Bivdit Luosa – To Ask for Salmon. Saami Traditional Knowledge on Salmon and the River Deatnu: In Research and Decision-making
Summers in the Deatnu valley revolve around salmon. For the indigenous Saami people, wild Atlantic salmon is a fundamental aspect of culture and self-sufficiency. In the traditional Saami culture, salmon cannot be ‘taken’, it must be ‘asked for’. Today, in order to maintain these relations to salmon, the Saami must ask for the permission from the state authorities of Norway and Finland, who despite of strong Saami opposition, impose harsh restrictions on traditional Saami fishing especially. This thesis is about Saami traditional knowledge (TK) on the salmon, as a part of the ecosystem, and the role of this knowledge in research and management. Saami knowledge consisting of centuries of observations highlights various changes in the environment to explain fluctuations in salmon stocks. The fish biologists informing state authorities consider TK as merely a source of data, not as a knowledge system, breaking it down to examine each concern individually – and concluding that none of the factors TK holders raise are causing a decline in salmon stocks, leaving overexploitation as the only remarkable factor. As the states consider the Saami right to self-determination fulfilled with a hearing or a consultation process, the result is that traditional Saami fishing is strongly limited – thus threatening the continuation of traditional knowledge.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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