Aslak Holmberg won the first Árdna award

Holmberg wrote a master thesis about fishing rights in the Tana River. For that, he won the first Árdna award. A new award for the best master thesis at UiT about Indigenous peoples.


THE WINNER: Aslak Holmberg with Rector Anne Husebekk and professor Torjer A. Olsen at the festival. Foto: Inger Elin Utsi/UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Rector Anne Husebekk handed out the award. The prize is 10 000 kroner. Áslat Niillas Áslat – Aslak Holmberg who won the award says he is proud and it is very good to get positive respons for his research.

– I have been working with this thesis for a very long time. I hope the award will motivate other Sámi students to do research in their own community, both challenges and the good sides of the communities, he says.

The award was given during the Riddu Riddu-festival, where the university had many events for the festival-audience.


– The Árdna award is presented for the first time this year. It is being given by UiT and its Center for Sami Studies. «Árdna» is North Sami and means a slightly hidden treasure. With the award, we seek to lift the winner out in the open. The award is given to the best master thesis written at UiT about Indigenous peoples and the situation of Indigenous peoples, says Torjer Andreas Olsen, professor at Center for Sami Studies (Sesam).  


There were seven candidates for the Árdna Award for 2018. They come from different disciplines: Sami literature, history, teacher education, law, archaeology, indigenous studies, and political science.


Aslak Holmberg (sámi name: Áslat Niillas Áslat) won the award with his thesis Bivdit Luosa – To Ask for Salmon. Traditional Knowledge on Salmon and the River Deatnu: In Research and Decision-making. This thesis is submitted for the Degree of Master of Philosophy in Indigenous Studies. Holmberg writes about Sámi traditional knowledge on the salmon as a part of the ecosystem, and the role of this knowledge in research and management. The thesis is a case study on how Finland and Norway deal with indigenous peoples’ rights and knowledge on a national level, while governing traditional Sámi salmon fishing in Deatnu in the north of Sápmi. This thesis stands out in the way Traditional Indigenous Knowledge is used, not least in combination with the integration of the Sámi concepts árbediehtu (traditional knowledge) and árbemáhttu (traditional skills), which also strengthens Sámi language use in research.


UiT wants to give honourable mention to two of the candidates:

The first one is Mari Therese Andreassen, from Law, with her thesis entitled Terskelen for krenkelse av SP artikkel 27 – med utgangspunkt i Samisk naturbruk.

The second one is Elizabeth Solverson, from indigenous studies. Solverson’s thesis is entitled Education for Reconciliaction. A study of the draft curriculum for mainstream social studies in Alberta, Canada.


Both these are highly relevant as well as very well written academic works. The thesis are available at our university library.


Listen what the winner says in the video:


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