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spring 2019

STV-3013 Indigenous Rights, Politics and Institution Building - 10 ECTS

Sist endret: 11.11.2019

The course is provided by

Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education


Tromsø |

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester. Exchange students and Fulbright students: 1 October for the spring semester and 15 April for the autumn semester.

Type of course

The course is mandatory for students at the Master¿s Programme in Indigenous Studies.

The course may also be part of other disciplinary master programmes within social sciences and may be taken as a single course.

Admission requirements

Bachelor degree in a social science subject is required as a general rule.

The minimum average grade requirement is:

  • C - for bachelor's degree or equivalent issued in Europe, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand
  • B - for bachelor's degree or equivalent issued in all other countries

The course requires solid competence in reading and writing English.

Application code: 9371.

Course content

The course is organized in four parts. The aim of the first part is to give an introduction to the philosphical debate on justification of minority and indigenous rights, including the right to self-determination. The second part of the course is a presentation and discussion of developments in international law related to indigenous issues. The third part will look upon the implementation of indigenous self-determination by assessing the level of indigenous participation, the relationship between indigenous political organizations and nation states, and the organization of decision-making procedures. The fourth part has an institutional focus as the Saami political partisipation in a Scandinavian context will be highligted and compared to other governernment and self-government structures in the circumpolar North.

Objectives of the course

Students who have successfully completed the course should have achieved the following learning outcomes:



The student gets knowledge about

  • important debates on indigenous rights and politics, in particular relating to land and resources, self-determination and culture; 
  • how questions of indigenous rigths and interests have been raised, the outcomes of claims, and how different outcomes have been institutionalized;
  • the major instruments in international law regarding indigenous peoples, the philosophical foundations of indigenous rights, and how self-determination can be handled institutionally;
  • how different systems of government influence and define conditions for self-determination arrangements



The student knows how to

  • critically examine indigenous rights claims and debates on indigenous rights issues and political questions;
  • evaluate what legal instruments may be relevant in relation to specific rights issues;
  • seek further information in academic literature on specific issues relating to indigenous rights and politics

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

20 hours of lectures.

Quality control of the course

The course will be evaluated once during a program period



The following course work requirements must be completed and approved before a student can sit the exam:

Two assignments (appr. 600 words each).


The examination consists of two parts: one written exam (3 hours), and one home exam (2000 words).

Each exam has approximately equal weight on the final grade.

The Grade-scale goes from A (tope score) to E (pass) and F (fail). Deadline for register for re-sit exams is January 15 for spring semester and August 15 for autumn semester. Both home and school exam must be submitted.

Date for examination

Written test 10.05.2019
Take-home examination hand out date 28.03.2019 hand in date 04.04.2019

The date for the exam can be changed. The final date will be announced in the StudentWeb early in May and early in November.


Course overlap

STV-3006 Human Rights and Minority Rights 2 stp
STV-3020 Indigenous Peoples - Politics, Institutions and Tools 5 stp

Recommended reading/syllabus


Indigenous rights, politics, and institution building



Required readings/syllabus

(Texts marked with * are included in a compendium which is sold in the University Book Shop)


Indigenous rights

*Susan Dodds: ¿Justice and Indigenous Land Rights.¿ Inquiry 41 (2/1998): 187¿205 (19 p)


*Natan Glazer: ¿Individual Rights against Group Rights,¿ in Will Kymlicka (Ed.): The Rights of Minority Cultures. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995 (pp. 123¿138) (16 p)


*Chandran Kukathas: ¿Are There Any Cultural Rights?¿ in Will Kymlicka (Ed.): The Rights of Minority Cultures. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995 (pp. 228¿256) (29 p)


*Will Kymlicka: ¿The Rights of Minority Cultures: Reply to Kukathas.¿ Political Theory 20 (1/1992) (pp. 140¿146) (7 p)


*Will Kymlicka: ¿The new debate on minority rights (and postscript),¿ in Anthony Simon Laden and David Owen (Eds): Multiculturalism and Political Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007 (pp. 25¿59) (35 p)


*Will Kymlicka: ¿The Global Challenge.¿ Chapter 7 in Will Kymlicka: Multicultural Odysseys: Navigating the New International Politics of Diversity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007 (pp. 247¿293) (47 p)


*Margaret Moore: ¿Internal minorities and indigenous self-determination,¿ in Avigail Eisenberg and Jeff Spinner-Halev (Eds): Minorities within Minorities. Equality, Rights and Diversity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005 (pp. 271¿293) (23 p)


*James Tully: ¿The Struggles of Indigenous Peoples for and of Freedom,¿ in Duncan Ivison et al. (Eds): Political Theory and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000 (pp. 36¿59 + notes) (28 p)


*Jarle Weigård: ¿Is There a Special Justification for Indigenous Rights?¿ in Henry Minde et al. (Eds): Indigenous Peoples: Self-determination - Knowledge - Indigeneity. Delft: Eburon, 2008 (pp. 177¿192) (16 p)



