spring 2018
STV-2048 Comparative Artic Indigenous Governance - 10 ECTS

Type of course

This is an optional course, which can contribute towards a Bachelor degree in Political Science as one of the options required at the 2000 level. It can also be taken as an elective course for other Bachelor programmes within the Social Sciences, Law, Fisheries or Humanities. The course can be taken as a singular course.

Previous knowledge equivalent to STV-1003 Comparative European Politics, is recommended.

Admission requirements

Nordic applicants: Generell studiekompetanse

International applicants: Higher Education Entrance Qualification and certified language requirements in English.

A list of the requirements for the Higher Education Entrance Qualification in Norway can be found on the web site from the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT). For language requirements we refer to NOKUT's GSU-list.

Application code: 9199 (Nordic applicants).

Course content

Norway, Sweden, Finland and Canada have much in common. All are highly developed liberal democracies. All include sparsely populated, resource-rich, Northern ¿frontiers.¿ And, all are settler-colonial, comprising indigenous peoples absorbed by the state without consent.

Yet these states also differ. Canada is federal; the Nordic states are unitary. In the Nordic states, settlers and indigenous peoples are highly intermixed; in Canada many indigenous populations remain separate. And, while Canada has seen intense judicial conflict concerning individual and indigenous rights, such legal battles have been less prominent in Nordic states. 

For all of these reasons, the Nordic states and Canada provide fertile territory to explore the rapidly evolving field of indigenous governance.

This course aims to undertake that exploration using a comparative approach. Particular focus will be on the opportunities and challenges facing indigenous governance in unitary versus federal states; the challenges of indigenous autonomy where settler and indigenous populations are mixed; and the conflicts arising between indigenous and individual rights.

Objectives of the course

Upon completion of the course the student should possess the following knowledge, skills and competence:




  • define and understand the indigenous field and the core debates within the field
  • demonstrate extensive knowledge about different indigenous peoples of the North and the main reasons for the different position and governance structure in the Nordic Countries and in the countries further west
  • explain the different perspectives of indigenous peoples both within and across such groups
  • explain and understand the different space open to indigenous peoples in federal vs. unitary states



  • identify, analyze and reflect upon arguments and positions put forward in contemporary debates on the status and position of indigenous people
  • assess claims made by researchers, indigenous groups, politicians and governmental bodies
  • demonstrate knowledge about strengths and weaknesses of theories and positions and why these theories and positions exists in the first place



  • critically relate concepts and perspectives on Arctic indigenous governance to new situations and developments, and being able to engage in debates with others on implications, solutions and recommendations.


  • understand the importance of the core character of a political systems for the space open for indigenous groups

Language of instruction and examination

Language of instruction and examination is English. Examination questions will be given in English but may be answered either in English or Norwegian/Scandinavian language.

Teaching methods

The course consists of 20 hours of lectures


Quality assurance of the course

All courses will be evaluated once during the period of the study program. The board of the program decides which courses will be evaluated by students and teacher each year.


The exam will consist of:

  • One take home exam: Write a term paper on a given theme within the time frame of 10 hours.

The exam will be assessed on an A-F grades scale. Grades are A-E for passed and F for failed.

Retake is offered in in the beginning of the following semester in cases of grade F or Fail. Deferred examination is offered in the beginning of the following semester if the student is unable to take the final exam due to illness or other exceptional circumstances. Registration deadline for retake is January 15 for autumn semester exams and August 15 for spring semester exams

Recommended reading/syllabus


Book chapters

Brody, Hugh. 2002. ¿Chapter 6: Mind.¿ The other side of Eden: Hunters, farmers, and the shaping of the world. Macmillan. Pages 271-314

Coulthard, Glen Sean. 2014. ¿Chapter 2: For the land.¿ Red skin, white masks: Rejecting the colonial politics of recognition. University of Minnesota Press. Pages 51-78

Hough, Peter. 2013. ¿Chapter 4: Decolonization.¿ International Politics of the Arctic: Coming In from the Cold. New York: Routledge. Pages 71-97

Josefsen, Eva, Siri U. Søreng, and Per Selle. 2016. ¿Regional governance and indigenous rights in Norway: The Finnmark Estate case.¿ Indigenous Peoples¿ Governance of Land and Protected Territories in the Arctic. Springer International Publishing. Pages 23-41.

