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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Pathfinders for the Future? Indigenous Rights and Traditional Knowledge in Sweden

Dahlstrom, Asa Nilsson; Dahlin, Johanna; Tunon, Hakan


Indigenous peoples have for the past decades increasingly argued that not only is their traditional knowledge to be recognized in the management of their traditional territories, but that Indigenous control and self-governance over territories and natural resources are crucial for long-term sustainability of the land and cultural revitalisation of its people. In recent years, the Saami in Sweden have also presented themselves as pathfinders, offering advice and solutions for a more sustainable future not only for the Saami society, but for all of Sweden. This paper investigates how Saami claims for rights and stewardship in environmental management are related to Saami cultural revitalisation, within a Swedish colonial framework. It is based on an investigation of the Saami policy positions expressed in policy documents and opinion pieces produced by organisations representing the Saami, linking claims for rights and environmental stewardship with cultural revitalisation and a more sustainable development for all.


Indigenous peoples; Saami people; traditional knowledge; biological diversity; revitalisation; Indigenous rights; pathfinders; stewardship; cultural heritage; resource extraction

Published in

2021, Volume: 13, number: 20, article number: 11195
Publisher: MDPI

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Swedish Biodiversity Centre

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Human Geography
    Environmental Sciences
    Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)