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GHL research seminar: May-Britt Öhman

September 16, 2019 @ 16:00 - 18:00

Subttsasa biehtsevuomátjistema: Knowledge from our forests, lands and waters

Subttsasa biehtsevuomátjistema means “Stories from our little pine forest” , in Lule Sámi, a Sámi language from of the region around the Lule River Valley, on the Swedish side of Sábme/Sápmi, and the language of my maternal grandfathers family. I never learned this language, nor about our traditional knowledges. Nor Meänkieli from Tornedalen river valley which was my maternal grandmother’s first language.  Since the 16th century the Indigenous people Sámi have been ethnically cleansed, deported to reservations and forced to assimilation in FennoScandinavia, through different more or less violent means.  These experiences are shared with Indigenous peoples around the world. It was and is an ongoing genocide and an epistemicide – the destruction of local and traditional knowledge, languages along with the destruction of forests, lands and waters. While it is important to point out that this epistemicide is still ongoing, and to fight it, I find it equally important to spend time on reclaiming our knowledge, ways to learn and teach, as a way of living, learning, resting.

In this presentation, I will talk about of how I do this from my academic platform, my collaborations with other Sámi. Within [colonial] academia, I refer to my/our method as supradisciplinary research.  In Indigenous contexts, with family and friends,  I refer to it as listening to and learning from those who know more than I do, whether it is human or non-human knowledge. I also apply methodologies from “ego-histoire” along with more traditional historical methodologies, archival studies, and oral history, also in collaboration with archeologists and water resource expertise.


Dr. May-Britt Öhman, Centre for Multidisciplinary Research on Racism, CEMFOR,  and guest researcher at Luleå University of Technology, division of history, is PhD in History of Technology, 2007, KTH, and Lule/Forest Sámi from Lule River/Julevädno, and also has Tornedalian background.

She has since more than a decade been active in Sámi associations; the Sámi association in Stockholm, board member of Silbonah Sámesijdda since 2011, board member of the Swedish National Saami Association (SSR) 2011-2015, and deputy member of the Sámi Parliament 2013-2017.

Öhman is co-founder of UPPSAM – the network for Sámi related research in Uppsala, founder of Káfastallat – a Sámi/Indigenous research network, and  board member of the Swedish Association for Gender Researchers, as well as the research leader of Dálkke: Indigenous Climate Change Studies, financed within the Swedish national research program on climate.

Öhman’s research focus is on large technical systems, hydropower, water resources, energy production/consumption, mines, environment, risk and safety, decolonisation and healing from colonial traumas, Feminist Technoscience and Indigenous Methodologies/Theories. While having research and personal experience from West, East and North Africa, her current main geographical focus is on Sábme and the Arctic and doing comparative studies with other Indigenous territories around the world. Member of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, NAISA, Öhman has a worldwide network of research exchange and has ongoing research collaborations with scholars in Canada, the US, Australia and Japan.


September 16, 2019
16:00 - 18:00
Event Category:


Radiatorn (E101), Arken
Tehtaankatu 2
Turku, Finland
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