The goal of the IPED project’s workshops is to open and talk about various perspectives of Saami education. The theme of the second workshop focused on theoretical and the practical questions of Saami education. More specifically, current practices of teacher education in Saami and mainstream education contexts were highlighted.

Workshop day 1

The first day started with welcome words by the rector of the University of Lapland Antti Syväjärvi highlighting the importance of Indigenous Pedagogies being academic responsibility and a practice looking into the sustainable future. The first keynote speaker Associate Professor Rauna Rahko-Ravantti from the Sámi allaskuvla, Norway, gave a talk with the title ”The Sacred Circle of the Saami Education”, describing the sacred circle or medicine wheel widely used in Indigenous research, by introducing experiences of Saami teachers in history, present and future contexts.

The second key note was given by researcher Hanna Helander from the University of Lapland and Utsjoki municipality on title ”Advancing and Fostering Children’s Inclusion and Agency through Socially Innovative Interventions”. Helander presented her current projects she is involved: first, at the pilot project on distance education in Sámi languages, administrated by the municipality of Utsjoki and secondly ADVOST, a research project of University of Lapland, enhancing young children’s voice in specific contexts. Both of them have resulted in many bright aspects supporting to Saami education.

After the first break there were five presentations about ”Practical questions of current Saami education” to pave the way to the roundtable discussions. Professor Annika Pasanen from the Sámi allaskuvla started with the topic ”Inari Saami language education context”, describing in her talk Inari Saami language learning for all generations through four different models for different target and age groups. In the next talk, Associate Professor Rauni Äärelä-Vihriälä from the Sámi allaskuvla clarified the topic ”Sámi teacher education at Sámi allaskuvla”, highlighting traditional and Indigenous perspectives together with nature and wellbeing. Äärelä-Vihriälä concluded that Saami languages, meaningful methods and materials are cornerstones of her institution’s practices.

Followed by, Senior University lecturer Marja-Liisa Olthuis from the Giellagas-Institute, University of Oulu, gave an insightful presentation on ”Ketterä teacher education”, that is a fresh project funded by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. With the partner Saami Education Center, Inari, as a local co-partner, the project aims to educate qualified Saami-speaking teachers, to accommodate the current needs on the field. Next, the presentation ”Lule and South Sámi Teacher Education - Status and Challenges” was given by Associate Professor Asbjörn Kolberg from the Nord University, Norway, emphasizing that teacher education is the main factor in revitalization of threatened languages, an on the other hand how challenging it is to find qualified staff and recruit full-time teachers with Saami language ability. University lecturer Erika Sarivaara from the University of Lapland pointed out in her ”Indigenizing the teacher education - the case of the University of Lapland” presentation, there being 2 important factors to pay attention: on one hand, educating more Saami speaking teachers and on the other hand, educating everyone about Saami issues.

The presentations followed by an insightful round table discussion led by Erika Sarivaara. After the lunch break, the group was divided into break-out-rooms, in which the participants began fascinating discussions aiming to identify the present research needs of Sámi education. Finally, Pigga Keskitalo wrapped-up the first day of the inspiring workshop.

Workshop day 2

The second workshop day started with a keynote ”Sámi archives as an infrastructure and partner in educational research” given by Senior Research Officer Inker-Anni Linkola-Aikio from Sámi Archives, Inari, expanding the purpose of Archive as it serves in being part of the collective memory of Sámi people.

The last workshop keynote was given by Professor Huia Jahnke from the Massey University, New Zealand with a title ”Indigeneity and Higher Education: A Maori perspective and experiences developing kaupapa Maori education initiatives within the Academy” by introducing a brief history of Maori education, and Indigenous Teacher Education model called “Maori medium”. The deep exploration delivered meaningful questions that professor Jahnke answered comprehensively regarding sustainable development and practices of Saami education.

The second day open discussion was facilitated by Research Professor Rauna Kuokkanen from the University of Lapland. The discussion aimed to identify the present research needs and the ideas raised vivid discussion and gave bright and in-depth expert views. The representants of the groups from first day’s open discussion summarized the key aspects of their discussions, which raised fruitful discussions about the research and development needs of Saami education. Finally, Kuokkanen concluded the discussion by summarizing the research needs and their respected methodologies to the audience.

The second day ended with the final wrap-up conducted by Rauna Rahko-Ravantti, in which she highlighted the similarities rather than differences borrowing Professor Jahnkes words ”How to become accomplished in two worlds?” meaning that identifying the structures is a key factor when working with Indigenous education.

The workshop was highly successful, not least because there were 133 registered participants, but cooperation and lively discussion emerged and participants got to know instructional details in Pan-Saami perspective where education and teacher training is conducted.

First workshop hosted by the UiT the Arctic University of Norway focused on historical perspective of Saami education. The third and last online workshop will be hosted by the Umeå University with the title "Developmental questions, wishes and dreams of Sámi education" will be held on 16-17 August 2021. There, the goal is to jointly create future aspects and to discuss how traditional knowledge holders and participants from academia are combined.

Written by: Titta Myllyniemi, Pigga Keskitalo and Janette Peltokorpi

Presentation slides and more information about the IPED project can be found on the Teacher Education website.

The IPED project is part of the activities of the UArctic Thematic Network on Teacher Education.