Indigenous voices

The Indigenous Voices (IVO) research group - Álgoálbmogii jienat - Urfolks stemmer, was established in 2019. The group has its main affiliation to the Department of Child Welfare and Social Work, but has also members from the Department of Tourism & Northern Studies, Department of Education, as well from the University of Helsinki. The research group consists of researchers with Sámi language, culture and social competence. Indigenous Voices (IVO) goal is to contribute UiT to be in forefront of Sámi and comparative indigenous research on the social consequences of colonialization as well as decolonial and healing processes for recovery.

Colonialism as a political, social and cultural force has contributed to innumerable former and present conflicts, violent, armed, social and psychological – on people and land. UN and most countries claim that colonisation, apartheid and assimilation belong to the past. Discrimination and everyday racism (microhumilation), however, seem impossible to control and prevent. Neo-colonisation is still in progress in many countries, even if colonialism is considered to be part of the past. Suffering, poverty and exploitation are still societal and individual threats to all, not only to those who are directly involved. We need more knowledge on how to heal, restore and decolonize. Decolonizing means accepting Indigenous Peoples’ lived experience as a starting point when searching for solutions to the problems and issues they face, which, in many instances, are also relevant to non-Indigenous Peoples and global problems, such as climate change, pollution, war, poverty and hunger, to name a few. It means putting people’s needs, uniqueness and knowledge first and seeing all the activities in which we engage from here on in as honest attempts to discern the nature of decolonizing. The group will also focus on diversity and marginalization, in the effort to formalize UiT national responsibility for educating social workers to Sámi communities as well.

Goals for the period 2020 - 2023:
-Establish ourselves as a level 2 group.
-Establish a climate-friendly way of working.
-Arrange annual PhD courses.
-Conduct annual workshops with various research communities.
-Apply for smaller projects on an ongoing practical basis.
-Write a major international research application (NRC level, EU level).
-Strategic commitment to joint publishing.
-Strategic focus on international publishing.
-Initiate Indigenous peoples as a theme at professional conferences.
-Continuous participation in the public debate.
-Initiate / contribute to Sámi-related research and dissemination in connection to the Sámi National Day.
-Initiate /contribute to Indigenous-related research and dissemination in connection to the UN International Indigenous Peoples' Day.

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