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Research Seminars

Indigenous Writing: Reclaiming the Past, Imagining the Future

The University of Salford are delighted to present "Indigenous Writing: Reclaiming the Past, Imagining the Future", a seminar series dedicated to celebrating and exploring the ways in which Indigenous literatures can, as Risling Baldy suggests, help to ‘build a future with the past’ (2015, p.18).

Since time immemorial, stories have played significant social, cultural and political roles for many Indigenous nations. From encapsulating cosmologies, preserving traditional knowledges, and affirming relationships to place and land, stories assert Indigenous presence and resist erasure. As LeAnne Howe explains, Indigenous storytelling connects us in the present moment to both the past and the future (2014, p.47). Similarly, for Cutcha Risling Baldy, Indigenous stories are ‘living histories […] understood not only as documents of the past, but also living philosophies of the present and future’ (2015, p.18).

This event is funded by the University of Salford and presented in associated with the Centre for Indigenous and Settler-Colonial Studies at the University of Kent.

Living with the Land – a Necessity of Life or a Lovestory? - Lill Tove Fredriksen (UiT Arctic University of Tromsø.

How can we investigate relational connections to the land? How can we do it from a Sámi perspective? There are multiple ways of thinking and engaging with Indigenous connections to the land. In this essay, I will focus on relational contexts that refer to the interaction between humans and the land itself as a mutual interaction. In particular, I will place emphasis on the concept of meahcci, a word that forms part of the title of this essay, and on its several meanings, including pastureland, open country, waste country, and wilderness. To illustrate the use and connection to meahcci, I will draw on personal lived experiences and stories, as well as exploring the ancient Sámi yoik tradition, and introducing a glimpse into Sámi written literature. Relational contexts must somehow mean that we human beings need to see the land as an actor, and that we need to act according to the terms of the land. What does this require of us, of our human interactions? Can árbemáhttu, which can be translated as “inherited knowledge based on trust”, teach us how to act and become a source of critical thought for when new times are coming? This essay will show how árbemáhttu plays a vital role in the use and understanding of meahcci. Árbemáhttu encompasses a deep meaning of knowledge transfer between generations. It gives us some impressions of what meahcci means in a contemporary life, and how it can also contribute to living relations in the future.

Lill Tove Fredriksen received her PhD from UiT the Arctic University of Tromso, Norway, focusing in the thesis on the coping skills in the novel trilogy Árbbolaččat (“The heirs”) written by the Sámi novelist Jovnna-Ánde Vest. She is Associate Professor in Sámi Literature at the same university. She has published widely in the Sámi language, and in Norwegian and English, on coping skills and traditional knowledge in Sámi literature. She also participates in the public debate concerning Sámi issues.

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