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Sámi Education

Pigga Keskitalo, Kaarina Määttä and Satu Uusiautti

This book is a pioneering work. It discusses special characteristics of the education of Sámi people, an indigenous people living in Northern Europe. The book provides a comprehensive study of indigenous school research and special features of Sámi education including problems and opportunities that teachers and pupils confront daily. The purpose of this book is to support the realization of indigenous peoples’ education based on their own cultural premises. New, reformative pedagogical models and culturally sensitive teaching arrangements that could enhance Sámi education are the focus of the book. It is aimed at everyone who is interested in indigenous peoples’ educational conditions and is based on the authors’ research cooperation in the field of Sámi education.

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Ethical Perspectives on Sámi School Research

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The research contexts of indigenous peoples and Sámi education are versatile. The diversity of the Sámi School originates in the tradition of colonization and the decolonization process that follows it. Sámi communities are relatively wide and scattered because of the geographical reach of their settlement. Inner, cul- tural, and livelihood-related differences are also great. In addition, the diversity manifests itself as multilingualism. Local multiculturalism consists not only of the Sámi, Finns, Norwegians, and Kvens, but also other ethnic minorities: all these languages increase the language-sociological richness in the everyday life at the Sámi School. Moreover, the political situation including legislation and human rights has to be taken into consideration. When the purpose is to rethink schooling from the perspective of indigenous peoples’ own needs, it is worth asking how research, educational practices, and curriculum have to change to recognize and incorporate local forms of knowledge and ways of knowing. Along research, the importance of indigenous knowledge is being realized (Mu- rillo, 2009)—even to the extent where methods of collecting, analyzing, and presenting data characterize the western academic tradition as well as indige- nous ways of knowing, communicating and sharing knowledge (Webster & John, 2010). Recently, more attention has been paid on how the western education has af- fected individuals, and local cultures and knowledge (see e.g., Barnhardt & Ka- wagley, 2005). In the school context, ecological and cultural factors affect stu- dents’ cognitive, affective, and social development (Seitamo, 1991). Linguistic and cultural diversity provides that teaching...

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