The session aims to counter the already dire effects of climate change in the Arctic, and help move humanity back from some of the planetary tipping points. The approach of the session, perpetuated historical colonial patterns and neglect's the perspectives of those, whose interests are most affected: the local and indigenous populations, particularly young people.

Uula Jouste was one of the speakers of the session. Uula Jouste is Northern Sápmi from the Finnish side. He currently, lives in Helsinki and works at the Operaatio Arktis Operation Arctic (  Jouste is studying Food Sciences at University of Helsinki.

The interview consists of ethical research and the gaps between collaboration with indigenous knowledge holders and science in research. Jouste shares his own opinion and point of view in the following interview:

What is the gap between different knowledge systems in terms of colliding traditional knowledge and science?

The gap comes from the cultural differences. Since we have inter-generational knowledge of countless people of generations. Scientific research and non-traditional knowledge holders do not know how to ask the same kinds of questions, than we would. In that way, we are speaking in different languages and mindsets as well. Even if they know how to do research and make conclusions, the topics themselves may not be so thorough and holistic as we anticipate them to be.

How can the bridge be more build in research collaborations, in regards to indigenous knowledge and science knowledge?

Pragmatic way for approaching this is, to say that non-indigenous scientific researchers have to collaborate with us. Not just collaborate with us as a consult and ask for our opinions, but also have us be on the research teams from the beginning, and give us decent pay and let us have influence in the working groups.

Why is it important to collaborate when it comes to research of indigenous peoples?

It is important because we have real, unique and valuable knowledge that non-indigenous science do not have. We are raised in different cultures. People from different cultures know different things, and knows their own environment very well, especially when it comes to climate topics.

There is a tendency of having a colonialist pattern of researchers thinking, that they “know better”, but Indigenous people knows about their lands and their own livelihoods the best, it’s their life.

What is the meaning ‘to decolonize’ from your perspective?

There is obviously many different aspects to it. The first topic would be, people from colonialist cultures to actually view themselves like they view us. One example would be: a colonialist person would see, Indigenous lands as a resource, and think that people living there just needs to change. Somehow, they still expect that indigenous people would change, and give up their lands for other people.

There is so much more to decolonize. One another point of advice would be, if you need something from indigenous people’s lands; if you need more energy, windmills or minerals, build them where you live, not in someone else’s land. If you wouldn’t be happy to have a windmill in your garden, no one else will either, if you wouldn’t be happy with your land being destroyed, no one else would either.


We want to Thank Uula Jouste for making a statement, and for sharing his own voice and thoughts with us.