© 2017

Experiencing and Protecting Sacred Natural Sites of Sámi and other Indigenous Peoples

The Sacred Arctic

  • Leena Heinämäki
  • Thora Martina Herrmann
  • Examines the role of international human rights, environmental law, and longstanding customary law that uphold Sámi’s rights in conservation, and their associated management systems

  • Improves understanding of the complex interlinkages between indigenous knowledge, spiritual beliefs, cultural identity, nature conservation, and the law in the circumpolar north

  • Key conceptual topics are linked to case studies from across the Circumpolar region, guiding the reader through concepts of fundamental theory and beliefs to practical applications and policy practical situations


Part of the Springer Polar Sciences book series (SPPS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vi
  2. Recognition of Sacred Sites of Arctic Indigenous Peoples in Customary Rights, International and National Law, Institutions, Policy and Protocols

  3. Intangible Cultural Heritage Connected to Sacred Sites of Arctic Indigenous Peoples

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 99-99
    2. Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi, Pekka Kauppala
      Pages 117-128
    3. Stephan Dudeck, Aleksei Anatol’evich Rud’, Rudolf Havelka, Nikolai Mikhailovich Terebikhin, Marina Nikolaevna Melyutina
      Pages 159-180

About this book


This book focuses specifically on the experience and protection of indigenous, and particularly Sámi sacred sites in the Arctic. Sacred sites are being increasingly recognized as important reservoirs of Arctic cultural and biological diversity, as a means for the transmission of culture and identity, and a tool for the preservation of fragile northern social-ecological systems. Yet, legal protection of Arctic sacred sites and related policies are often still lacking or absent. It becomes increasingly difficult for site custodians in the Arctic to protect these ancient sites, due to disruptive changes, such as climate change, economic developments and infrastructural development.

With contributions from Sámi and non-Sámi scholars from Arctic regions, this book provides new insights into our understanding of the significance and legal protection of sacred sites for Sámi of the Arctic. It examines the role of international human rights, environmental law, and longstanding customary law that uphold Arctic indigenous peoples’ rights in conservation, and their associated management systems. It also demonstrates the complex relationships between indigenous knowledge, cultural/spiritual values and belief systems and nature conservation. The book looks forward to providing guidelines for future research and practice for improved integration of the ethical, cultural and spiritual values of nature into law, policy, planning and management. As such, this book offers a contribution to upholding the sanctity of these sites, their cultural identity and the biodiversity associated with them.


Arctic Cultural Diversity Circumpolar North Indigenous People Indigenous Knowledge Sacred Landscapes Transmission of Identity Legal Protection

Editors and affiliations

  • Leena Heinämäki
    • 1
  • Thora Martina Herrmann
    • 2
  1. 1.Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law (NIEM), Arctic CentreUniversity of LaplandRovaniemiFinland
  2. 2.Département de géographieUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada

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