(Photo: Getty Images) Arctic Centre participates in organizing a joint workshop on Arctic Sacred Sites and Culturally Important Landscapes.

Arctic Centre, jointly with Sámi Education Institute, SIIDA Sámi museum, University of Montréal and University of the Arctic Thematic Network on Arctic Law, is organizing an indigenous rights-holder workshop "Experiencing and Protecting Arctic Sacred Sites and Culturally Important Landscapes – Creating Partnerships with Mutual Respect" to be held in Inari/Aanar June 11–13, 2014

Around 50 persons from different Arctic countries will be discussing the present and future challenges and opportunities related to sacred and cultural sites of Arctic indigenous peoples. The idea of the workshop is to advance multidisciplinary research project related to the sacred sites. Several researchers from the Arctic Centre have participated in the planning of the project which will be realized in close partnership with many indigenous peoples' organizations or institutions.

In September 2013, nearly 80 sacred site guardians of indigenous communities, indigenous peoples' organizations, scientists, and policy makers gathered together in Rovaniemi and Pyhätunturi for the first international, multidisciplinary conference on Arctic sacred sites. The conference succeeded to create a platform to establish a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to tackle multiple issues of the sacred sites and culturally important landscapes in the Arctic. Conference participants issued the first statement for policy-making related to sacred sites in the Arctic. The conference acted as a platform to create a participatory educational research project to advance the transmission of spiritually relevant culturally embedded knowledge and practices related to sacred sites and culturally important landscapes to younger generations, and advance effective legal recognition and sustainable development planning.

Indigenous rights-holder workshop emphasizes the voice of indigenous communities. Therefore, all the invited key-note speakers are indigenous persons. Academic and other participants act as expert commentators or participate actively in four different workshops.

Workshop aims at creating partnerships with mutual trust and respect. The four themes of the workshop are:

  1. Traditional knowledge and customary law related to Arctic sacred sites and culturally important landscape;
  2. Education and revitalisation and transmission of culture (language, worldview, spiritual practices, rituals, ceremonies, healing, spiritual well-being of the community);
  3. Nature-culture interrelationship: Threats to and loss off sacred sites, traditional lands and culturally important landscapes and linked livelihoods (mining, forestry, mapping, tourism);
  4. Recognition and protection, Akwe: Kon Guidelines and UNESCO World Heritage Convention.

More information:
www.arcticcentre.org/indigenousworkshop
Researcher: Leena Heinämäki
leena.heinamaki (at) ulapland.fi
Tel. +358 40 484 4280

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