Kymlicka, Will. 1995. ¿Chapters 2: The Politics of Multiculturalism, Chapter 3: Individual Rights and Collective Rights, and Chapter 6: Justice and Minority Rights.¿ Multicultural citizenship: A liberal theory of minority rights. Clarendon Press. Pages 10-33, pages 34-48, pages 107-130

McArthur, Doug. 2009. ¿The Changing Architecture of Governance in Yukon and the Northwest Territories.¿ In Northern Exposure Volume 4: Peoples, Powers and Prospects in Canada¿s North, eds. Frances Abele, Thomas J. Courchene, F. Leslie Seidle, and France St-Hilaire. Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy. Pages 187-232

Papillon, Martin. 2008. ¿Canadian federalism and the emerging mosaic of aboriginal multilevel governance.¿ Canadian federalism: performance, effectiveness, and legitimacy.Pages 291-315.

Poelzer, Greg, and Ken S. Coates. 2015. ¿Chapter 1: Introduction.¿ From treaty peoples to treaty nation: A road map for all Canadians. UBC Press.Pages 3-30

Ravna, Øyvind. 2015. ¿The Sámi Influence in Legislative Processes.¿ Mapping Indigenous Presence: North Scandinavian and North American Perspectives, ed. James Anaya, University of Arizona Press. Pages 189-210

Rawls, John. 1971. ¿Chapter 1: Justice as Fairness.¿ A theory of justice. Harvard University Press.Pages 3-53

Tully, James. 2000. ¿Chapter 3: The struggles of indigenous peoples for and of freedom.¿ Political theory and the rights of Indigenous peoples, eds. Duncan Ivison, Paul Patton, Will Sanders. Cambridge University Press. Pages 36-59

Waldron, Jeremy. 1995. ¿Minority Cultures and the Cosmopolitan Alternative.¿ In The Rights of Minority Cultures, ed. Will Kymlicka. New York: Oxford University Press. Pages 93-119

Weigård, Jarle. 2008. ¿Chapter 8: Is There a Special Justification for Indigenous Rights?¿ Indigenous Peoples. Self-determination, Knowledge and Identity, eds. Henry Minde. Eburon. Pages 177-192

Journal articles

Abele, Frances, and Michael J. Prince. 2006. ¿Four pathways to Aboriginal self-government in Canada.¿ American Review of Canadian Studies 36.4: 568-595.

Abele, Frances, and Thierry Rodon. 2007. ¿Inuit diplomacy in the global era: The strengths of multilateral internationalism.¿ Canadian Foreign Policy Journal 13.3: 45-63.

Bjørklund, Ivar. 2013. ¿Industrial impacts and Indigenous representation: Some fallacies in the Sámi quest for autonomy.¿ Études/Inuit/Studies: 145-160.

Broderstad, Else Grete. 2015. ¿The Finnmark Estate: Dilution of indigenous rights or a robust compromise?¿ The Northern Review 39: 8-21.

Falch, Torvald, Per Selle and Kristin Strømsnes. 2016. ¿The Sámi: 25 Years of Indigenous Authority in Norway.¿ Ethnopolitics. 15/1: 125-143.

Josefsen, Eva, Ulf Mörkenstam, and Jo Saglie. 2015. ¿Different institutions within similar states: The Norwegian and Swedish Sámediggis.¿ Ethnopolitics 14.1: 32-51.

Knight, Trevor. 2001. ¿Electoral Justice for Aboriginal People in Canada.¿ McGill Law Journal 46: 1063-1116.

Koivurova, Timo and Leena Heinämäki. 2006. ¿The Participation of Indigenous Peoples in International Norm-making in the Arctic.¿ Polar Record 42, no. 221: 101-109.

Koivurova, Timo. 2010. ¿Sovereign states and self-determining peoples: carving out a place for transnational indigenous peoples in a world of sovereign states.¿ International Community Law Review 12.2: 191-212

Paine, Robert. 1999. ¿Aboriginality, Multiculturalism, and Liberal Rights Philosophy.¿ Ethnos 64, no. 3: 325-349.