Rights of indigenous peoples in international law

Mattias Åhrén: Indigenous Peoples¿ Status in the International Legal System. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016 (239 p)



Indigenous self-determination

*S James Anaya: ¿The Right of Indigenous Peoples to Self-Determination in the Post-Declaration Era¿. In Claire Charters and Rodolfo Stavenhagen (eds): Making the Declaration Work. The United Nations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Copenhagen: IWGIA, Document No. 127, 2009 (pp. 184¿198) (15 p)


*Stefania Errico: ¿The Controversial Issue of Natural Resources: Balancing States¿ Sovereignty with Indigenous Peoples¿ Rights¿. In Stephen Allen and Alexandra Xanthaki (eds): Reflections on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2011 (pp. 329¿366) (38 p)


*Benedict Kingsbury: ¿Reconstructing Self-Determination: A Relational Approach,¿ in Pekka Aikio and Martin Scheinin (Eds): Operationalizing the Right of Indigenous Peoples to Self-Determination. Turku/Åbo: Institute for Human Rights, Åbo Akademi University, 2005 (20 p)


*Will Kymlicka: ¿Federalism, Nationalism, and Multiculturalism,¿ in Dimitrios Karmis and Wayne Norman (Eds): Theories of Federalism. A Reader. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005 (pp. 269¿292) (24 p)


*Helen Quane: ¿The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: New Directions for Self-Determination and Participatory Rights?¿, in Stephen Allen and Alexandra Xanthaki (eds): Reflections on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2011. (pp. 259¿287) (29 p)


Jane Robbins: ¿Indigenous Political Representation in Liberal-Democratic Countries: A Comparative Analysis,¿ in Mikkel Berg-Nordlie, Jo Saglie and Ann Sullivan (Eds): Indigenous Politics. Institutions, Representation, Mobilisation. Colchester: ECPR Press, 2015 (pp. 61¿93) (33 p)


Ann Sullivan: ¿Maori Representation and Participation in National and Local Government Politics,¿ in Mikkel Berg-Nordlie, Jo Saglie and Ann Sullivan (Eds): Indigenous Politics. Institutions, Representation, Mobilisation. Colchester: ECPR Press, 2015 (pp. 115¿133) (19 p)


*James Tully: ¿Recognition and Dialogue: The Emergence of a New Field.¿ Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 7 (3/2004): 84¿106 (23 p)


*Steven Wheatley: ¿Deliberative Democracy and Minorities.¿ European Journal of International Law, 14 (3/2003): 507¿527 (21 p)


*Iris Marion Young: ¿Two Concepts of Self-Determination,¿ in Iris Marion Young: Global Challenges. War, Self-Determination and Responsibility for Justice. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2007 (pp. 39¿57) (19 p)



Indigenous political influence and participation

*James Anaya: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people: The situation of the Sami people in the Sápmi region of Norway, Sweden and Finland. The UN Human Rights Council, 2011 (22 p) <http://unsr.jamesanaya.org/docs/countries/2011_report_sami_advance_version_en.pdf>


*Else Grete Broderstad: ¿Implementing Indigenous Self-Determination: The Case of the Sámi in Norway,¿ in Marc Woons (Ed.): Restoring Indigenous Self-Determination. Theoretical and Practical Approaches. Bristol: E-International Relations, 2014 (pp. 80¿87) (8 p)


*Thorvald Falch, Per Selle and Kristin Strømsnes (2016): ¿The Sámi: 25 Years of Indigenous Authority in Norway¿. Ethnopolitics, 15 (1):125¿143 (19 p)


*Ulf Mörkenstam, Eva Josefsen and Ragnhild Nilsson: ¿The Nordic Sámediggis and the Limits of Indigenous Self-Determination.¿ Gáldu Cála. Journal of Indigenous Peoples Rights. No 1/2016, (pp. 4¿40) (37 p)


*Michael A. Murphy (2008): ¿Representing Indigenous Self-Determination.¿ University of Toronto Law Journal, 84 (2):185¿216 (32 p)


*Greg Poelzer and Gary N. Wilson: ¿Governance in the Arctic: Political Systems and Geopolitics,¿ in Arctic Human Development Report, 2014, Copenhagen: Nordic Council of Ministers (pp. 185¿222) (38 p)


*Nils Oskal: ¿Political Inclusion of the Saami as Indigenous People in Norway.¿ International Journal on Minority and Group Rights 8 (2¿3/2001) (pp. 235¿261) (27 p)


*Melissa S. Williams: ¿Sharing the River. Aboriginal Representations in Canadian Political Institutions,¿ in Robert C. Thomsen and Nanette L. Hale (Eds): Canadian Environments. Essays in Culture, Politics and History. Brussels: P.I.E. ¿ Peter Lang, 2005 (pp. 25¿51) (27 p)


In total: 910 pages


Weigård, Jarle

Førsteamanuensis, statsvitenskap
Telefon: +4777645791 jwe001@post.uit.no

Michael Sverdrup Stenberg

Stenberg, Michael Sverdrup

Telefon: +4777645676 michael.s.stenberg@uit.no