The 2016 field school trip went to the Márka Sami region in Southern Troms/Northern part of Nordland, where the students visited Sami as well as non-Sami institutions and organizations.
The purpose of the field schools is to introduce the MIS-students to the different Sami regions where the master's programme is offered. Getting out of the classroom to travel with your fellow students, is an opportunity to build good group relations and experience hands-on learning in the field.
At a preparatory seminar in 2016, the students learnt about the history of the region, as well as met the well-known Sami writer from that region - Sigbjørn Skåden. The first topic presented to the students at Trondarnes Historical Centre was the meeting between the Sami and the Nose. Continuing to Sortland, the students met with Laila Inga, a reindeer owner at Iinnasuolu/Hinnøya Island, where they learnt about traditional reindeer husbandry combined with tourism livelihood. As one of the students noticed: The Inga family “has not only succeeded in preserving traditional knowledge, it also creates a space for the divulgation of Sami culture and reindeer husbandry,…” (Francesca Castagnetti, 2016). Another student Liz Solverson (2016) observed the non-romanticized story of Laila Inga who in the meeting with the students said: “to me it’s important that when people visit me they hear about everything; the slaughtering, how difficult it can be, not just “yeah, Sami: 4 countries, a little Joik and goodbye” (Laila Inga, personal communication, September 5, 2016).
The trip continued to the municipalities of Skánit/Skånland and Evenassi/Evenes. The students met with the mayor of Skånland Helene Berg Nilsen, the director Kjersti Myrnes Balto and museum director Marit Myrvoll of Várdobáiki Sami Centre, and learned about institutionalization of Sami culture in the Márka Sami region.
They visited the outdoor museum Gállogieddi where Arnt Eriksen told about the Sami festival Márkomeannu, emphasizing the importance of festival for youth engagement and Sami identity building. At the localities of Stuoranjárga Sámi Duodji, Oddveig Nymo Dalbakk and Bjørnar Fløystad introduced the students to the position of Sami handicraft and the role of voluntary work.
Student Jean Kavanagh (2016) summarized this encounter in the following way: “We came by boat, like so many before us, to land on Iinnasuolo; a hundred years ago we would have made a strange, if not impossible group – Norwegians and Sami with companions from Italy, France, Canada, Ireland, Cameroon, Uganda, and the Philippines – travelling through the mountains and fjords, wondering what stories they have to tell us, and what stories we have yet to tell each other …”