Keskitalo, Pigga; Olsen, Torjer Andreas. Historical and political perspectives on Sámi and inclusive school systems in Norway. In Beaton, Hirshberg, Maxwell & Spratt (Eds.): Including the North : a comparative study of the policies on inclusion and equity in the Circumpolar North. University of Lapland 2019. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-337-136-1

The aim of this chapter is to introduce Norway’s inclusive education policies for two separate school systems: the national Norwegian and the Sámi systems. This chapter is based on research done in Norway on its national and Sámi schools and their curricula. Norway is an interesting example when it comes to indigenous education and national schools, as state policies on diversity and minority and indigenous issues have been consciously implemented in both school systems. The evolution of these guidelines, as written in education curricula and as implemented in practice, is the core focus of this article. This chapter aims to describe and contemplate the overarching and general tendencies of Sámi schools and issues in Norway, which have received little scholarly attention. We build on and add to the existing research by combining issues related to the national, or mainstream, school systems with issues related to the Sámi school systems. We will present historical and political perspectives on these inclusive school systems. First, we will look at how Sámi subject matters have been introduced into curricula in national schools and kindergartens and what is practically meant by incorporating the Sámi contents. Second, the general educational inclusiveness and cultural inclusiveness practiced in Sámi schools will be examined.

Sollid, Hilde; Olsen Torjer A. “Indigenising Education: Scales, Interfaces and Acts of Citizenship in Sápmi”. Junctures: The Journal for Thematic Dialogue. 2019. https://junctures.org/index.php/junctures/article/view/365.


As Indigenous people reclaim their position after centuries of oppression, the tensions between Indigenous needs and national demands surface. This is also the case of the Indigenous Sámi in Norway. After a long period of colonisation, recognition of the indigenous Sámi people and their language and culture is replacing the politics of erasure. In this process, the educational system is the institution where this new direction can reach the farthest. Rather than seeing Indigenous education as static endpoint in opposition towards mainstream education, we theorise that indigenising education is better understood as a process and as a continuum where citizens with different subject positions engage and interact in a cultural interface. The theorising is based on a case study from Gáivuotna-Kåfjord-Kaivuono on the Norwegian side of Sápmi.


Andreassen, Bengt-Ove; Olsen, Torjer Andreas. ”Urfolk” og ”mangfold” i skolens læreplaner. FLEKS – Scandinavian Journal of Intercultural Theory and Practice, 2018 5(1). https://doi.org/10.7577/fleks.2248 

Since 1974, the curriculum for the Norwegian school has had a overarching part that puts the school and its content into a bigger social and political context. As such, this part of the curriculum is a highly political and ideological text that expresses the state’s purpose and interest related to the school. This article looks into how indigenous people, minorities and diversity is represented in the general part of the curriculum from 1974 to 2017. The changing curricula show changes in the official politics and views on diversity. Through an analysis of the curricula we explore which terms and concepts that are used in the description of people and groups in Norwegian society. We focus primarily on the representation of the Sami, who move from being people in “mixed language districts” with limited rights, via being an “ethnic minority”, to being an indigenous people with a set of rights. Further, we look into how the diverse society is represented, from the use of “alien workers”, via “immigrants”, to just “diversity”. We argue that the concepts or strategies of politics of recognition and politics of integration respectively can be used to describe the curricula. Norway’s educational policy towards minorities and indigenous people seems to exist between these two. In the end, this leave diversity competence as an important concept in the future Norwegian school.

Gjerpe, Kajsa. From indigenous education to indigenising mainstream education. FLEKS – Scandinavian Journal of Intercultural Theory and Practice, 2018 5(1). https://doi.org/10.7577/fleks.2190

The purpose with this article is to discuss the concept of “indigenous education” in Norway and Aotearoa New Zealand. The point of departure is that both states face a common challenge with regard to indigenous education: Valuable resources are used on indigenous schools, but the majority of indigenous students attend mainstream schools. The article claims that the emphasis on indigenous schools has been necessary and important as part of the indigenous political movement. Nevertheless, in order to achieve culturally appropriate education for all indigenous pupils, this article argues that there is a need to indigenise mainstream education.

