The Nordic Accociation for Canadian Studies

The Nordic Association for Canadian Studies (NACS), in co-operation with the Canadian Embassy, Kommunal og Regionaldepartementet; IMER and Maktutredningen organise a one-day multidisciplinary conference sponsored by NACS and Norges Forskningsråd, on:

Citizenship - self-government - self-determination: A comparison of Aboriginal peoples in Canada and Sami in Norway


Historically speaking, the process of nation building was marked by standardisation and assimilation. Peoples, groups and societies were incorporated into and gradually transformed into 'nationals', bearers of a common language and culture and history. In the last few decades this assimilationist logic has been challenged by aboriginal peoples and by immigrants. Those who became uprooted from or saw the demise of their cultures, traditions, languages, and ways of life have become increasingly vocal. They seek compensation for historical (and contemporary) ills and grievances and protection against social and cultural encroachments. States are faced with demands for recognition of difference and uniqueness, which might impinge on the role of other groups and individuals.

Democratic states have sought to respond to these challenges, through constitutional provisions, representative bodies, self-government rights, cultural rights and economic compensations. The concerns of aboriginal peoples as well as the responses to these raise fundamental questions pertaining to: justice and what constitute just solutions; acceptable and 'good' solutions; and practical and 'feasible' solutions in organisational and resource terms. Central questions pertain to: How to accommodate equality and equal treatment with protection and promotion of difference; individual rights vs. group-based and collective rights; and the role and relation between culture and law in identity formation.

Both Canada and Norway are interesting cases in this regard, as both countries have sought to develop solutions to the problems facing their aboriginal peoples. The Canadian debate is far more comprehensive than has the Norwegian been thus far. The Canadian debate focuses more on citizenship and self-government whereas the Norwegian debate is foremost focused on self-determination. The conferences will help clarify how salient these differences are. This multidisciplinary conference, which will feature representatives from aboriginal peoples, academics and policy-makers, is a follow-up on the multiculturalism conference that was held in Oslo and Bergen in March 2000. As such this conference is motivated by similar purposes. First, it is intended to shed light on the problems facing aboriginal peoples in Canada and Norway. Second, it will present and critically assess important aspects of the Canadian and Norwegian aboriginal policies, with emphasis on core issues and principles, as well as actual practice. Third, it is intended to help develop research links between Canadian and Norwegian researchers. Fourth, it is intended to spark debate on the Canadian and the Norwegian policies and what the two countries might learn from each other's experience. The purpose is more to raise questions and identify issues than to provide ready-made answers.
The conference features a set of prominent speakers who have critical insights and direct experience in dealing with these issues, in both Canada and Norway.
The conference is oriented to academics, students, policy-makers, aboriginal peoples, and representatives from NGOs, but is open to all.


08.30-09.15 Registration
09.15- 09.30 Opening remarks
09.30-10.15 Canadian aboriginal policy - citizenship and self-government, Shirley Serafini, Canadian ambassador to Norway
10.15-11.00 Norwegian Saami policy - a presentation, State Secretary, Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development
11.00-11.15 Coffee
11.15-12.00 Canadian aboriginal self-governance citizenship - from an aboriginal perspective. Paul Charant, legal conultant and former professor of law and Commissioner on the Royal Commission on Agoriginal Affairs and advisor to the UN
12.00-13.00 Lunch
13.00-13.45 Norwegian Saami policy - as seen from a Saami perspective, Svend Roald Nystø, President of the Saami Parliament
13.45-14.30 Citizens plus - reflections on Aboriginal self-government and the question of citizenship, Prof. Alan Cairns, UBC, emeritus
14.30-14.45 Coffee
14.45-15.30 The Saami and the question of self-determination and citizenship, Asbjørn Eide, Institute of Human Rights, University of Oslo
15.30-16.15 Canadian aboriginal self-governance - with focus on the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement, Renee Dupuis, Legal consultant and member of comission studying native land claims

Date: Monday November 5
Place: Auditoriet i R5-bygningen, Akersgata 59, Kommunal og Regionaldepartementet
Conference fee: NOK 100 (covers lunch and coffee)

Please register by November 1 to the Canadian Embassy, Eline Fjeldheim: 22995336, Conference registration is binding.

The conference fee can be paid in advance to the following account: 0540 08 32481 (NACS Norway) NACS Norway, co/John Erik Fossum, ARENA, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1143, 0317 Oslo. Mark the check/giro "Abor". It is also possible to pay at the conference.

Please come early as it may take some time to get into the building.
For more information contact Ass. Prof. John Erik Fossum, e-mail:, phone: 22854901.

Publisert 25. nov. 2010 13:52 - Sist endret 14. nov. 2013 12:08