“Indigenous common struggles and strategies to face them”

Miss Corinna Casi1

1University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

In time of ecological crises, what do indigenous people, coming from different parts of the world, have in common? Can we identify strategies to face indigenous common struggles?


In order to reply to these questions, this paper will addressed common struggles in time of crises that several indigenous communities –e.g. Sami indigenous people and Aboriginal people of Australian- are facing globally for instance: climate change, industrialization and increase of tourism in indigenous lands. Another clear example is the fight against extractivism and its harmful consequences in indigenous lands. Some of the costs concern environmental pollution such as water, soil and air pollution which then affect negatively indigenous traditional ways of living, strictly connected with natural resources and healthy -meant as non-polluted- environmental conditions.


A possible strategy can be the building of coalitions among different communities of indigenous people, as a network where they can help, support each other and identify common solutions. A positive element stemming out of these common struggles is that indigenous people have started to fight their battles and to be on the front line in public protests. This process has empower them to re-appropriate of their own image, dismantling naïve and ideological images of indigenous people.


Corinna Casi

is a PhD student in Environmental Ethics at Helsinki University, Finland and a member of Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS).

In 2018, her article about the ecological value of the Barents Region was published as a contribution in Human and Societal Security in the Circumpolar Arctic: Local and Indigenous Communities (BRILL). In November 2018, she was guest lecturer at the University of Palermo, Italy. In the May 2017 her article, about the value of non- aesthetically beautiful natural spaces, was published by Aarhus University Press. She taught at Helsinki Summer School in 2018, 2017 and 2015.

The Swedish Sámi Parliament: Lessons for Institutional Design in Australia

Mr Harry Hobbs1

1University Of Technology Sydney, Haymarket, Australia

In the Uluru Statement from the Heart, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples ‘from all points of the southern sky’ gathered on the red dust of Mutitjulu to call for the establishment of a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous representative body that would advise Parliament on laws concerning Indigenous people. Although the Australian government rejected the proposal, the federal Labor Opposition has committed to holding a referendum on the First Nations Voice if it wins the 2019 election. Assuming a referendum is held and succeeds, focus will shift to questions of institutional design. In doing so, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will assess the record of past Indigenous representative bodies in Australia, as well as similar bodies across the globe. In this paper, I reflect on the experiences of the Swedish Sámi Parliament, a representative body for the Indigenous Sámi people who live in Sweden, which has operated since 1993. Significant distinctions exist between Swedish and Australian governance frameworks, political cultures, as well as the circumstances facing Sámi and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Nonetheless, the experience of the Swedish Sámi Parliament can offer some important lessons for structural design of a First Nations Voice.


Harry Hobbs is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney. His PhD explored whether an Indigenous representative body could empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with the capacity to have their voices heard in the processes of government. Prior to commencing his PhD, Harry worked as a Principal Research Officer in the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights. He has also worked as a Legal Research Officer at the High Court of Australia and in the ACT Human Rights Commission.

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