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Browsing by Subject "Sámi"

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  • Lappalainen-Imbert, Helmi (2024)
    This master's thesis examines environmental and climate racism in the Arctic regions. The work focuses particularly on the disproportionate effects of climate change on Indigenous peoples, as well as Indigenous peoples' opportunities to influence decision-making processes. In order to understand the phenomena, it is essential to recognize the effects of climate change on Indigenous peoples and their culture and traditions. In this thesis, the situation of the Sámi people in Finland will be explored in particular. The thesis also discusses the possibilities of indigenous peoples' participation and representation in decision-making processes, as well as the challenges and successes observed in these processes. In this context, the role of the Finnish state is analyzed in particular, emphasizing the need to increase genuine representation and expertise. The work also examines the efforts of indigenous peoples to influence politics, the responses of communities and the effects of international cooperation on adaptation strategies. My research questions are: 1) Does environmental racism exist and in what forms, and how does it impact Sámi communities within the decision-making processes and politics in Finland? 2) What policies and practices have perpetuated inequalities and environmental racism in Finland, and how can Sámi voices be included? 3) What has been the Indigenous communities’ response to these policies and practices? Is the representation of Indigenous perspectives acknowledged and can Indigenous values be observed within policies, practices, and communication? The research methods include data analysis, document analysis, and an interview with a member of the Ministry of Environment and the Sámi Climate Council. This multi-method approach allows for a deep understanding of the impacts of climate change on the Sámi and the roots of environmental racism. The theoretical framework of the analysis of the research is based on environmental justice, Indigenous studies, and resilience theory. The research highlights systematic violations of environmental rights that the Sámi people face, such as differences in resources or belittling attitudes towards Indigenous knowledge. The Sámi Climate Council and the inclusion of Sámi rights in Finnish climate legislation are identified as key steps to promote community-based adaptation. The study emphasizes the urgent consideration of environmental and climate racism in the Arctic regions, and highlights the consultation of Indigenous peoples, supporting fair and sustainable development in decision-making processes. The thesis also contributes to a wider discussion about environmental law and participatory governance.
  • Ruotsalainen, Elise (2024)
    In Sápmi, the traditional homelands of the Indigenous Sámi, climate change and green transition have created together a double burden for the Arctic ecosystems and the Sámi. As an effort to mitigate the climate change, the transition towards green sources of energy and mineral intensive technologies have created conflicting interests for land use in Sápmi, as extractivist activities have been located for instance to their traditional reindeer pasture lands. This thesis focuses on representations of Western edited media about green transition related extractive activities in Sámi context. Construction and operation of Fosen wind farm in Norway and expansion of mineral extraction in Giron, Sweden, act as examples of such activities. The research question is: what issues the Western edited media represents when discussing extractive activities regarding green transition, in the Sámi context? The thesis derives from the identified research gap of the matter, as this kind of research regarding the Sámi has not been conducted before. The thesis uses inductive thematic analysis to identify issues the news media articles represent regarding cases of Fosen and Giron. The research data consists of 35 news articles, published between 2016-2024. The applicable case examples were identified in data collection as illustrating the green transition related extractivist activities having significant impact on the Sámi communities. Through thematic analysis, six themes were identified and further analyzed through the framework of Indigenous Environmental Justice (IEJ). The analysis shows that the media represents green transition related extractivism in both negative- and positive lights. Whereas wind power and mineral extraction are represented as essential drivers for sustainable future, they also have negative impacts for the ecosystems in Sápmi and to the Sámi culture and livelihoods. The activities are represented as causing disputes between the Sámi and other stakeholders, due to conflicting interests of land-use and the Sámi’s experiences of violation of rights and unfairness. The activities taking place in Sápmi are often represented as continuation of Western colonialism, planned without sufficient consultation and involvement of the local Sámi communities. Yet, the Sámi are represented as solution-oriented, aiming to actively protect their traditional lands. The struggle of the Sámi with Western extractivism was also represented as part of wider global struggle of Indigenous people, whose traditional homelands these activities have penetrated to. These issues identified support the notions of IEJ about Western legal systems as failing to resolve environmental injustices and current extractivist activities as a form of on-going colonialism. The analysis also shows that the provision of multiple ontologies and legal orders, intergenerational- and other-than-human justice and acknowledgement of the distinct legal status of Indigenous peoples are needed, as argued by IEJ scholars. In the future, as the extractivist activities in the Arctic are expected to intensify, there is an urgent need for critical assessment of the manner the green transition is currently carried out in Western societies, participatory evaluation of impacts of the extractive projects and emphasis on aspects of fairness.