This new special issue of NoMe contains four fieldwork reports on Greenland and one report about the researchers themselves. These reports give valuable input into various perspectives related to Greenland, colonisation, decolonisation, and the work of the Greenland Reconciliation Commission. The field reports are published in both English and Greenlandic.
“Perspectives on Colonialism in Greenland”, by Martin Binachon, Rachael Lorna Johnstone and Jonathan Wood, addresses some of the main questions concerning how Greenlanders experience colonialism today, how Greenland can decolonise, and whether the Greenlanders from Avanersuaq or the far northwest of Greenland have experienced colonialism differently. The report discusses also whether the Reconciliation Commission contributed to decolonisation in Greenland and how the opinions of Greenlanders influence decision-making processes about resource activities.
“Colonisation then and now in Avanersuaq”, by Martin Binachon, is a fieldwork report on how colonialism affects the Inughuit People of Avanersuaq today. The author visited Qaanaaq, Ilulissat and Nuuk in October and November 2021, in order to find that out and his report gives important insights into the matter.
“The Greenland Reconciliation Commission: One more step towards independence?”, by Rachael Lorna Johnstone, is a field report on the Greenland Reconciliation Commission (2014-2017) and its work. The author discusses and examines how people feel about it today and how the Commission’s conclusions relate to other strategies for decolonisation in Greenland. This Report is based on research conducted in Nuuk by the author in October and November 2021.
“Seeking Community Consent for Resource Development in Greenland” is a field report by Jonathan Wood on the decision-making processes related to developing or not some of the most abundant deposits of rare earth elements (REEs) on the planet. The author examines, among others, how Greenlanders feel about these possible changes and whether the consultation processes listen to their opinions.
This new special issue of NoMe contains eleven editor-reviewed long abstracts describing forthcoming research articles on sacred sites in the circumpolar region, plus two introductory articles by the issue’s editors. We are proud to be able to collaborate with this international research group pursuing a joint project on such an important issue. The long abstracts and related topics are as follows:
“Preserving Sacred Sites in the Arctic: Lessons from elsewhere?”, by Akwoni Ayonghe, who reflects on whether Cameroonian indigenous experiences in land co-management can be applied tosacred sites in the Arctic without jepoardizing their cultural importance.
“‘To be or not to be?’ Tourism development plans and the voice of the river”, by Anna Stammler-Gossmann, reflects on the sensitivity to the tourism devleopment plans in relation to the Amma River that has an iconic status as the most beautiful and the cleanest river in the whole region of the Republic of Skha Yakutia.
“Protection of Sacred Sites – Between Legal Pluralism and Cultural Ecology”, by Dawid Bunikowski, addresses the combination of the theory of cultural ecology with the theory of legal pluralism, so as to help recognise indigenous customary laws in the Arctic.
“Recognizing Innu Sacred Natural Sites as Aboriginal-led Protected Areas by UAPASHKUSS: Innu Sacred Sites Guardians”, by Dolorés André, Thora Herrmann and Veronique Bussière, discusses the work of the UAPASHKUSS, an indigenous apolitical group in Canada, and the importance of Indigenous-led governance and conservation systems in the preservation of natural sacred sites.
“Protection of Sámi Sacred Sites and Culturally Sensitive Tourism in Sápmi Under the Threats of Land-use”, by Eleonora Alareisto, discusses the growing phenomenon of tourism in Sámi homeland area and the various impacts of its expansion with regard to Sámi sacred sites, which are called sieidi.
“How Sacred Should Spiritual Knowledge Be? Human-spirit relations in the Nenets tundra”, by Florian Stammer, highlights the ways in which Nenets people in the Russian Arctic display or hide their relations with the local spirits. The contribution is meant to take a long-durée perspective of 20 years.
“Sacred Natural Sites in the Arctic North: Living memory, traditions,, cultural heritage and exploitation through tourism and inadequate protection”, by Francis Joy, is a description of a planned research on threats to Sámi sacred sites on present-day Finnish territory because of fires, camping, rock-climbing and leisure activities, among others.
“Sacred Places as Cultural Ecologies: Making space for the intangible”, by Patrick Dillon, discusses various forms of sacred places and how they are experienced and understood in many different ways. The author approaches sacred places as “cultural ecologies”.
“Sacred Sites: Destruction or counter-hegemonic resistance?”, by René Kuppe, discusses a particular form of ongoing colonization of non-European societies, hardly noticed or even discussed: the destruction of traditional beliefs and worldviews of Indigenous Peoples by fundamentalist Christians, Muslims and Hindus .
“The Nenets’ Sacred Places: The singing mountain Yanganya Pe”, by Roza Laptander, casts light on the sacred mountains in the Polar Ural Mountains that are revered by the Nenets.
“Climate Change and Underwater Cultural Heritage. Utilizing international law to empower communities to protect their coastal sacred sites and sea-level rise”, by Stefan Kirchner, discusses coastal communities across most of the Arctic and the need for them to consider the impacts of sea-level rise on their communities, including sacred sites. For that purpose, international law can be utilized to protect sacred sites that are, or that will be, located under water as cultural heritage.
We thank most warmly all the contributors for their contributions, which ensure the continued relevance and usefulness of Nordicum-Mediterraneum as the online, free, open-access, multi- and inter-disciplinary forum that it has endeavoured to be since its inception in 2005.