Seminar, 27 October 2016

Since the signing of the UNDRIP one decade ago, there has been considerable progress in the area of indigenous peoples’ rights and recognition.

There are mechanisms in place that – in principle – provide checks on land encroachment and the exploitation of resources. There is a renewed interest in language survival, cultural heritage, and indigenous knowledge. ‘So far so good!’ one might think.

But what is the situation on the ground? To what extent have the recent advances at the global level made an impact locally?  Are international efforts ongoing – or are indigenous peoples’ issues being met with an attitude of ’mission completed’? ”

This seminar  critically examined the extent of implementation of indigenous peoples’ rights,  and identified  opportunities and constraints. Issues were addressed on two levels: the working of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and case material illustrating contemporary local situations.
Keynote speakers were:

Thomas Widlok, Professor for African Studies, University of Cologne, speaking on an ongoing case in Etosha, Namibia: Who takes whom to court? Lawyers, anthropologists and indigenous people struggling  with land claims


Jens Dahl,  University of Copenhagen, co-founder and longtime director of IWGIA, Vice-chair of UNPFII, speaking on The UN: who are the friends and enemies of  indigenous peoples?

A panel included :  Associate professor Jennifer Hays (San, Namibia), Associate professor Jorun Bræck Ramstad  (Maori, Aotearoa NZ), Professor Else Grete Broderstad (Sami, Norway)

Convener: Professor emerita Sidsel Saugestad

Organised by the Research Group for Comparative Indigenous  Studies (KURF)  at the Department of Social Sciences (ISV), in collaboration with the Centre for Saami Studies

Feature Story

Feature story, Nordlys 9. April 2013: Reindrift på Kola i vestlige media by Elisabeth Scheller, Yulian Konstantinov and Vladislava Vladimirova

Guest lecturer Rane Willerslev

KURF Research Group on Comparative Indigeneity and Tromsø University Museum have invited Rane Willerslev, Prof. and Director of Oslo Museum of Cultural History, on a two-day guest visit at Tromsø. On 10.05 he will be holding a seminar at Tromsø Museum on the topic of the role of museums as expert institutions in society and on 11.05 he will be presenting at KURF’s Friday seminar on the topic of Yukaghir hunting adaptations to climate change.



Velina Ninkova – New PhD Student at the Department of Archaeology and Social Anthropology / KURF

Velina Ninkova has received the ‘Beyond Boundaries’ scholarship that was granted to promote research on comparative indigeneity, and has started  her work as a PhD student at the Department of Archaeology and Social Anthropology. Velina has a  Masters in Theoretical Linguistics at the University of Tromsø in 2006 and in  Indigenous Studies in 2009 with a thesis on  primary school achievement of Ju|’hoan children in Namibia.

Her PhD  project is entitled “Does education make a difference? Subsistence, employment and the role of education for the San in the Omaheke Region, Namibia and Ghanzi District, Botswana”. The main objective of her project is to make an assessment of the economic opportunities for the San communities in Omaheke and Ghanzi and see how school-gained knowledge or certificates translate in terms of employment attainment for the San. On a broader level, she will investigate how subsistence has changed in the last decades and will examine the viable subsistence opportunities for the San people today, both within and outside the cash economy. Fieldwork is planned to take place in 2013.

Her project is part of the Indigeneity in Sub-Saharan Africa KURF research group and her dissertation will be written under the supervision of Professor Sidsel Saugestad and Dr. Jennifer Hays.


International Seminar in collaboration with KURF invite you to: Education for All: any indigenous peoples in the global dream?

Time: 01.03.2012 / 20:00 – 22:00

Place: Lillesenen, Kulturhuset

Presenter Dr. Jennifer Hays   draws on her current research with the San people in Namibia and Botswana.

Commentator Dr. Marit Myrvoll draws on experiences with educational policies towards the Saami in Norway.


Prof. David Anderson wins ERC’s Advanced Grants for 2011

Prof. David Anderson has received ERC’s Advanced Grants for his project “Arctic Domestication: A Renewed Model of Human-Animal Relationships in the North”. The objective of the project is to develop a new model which investigates the relationship between people and animals in the Circumpolar North.

Congratulations, David!

More information here.