Gender in the Arctic

IASSA Working Group


 

Gender in the Arctic WORKSHOP

The “IASSA Working Group Gender in the Arctic” hosted an IASC-SHWG funded workshop on 6th of September 2018 in Oulu/Finland.

 

Queering Indigeneity:

Indigenous Queer Intersections in the Arctic

Workshop Report

Paper abstracts - see below

 

In the Arctic, queer identities and issues are rarely discussed in public, especially in Indigenous communities. Besides the common heteronormative discrimination in society, many Indigenous queer individuals are ostracized in their communities and as the result, relocate to more urban settings. The workshop examines these experiences and practices from both an academic and activist perspective. It presents Indigenous perspectives on queerness and interrogates assumptions of Indigenous heteronormativity. The workshop consists of three sessions: an academic panel on queer Indigenous studies, an activist panel on queer Indigenous experiences and reflections and a concluding academic-activist round table discussing the future prospects and challenges of queering Indigeneity and the need for queer Indigenous studies in the Arctic.

 

Session One: Academic Panel  
Participants: Maureen P. Hogan, Katariina Kyrölä, Stephan Dudeck, Ryan Jimmy and Ranjan Datta, Rauna Kuokkanen
Chair: Gertrude Saxinger

 

Session Two: Activism Panel  
Participants: Kyle Shaughnessy, Stina Roos, Alexandria Wilson, Vivan Boyne (on behalf of Mikkel E. Mikkelsen)
Chair: Rauna Kuokkanen
 

Panel Discussion
Participants: Ryan Jimmy, Rauna Kuokkanen, Anne Olli, Stina Roos, Kyle Shaughnessy
Chair: J. Otto Habeck

 

Summary of the Panel Discussion
The Chair opened the panel discussion with a short summary of topics discussed during the two morning sessions (colonial experience; commodification of queerness/ indigenous cultural heritage; the interface of research and activism). Panellists and other workshop participants started from necessity of research on the intersectionality of queer and Indigenous and the advantages of indigenous persons conducting research on their own community. They entered then a more general discussion about research ethics: the legitimacy of researchers to study "others"; participatory research as a way forward that nonetheless also entails certain practical and ethical challenges; and the positionality of researchers. Subsequently, the discussion moved to the topic of research impact – not necessarily in the academic sense, but rather in terms of the relevance for the communities, groups and individuals "under study". Some activists among the panellists stated that mental well-being is a topic of immediate relevance, worth to be studied for the urgent need to be practically addressed. Others added that violence, suicide and other forms of (self-) harming behaviour need to be addressed. There already are projects and initiatives to address these issues, but much more needs to be done, also in order to overcome queer indigenous persons' feelings of being isolated and powerless. While ongoing research initiatives have a focus on negative phenomena, queer Indigenous perspectives and experiences should not be exclusively interpreted as problematic: different disciplines of social sciences and humanities should also explore connotations of self-esteem and supportive forms of relatedness when studying queer indigeneity.

In the earlier sessions, there were repeated remarks about Indigenous conceptualisations of gender that differ from binary and heteronormative views on gender emanating from colonial regimes. However, as discussants pointed out, it is impossible to simply ignore or "undo" colonial discourses and influences; rather, it is necessary to acknowledge their impact and take them as points of departure to strengthen, revive and recreate Indigenous and queer forms of self-determination and social relations differing from dominant heteronormative ones. This also implies, as one participant stated, a stronger self-reflexivity of "white" researchers about the ways how colonial relations have shaped their own positions (drawing on Critical Whiteness scholarships). In addition, non-Indigenous researchers should engage more seriously with Indigenous epistemologies.

Final remarks of the panel discussion pointed at the quickly growing interest in the intersection of queer and Indigenous experience, but also emphasized that discussions on this topic is still subject to silencing and stigma in many scientific, regional and social settings. There was general agreement of participants and the audience that the topics raised entailed emotional responses, bringing up personal memories about difficult situations and simultaneously providing encouragement.

 

 

 

Furthermore, future activities of the IASSA Working Group Gender in the Arctic were discussed. Potential topics for next workshops may include: additional aspects of intersectionality, creativity and arts, masculinity, mental well-being or security. More ideas and broad discussions are welcome and can be posted on: gender-arctic@lists.univie.ac.at

 

Register as WG/list-member: lists.univie.ac.at/mailman/listinfo/gender-arctic

 

If you want to list your gender-related activities and institutions on the website of the IASSA WG Gender in the Arctic send a note: gender-arctic.jimdo.com/gia-network

 

 

Queering Indigeneity:

Indigenous Queer Intersections in the Arctic

Programm

 

Abstracts

 

The “IASSA Working Group Gender in the Arctic” (gender-arctic.jimdo.com) hosts an IASC-SHWG funded workshop on 6th of September 2018 in Oulu/Finland as a side meeting to the UArctic Congress. 

