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Research Arctic Centre

Seminar: Indigenous heritage in the Arctic

When:We 25-10-2023 15:00 - 16:00
Where:Aweg 30 Groningen - room 214 and online

We would like to invite you to the seminar on indigenous heritage in the Arctic organised by the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen.

For online participation, please use this link:


15:00 Welcome by Annette Scheepstra (Arctic Centre, Groningen)

15:05 Presentation by Anna Mossolova (Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo)

15:25 Presentation by Sean Desjardins (Arctic Centre, Groningen)

15:40 Discussion and Q&A led by Cunera Buijs (National Museum of World Cultures)

16:00 End

Anna Mossolova holds a postdoctoral research position at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo. Her research project is entitled Collaborative Methodologies for Multivocality in Post-Repatriation Research. Since 2015, Anna has been involved in the community-based archaeology project in Quinhagak, southwest Alaska. The archaeological site called Nunalleq (1400-1675 AD), as many other sites in the Arctic, was locked in permafrost for over five centuries but started thawing rapidly due to climate change. The community of 700 people together with archaeologists from all over the world has been working hard to rescue their heritage. In 2018, the village founded a local museum to oversee the Nunalleq collection: as of today, 100,000 artefacts recovered from the site constitute the largest collection of Yup’ik cultural heritage. The research programme of Anna's postdoctoral project is drawn on a trusted partnership and prior consultations with Indigenous research partners in Quinhagak. It rests upon collaborative methodologies in the design, implementation, and dissemination of outcomes. This research and its practical outcomes will contribute to the decolonising agenda of archaeology, anthropology, and museology by advancing and expanding the range of collaborative methods to study and protect Indigenous cultural heritage.

Sean Desjardins is an assistant professor of Anthropological Archaeology at the Arctic Centre, Faculty of Arts. He is in the Canadian Arctic researching the Inuit past in close collaboration with the Inuit community. He charts their traditional knowledge, integrating it with Western science and technology so that the Inuit, in addition to their own know-how, have additional tools to advocate for their interests to governments and other policymakers. ‘Any study of the Inuit past must prioritize their interests.’

Cunera Buijs (Netherlands) is anthropologist and curator of the Arctic of the National Museum of World Cultures and connected to the Research Center for Material Culture in Leiden, Netherlands. Within the broader research interest of Indigenous peoples, her main research and extensive fieldwork in East Greenland deals with identity formation and representations, ownership and digital sharing, material culture, climate change, clothing and fashion in Inuit society (PhD-thesis Leiden University 2004). She organized research, many exhibitions and community projects in East Greenland, for example 'Greenlanders will have their photographs back, the Roots to Share Project', 'Healing Power: Living Traditions, Global Interactions', co-edited and co-curated by Wouter Welling (2021). Issues of representation, Indigeneity and decolonisation and Indigenous partnerships were central in 'People, Places, and Practices in the Arctic', co-edited by Kim van Dam and Frédéric Laugrand, Routledge, 2023. Cunera is an associate partner in the recently started international research project 'Arctic Heritage: Commodification, Identity, and Revitalisation in the Anthropocene'.

Annette Scheepstra works at the Arctic Centre in Groningen. She is part of the so-called CO-CREATE Network - a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous, academic and non-academic researchers, activists, and community members from the Arctic and European research institutions. The network works together to improve research relationships across ways of knowing in Arctic research, which often still operates within a framework embedded in colonial structures and methodologies.