Ninkova, Velina. Education for the Namibian Juǀ’hoansi—At What Cost? Neos: A Publication of the Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group, 2018 10(2). http://acyig.americananthro.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/NEOS-October-2018.pdf

During colonialism, boarding schools became the most successful tool for the assimilation of indigenous peoples and the extermination of their cultures and languages. Harrowing memories of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse permeate the accounts of boarding school survivors across the Americas, Scandinavia, and Australia (Carroll 2009; Dawson 2012; Lind Meløy 1980). The international recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights has helped expose the extent of the violence inflicted upon indigenous communities, and some governments and religious bodies have assumed responsibility for their wrongdoings. While the road ahead is long, the first steps towards reconciliation and decolonization have been taken. The boarding school systems are now thought of as a shameful chapter of the past. Across southern Africa, however, a similar story of marginalization and abuse is currently unfolding. This paper focuses on a group of San former hunter-gatherers—the Jul’hoansi of central eastern Namibia—and their experiences in boarding schools. It is based on data collected through long-term ethnographic work with communities and schools since 2008.

Olsen, Torjer Andreas. This Word is (Not?) Very Exciting: Considering Intersectionality in Indigenous Studies. NORA – Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, 2018 26(3), pp. 182-196. https://doi.org/10.1080/08038740.2018.1493534

Gender and intersectional approaches can provide important insights and reflections for indigenous studies. Issues related to indigenous people and communities are broad and complex. Doing research within indigenous studies has to consist of more than simply discussing indigenous identity. I argue that intersectional approaches of varying kinds provide an opportunity to understand several aspects of identity and a diverse set of issues relevant to indigenous communities. Using intersectional approaches enables one to maintain a critical focus on power. In this article, I describe indigenous studies and intersectionality separately, then move on to a discussion of how intersectionality and gender perspectives can be used within indigenous studies. The starting point for intersectional approaches as well as for indigenous studies is the margins rather than the centre. The focus of the article is on methodology, which is based on the reading of literature from indigenous methodologies, gender studies, and intersectionality. A key concept is the cultural interface, which points towards the existence of plural subject positions both for individuals and within a community.

Andreassen, Bengt-Ove; Olsen, Torjer Andreas. Samisk innhold i skolen – kunnskap, rettigheter og mangfoldskompetanse. In Å være lærer i en mangfoldig skole: Kulturelt og religiøst mangfold, profesjonsverdier og verdigrunnlag. Gyldendal Akademisk 2018 ISBN 9788205512252. pp. 130 – 146.


Andreassen, Bengt-Ove; Olsen, Torjer Andreas. Hva skal vi med samisk innhold i læreplanene for religionsfagene? In Undheim og von der Lippe (red.): Religion i skolen : didaktiske perspektiver på religions- og livssynsfaget. Universitetsforlaget 2017.

Alle læreplaner for skolefagene i den norske skolen skal inneholde kompetansemål som omhandler samisk språk og kultur. I denne artikkelen gjør vi en analyse av det samiske innholdet i læreplanen for Kristendom, religion, livssyn og etikk (KRLE) (fra 2015) i grunnskolen og Religion og etikk (fra 2006) i videregående opplæring. På bakgrunn av denne analysen drøfter vi avslutningsvis hvordan arbeid med det samiske innholdet både utfordrer og bidrar med perspektiver i religionsundervisningen. Vi argumenterer derfor for at det samiske innholdet i religionsfagene kan bidra med viktige perspektiver i religionsfaget som et kultur- og dannelsesfag i skolen.