 

In the Arctic, queer identities and issues are rarely discussed in public, especially in Indigenous communities. Besides the common heteronormative discrimination in society, many Indigenous queer individuals are ostracized in their communities and as the result, relocate to more urban settings. The workshop examines these experiences and practices from both an academic and activist perspective. It presents Indigenous perspectives on queerness and interrogates assumptions of Indigenous heteronormativity. The workshop consists of three sessions: an academic panel on queer Indigenous studies, an activist panel on queer Indigenous experiences and reflections and a concluding academic-activist round table discussing the future prospects and challenges of queering Indigeneity and the need for queer Indigenous studies in the Arctic.

 

IASC provides (partial) funding for travels of activists, early career researchers and others without institutional affiliation/funding. 

Organisers: IASSA Working Group Gender in the Arctic gender-arctic.jimdo.com

 

Program

 

Place: IT115, University of Oulu

 

8:30 get together

 

9:00-10:30          Academic Panel

 

Chair: Gertrude Saxinger

 

Emerging visibility of Alaska Native LGBTQ(+) voices on the Internet

Dr. Maureen P. Hogan, Professor of Education and Women’s and Gender Studies,

University of Alaska Fairbanks, US

 

Queering Indigeneity in Nordic Popular Culture: Media, Nature, Sexuality

Dr. Katariina Kyrölä, Lecturer, Gender Studies, Åbo Akademi University, FI

 

An archaeology of research in queer indigenous existences in Siberia

Dr. Stephan Dudeck, Senior Researcher University of Lapland, FI & European University at St. Petersburg, RF


Acknowledging existence as a necessity for reconciliation: Two spirit people, homelessness and access to services in urban centres in Saskatchewan, Canada

Dr. Ranjan Datta, and Ryan Jimmy, Aboriginal Education Research Centre (AERC), University of Saskatchewan, CAN

 

Queering Indigenous self-determination in the Arctic

Rauna Kuokkanen, Professor, Arctic Indigenous Politics, University of Lapland, FI

 

 

10:30-11:00        Coffee Break

 

11:00-12:30        Activism Panel

 

Chair: Rauna Kuokkanen

 

Teaching Two-Spirit: Decolonizing Gender Diversity Education

Kyle Shaughnessy, social worker and MSW student at Dalhousie University, CAN

 

Decolonizing Queerness – indigenous queer realities

Stina Roos, MA in Design from Uni Lapland, FI

 

Coming In: Cree cosmology, gender and sexual diversity

Alexandria Wilson, professor, Department of Educational Foundations and the Academic Director of the Aboriginal Education Research Centre at the University of Saskatchewan, CAN

 

Possibilities and challenges working towards indigenous queer politics

Mikkel Eskil Mikkelsen, Member of the Executive Council in the Sami Parliament in Norway

 

12:30-13:30 Lunch break

 

13:30-14:30 Panel discussion

Chair: Joachim Otto Habeck

Activism and Science: How can we cooperate? How can we learn from each other and push matters forward?

With: Alexandria Wilson, Mikkel Eskil Mikkelsen, Kyle Shaughnessy

 

14:30-15:00

Outlook and joint discussion of future focuses of the IASSA Working Group Gender in the Arctic. Invitation to participate in the steering commitee.

 



    Tackling the “gender gap” 

New IASSA Working Group Gender in the Arctic (GIA WG)

 

During the Ninth International Conference on Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS IX) in Umea/Sweden the new IASSA Working Group on “Gender in the Arctic” will be launched.

The “GIA WG” will kick-off with a roundtable discussion on 9th of June 2017 where the relevance and state of the art in Arctic Gender and Intersectionality Studies will be addressed. This discussion follows the official launch of the Working Group where future activities and modes of boosting the theme in Arctic research are going to be discussed. Everyone who is interested to contribute and participate is warmly welcome to this kick-off. 

 

ICASS IX - gender related events

8th of June: Toward a gender equal sustainable human developement in the Arctic. session chair: Eva-Maria Svensson

9th of June: The invisibility of gender. session chair: Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv

9th of June: Roundtable: Gender in the Arctic. chair: J. Otto Habeck and Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv