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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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Sámi Pedagogy

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The indigenous people’s right to develop education based on their own premises must be at the center when planning new reforms. Fixing some individual edu- cational issues is not enough when aiming to strengthen Sámi pedagogy but so- lutions to the wider entities have to be figured out piece by piece. As the Sámi community does not yet have wider educational self-government, ideas of be- coming independent are needed. Embedding Sámi pedagogy also challenges the reconstruction of teacher education. The indigenous education is tied to the Western concepts of progress and to the globalism. Indigenous peoples have their own forms of local knowledge, practical expertise, and culturally specific means of transmitting knowledge (Crystal, 2000). Our book is to support cultural continuity and the survival of indigenous peoples. In addition to a secure land base, this survival means free- dom of religious, cultural, and linguistic expression, rights which members of dominant national groups all too often take for granted. Indigenous peoples’ par- ticipation in education is an essential part of transforming abstract policy formu- lations into long-awaited results that make a real difference in peoples’ lives. Indigenous education is characterized by emancipatory ideologies of indigenous sovereignty, self-determination, and cultural revalorization. We want to point out the potential of an indigenous pedagogy based on context-specific learning systems to promote cultural and language revitalization. There is a constant need for an analysis of the relationships between the dominant culture and indigenous populations. This analysis helps us to under- stand not...

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