me individually, says Torjer Olsen.