Ravna, Øyvind. 2013. ¿The First Investigation Report of the Norwegian Finnmark Commission.¿ International Journal on Minority and Group Rights 20.3: 443-457.

Sabin, Jerald. 2014. ¿Contested Colonialism: Responsible Government and Political Development in Yukon.¿ Canadian Journal of Political Science 47, no. 2: 375-396.

Schouls, Tim. 1996. ¿Aboriginal People and Electoral Reform in Canada: Differentiated Representation versus Voter Equality.¿ Canadian Journal of Political Science 39, no 4: 729-749.

Selle, Per, and Kristin Strømsnes. 2010. ¿Sámi citizenship: marginalisation or integration?¿ Acta Borealia 27.1: 66-90.

Semb, Anne Julie. 2012. ¿From `Norwegian citizens¿ via `citizens plus¿ to `dual political membership¿? Status, aspirations, and challenges ahead.¿ Ethnic and Racial Studies 35.9: 1654-1672.

Van Dyke, Vernon. 1975. ¿Justice as Fairness: For Groups? A Theory of Justice by John Rawls, Review.¿ The American Political Science Review 69, No. 2: 607-614.

Vik, Hanne Hagtvedt, and Anne Julie Semb. 2013. ¿Who Owns the Land? Norway, the Sami and the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention.¿ International Journal on Minority and Group Rights 20.4. 517-550

Waldron, Jeremy. 1992. ¿Superseding historic injustice.¿ Ethics 103.1: 4-28.

White, Graham. 2001. ¿And Now for Something Completely Northern: Institutions of Governance in the Territorial North.¿ Journal of Canadian Studies. 35/4: 80-99.

Wilson, Gary. 2008. ¿Nested federalism in Arctic Quebec: A comparative perspective.¿ Canadian Journal of Political Science 41.1: 71-92

Wilson, Gary N., and Heather A. Smith. 2011. ¿The Inuit Circumpolar Council in an era of global and local change.¿ International Journal 66.4: 909-921.

Wolfe, Patrick. 2006. ¿Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native.¿ Journal of Genocide Research 8, no. 4: 387-409.

Young, Iris Marion. 1989. ¿Polity and Group Difference: A Critique of the Ideal Universal Citizenship.¿ Ethics 99, no. 2: 250-274.

Online resources

A Plain Language Guide to the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, on the Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated website http://www.tunngavik.com/publications/nlca-plain-language/nlca-plain-en.pdf

Anaya, James. 2011. ¿The situation of the Sami people in the Sápmi region of Norway, Sweden and Finland.¿ Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. UN. Retrieved October 9: 2012. http://unsr.jamesanaya.org/docs/countries/2011-report-sapmi-a-hrc-18-35-add2_en.pdf

Bankes, Nigel and Timo Koivurova. 2014. ¿Chapter 6: Legal Systems.¿ Arctic Human Development Report: Regional Processes and Global Linkages, eds. Joan Nymand Larsen and Gail Fondahl. Copenhagen: Norden ¿ Nordic Council of Ministers. http://norden.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:788965/FULLTEXT03.pdf

Government of Canada. 1995. Aboriginal Self-Government: The Government of Canada¿s Approach to Implementation of the Inherent Right and Negotiation of Aboriginal Self-Government. Ottawa: Government of Canada. http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100031843/1100100031844

Josefsen, Eva. 2004. The Saami and the national parliaments. Resource Centre for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. http://archive.ipu.org/splz-e/Chiapas10/saami.pdf

Poelzer, Greg and Gary N. Wilson. 2014. ¿Chapter 5: Governance in the Arctic: Political Systems and Geopolitics.¿ Arctic Human Development Report: Regional Processes and Global Linkages, eds. Joan Nymand Larsen and Gail Fondahl. Copenhagen: Norden ¿ Nordic Council of Ministers. http://norden.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:788965/FULLTEXT03.pdf

Schweitzer, Peter, Peter Sköld and Olga Ulturgasheva. 2014. ¿Chapter 3: Cultures and Identities.¿ Arctic Human Development Report: Regional Processes and Global Linkages, eds. Joan Nymand Larsen and Gail Fondahl. Copenhagen: Norden ¿ Nordic Council of Ministers. http://norden.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:788965/FULLTEXT03.pdf

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  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: STV-2048