Olsen, Torjer Andreas. Colonial conflicts: Absence, inclusion and indigenization in textbook presentations of indigenous peoples. In Lewis, Andreassen og Thobro (red.): Textbook violence. Equinox Publishing 2017

Indigenous peoples and historical events related to indigenous peoples always have a conflict dimension. Issues of colonization, exploitation, and culture crashes are all at hand in societies where indigenous peoples are a part. You do not need a very broad definition of violence or conflict to understand these as expressions of violence. It may be structural violence, pointing towards discrimination, and it may be indirect or direct violence, through cases of forced conversion, forced relocation, or even genocide. Textbook authors need to relate to these conflicts. The case used to discuss the more general topic in this article is the representation of conflicts related to the indigenous Sámis of Norway. Is this an issue of colonization?  When the Danish-Norwegian state wanted to secure the borders in the beginning of the 18th century, Christian missionaries sent to the Sámis were an important factor. This led to the Christianization of the Sámi. In the middle of the 19th century this had its backdrop through the rebellion in the Sámi village of Kautokeino where people were killed. In the article I do an analysis of the textbook presentations of these events as a starting point for a discussion of textbook presentations of colonization and conflicts related to states and indigenous peoples. The assumption made is that textbooks tend to downplay the conflict dimensions of the relationship between states and indigenous peoples. There are three main approaches to the representation of indigenous studies, absence, inclusion, and indigenization.

Olsen, Torjer Andreas. Privilege, Decentring, and the Challenge of Being (Non-)Indigenous in the Study of Indigenous Issues. In Australian Journal of Indigenous Education https://doi.org/10.1017/jie.2017.16  

There are acceptable ways of studying Indigenous issues as a non-Indigenous scholar. Still, the role and identity of the scholar is important and debated within the study of Indigenous issues. The purpose of this article is to accept, but explore the premise of a distinction between Indigenous and non-Indigenous. I claim the possibility of taking a decentred space within Indigenous studies and move towards a methodological and theoretical foundation that is informed by scholars with different stances and backgrounds. A key approach is the intersectional approach to privilege. Neither privilege/oppression, Indigenous/non-Indigenous, nor insider/outsider are binary relations. From Indigenous methodologies such as kaupapa Māori, I emphasise, in particular, the local starting point, arguing that this is the way to transfer relevant issues to a bigger context.

Olsen, Torjer Andreas; Andreassen, Bengt-Ove. Indigenous issues in Early Childhood Education Curricula in Norway and Aotearoa/New Zealand. New Zealand journal of educational studies 2017. doi: 10.1007/s40841-017-0085-0.

Early childhood education (ECE) has to an increasing extent become an integrated part of the education system in some countries, with national ECE curricula. Being states with indigenous people, Norway and Aotearoa/New Zealand have faced challenges and possibilities regarding how to deal with both past and present during the curricular processes. It is striking and telling that when Aotearoa/New Zealand had its first national curriculum for ECE 1996, it was based on Māori thinking and concepts. We explore how indigenous issues are dealt with in ECE curricula in the two countries, and argue that the respective curricula are expressions of two different kinds of indigenization. Still, the implementation challenge leaves the risk for the continuing silencing and Othering of the indigenous.

Olsen, Torjer Andreas; Sollid, Hilde; Johansen, Åse Mette. Kunnskap om samiske forhold som integrert del av lærerutdanningene. Acta Didactica Norge – tidsskrift for fagdidaktisk forsknings- og utviklingsarbeid i Norge 2017; Volum 11 (2). doi: 10.5617/adno.4353.

If you study to become a teacher in Norway, you are obliged to learn to maintain the rights of Sámi children and youth, as well as to provide education on Sámi issues for all pupils. This is expressed in the national regulations for the teacher education programs. What does this mean for teacher education programs? In this article, we explore this issue by examining the implications of the curriculum with regard to the role of Sámi and indigenous issues in the general educational system. We present the historical and legal basis for the integration of this topic in teacher education. However, a brief overview of the status of knowledge in this field shows that the political support of Sámi interests has been, and still is difficult to implement in education in general, and in teacher education in particular. Next, we summarize what the national curriculum for teacher education actually says about Sámi issues. We point to an explicit mainstreaming dimension where the curriculum goals are obligatory for all teacher students, not only for future teachers for Sámi students in Sámi schools. These guidelines are further connected to a reflexive practice around the place of Sámi and indigenous issues in education, and we argue that both the development of intercultural competence and citizenship education are relevant overarching goals in this context. Finally, we propose a national competence strategy on the road towards developing a Norwegian teacher education that takes Sámi issues and perspectives seriously.