Overall Goal

The goal of the thematic network is to support arctic indigenous traditional skills and education by organizing annual competitions in traditional livelihood skills. The network consists of  different educational institutes from all over the Arctic.  These institutions are providing education for the local indigenous traditions. There exist already the Arctic Skills and the Russian Arctic Skills. However these are not specifically focusing the indigenous peoples. The advanced goal of the Arctic Indigenous Skills thematic network is to establish “Arctic indigenous skills” - competition referring to the whole Arctic area and covering all of the Arctic states.

The network is benefitting the identity, self-respect and awareness of the Arctic indigenous communities by bringing together the youth, their teachers and other experts of education and livelihoods and enabling them to share their knowledge, experiences and best practices over a variety of themes in indigenous livelihoods, languages and education. The network will be a joint effort in building indigenous capacity in the north, especially focusing education.

The Arctic indigenous education and working life respectively takes place in cold Arctic climates and conditions requiring long distance and expensive travel under a sometimes a very little day light and otherwise demanding weather conditions with many times limited or no road connections. Some tailored vocational programs exist but are needed more to adopt to these demanding conditions. This includes adaptation to climate change in professional skills, which is an extremely challenging task to carry out. Perhaps it also requires challenging of the current work methods and ways of thinking and demands more accurate predictions on future changes in climate. The indigenous youth in the Arctic is facing also many other challenges including competing land use forms, pollution of the environment, situation of the many indigenous languages being at risk of disappearing, cultural assimilation, colonization etc.  For all these special needs, a specific indigenous Arctic skills will be a beneficial effort for the future of Arctic education and the Arctic indigenous youth.

Main Activities

The Arctic Indigenous Skills focuses on traditional economies in different areas of the Arctic.  The network members are supporting Indigenous livelihoods and traditions in their own areas.  The network members can collaborate and develop their communality and education by organizing meetings and workshops in the Arctic Indigenous Skills Competitions annually. Students from different areas are meeting each other, collaborating, creating networks and improving their professional skills and gaining international cultural experiences. This is extremely important for remote indigenous communities with little possibilities to international travel.

Current and Planned Activities

The network is organizing The Arctic Indigenous Skills competition every year from 2019 in different areas beginning with Taimyr area. Taimyr College is inviting educational institutes to Dudinka. In general, workshops and events will be organized in connection to Arctic skills competitions. The participants will be able not only to compete with each other, but to meet other indigenous youth as a cross-border activity, where they can share their unique experiences, learn from each other and strengthen their indigenous identity. The areas of the competition are reindeer herding, traditional handicraft, nursing, food and restaurant skills and languages in their use in practical daily situations.



Tiisu-Maria Näkkäläjärvi, Lead of the UArctic Thematic Network on Arctic Indigenous Skills