Dr. Rauna Kuokkanen (Sámi) is research professor of Arctic Indigenous Studies at the University of Lapland (Finland) and adjunct professor at the University of Toronto. Prior to her current position, she was a professor of political science and Indigenous Studies at the University of Toronto. She is the author of three books, Reshaping the University: Responsibility, Indigenous Epistemes and the Logic of the Gift (2007), Boaris dego eana: Eamiálbmogiid diehtu, filosofiijat ja dutkan (in Sámi, translated title: As Old as the Earth. Indigenous Knowledge, Philosophies and Research, 2009), and award-winning Restructuring Relations: Indigenous Self-Determination, Governance and Gender (Oxford University Press, 2019). Her research focuses on comparative Indigenous politics, Indigenous feminist theory, governance, law and Nordic settler colonialism and has most recently published in Human Rights Review, Settler Colonial Studies and International Journal of Heritage Studies. Currently she leads the Siida School project, a community driven, collaborative project by Sámi scholars, artists and activists seeking to reclaim and reconstruct Siida practices that could operate as part of Sámi governance structures today.
Indigenous Self-Determination and Gender Justice
Indigenous self-determination is about restructuring relations of domination. Frequently framed as a quest and vision for justice and freedom, Indigenous self-determination typically has focused on gaining equal standing with other peoples. My research has demonstrated that the quest of Indigenous self-determination for justice and freedom must include gender justice. The imposition of colonial structures, including those of governance, have not only transformed gender relations in Indigenous communities but also instituted gender regimes in contemporary Indigenous political organizations comparable to those found in Western political structures. In my talk, I draw on my new book, Restructuring Relations: Indigenous Self-Determination, Governance and Gender to discuss the ways in which Indigenous women in Canada, Greenland and Scandinavia envision gender justice in their communities. These practices include protecting and upholding children, eliminating gender violence and rematriating Indigenous governance.