Arctic indigeneity and gender amidst global change: Experiences, challenges, and prospects for research

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Geographic Perspectives on Women Specialty Group, Indigenous Peoples Specialty Group, Polar Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM (MDT)
Room: Iris, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Organizers: Vera Kuklina, Vera Solovyeva
Chairs: Jessica Graybill


Recent changes in geopolitical configurations; growing mobilities of people, goods, ideas; and the reality of climate change have variety of impacts on people and places. Indigenous groups are recognized as especially vulnerable (International Labor Organization, 2016) while simultaneously having expert knowledge on how environments and communities are impacted by climate changes (Krupnik & Jolly, 2002; Louis, 2007; Cruikshank, 2005; Comberti, 2016; Johnson, 2016). This dichotomy is especially evident in the Arctic and subarctic regions affected by extractive and infrastructural development, urbanization, environmental degradation, ethnic conflicts, cultural and spiritual heritage losses, broken relations between generations, and reduced "fate control", among other things. As noted by Shaw et al., 2006 and others, there is need for better engagement by geographers with the experiences of indigeneity to understand the experiences of indigenous and non-indigenous groups in the North.

The levels of vulnerability and resilience vary within indigenous groups of different regions, age, gender, class, and sexuality. The gendered aspect of global change in the North today has been noted in the "gender shift" (in Russia; Povoroznyuk et al., 2016), "female flight" (Hamilton & Seyfrit, 1994; Rasmussen, 2009), gendered employment mobilities (Walsh, Valestrand, Gerrard, & Aure, 2013), masculinization of the traditional activities (Rasmussen, 2009; Ulturgasheva, 2012), and related to processes of urbanization (Peters, 2006).

There are specific issues that make the focus of indigenous gendered studies especially relevant. First, in many indigenous communities, women take leading roles (Bodenhorn, 1990; Vinokurova et al., 2004; Larsen & Fondahl, 2015). Second, indigenous communities are often characterized by return migration (Huskey et al, 2004), that make their presence in the Arctic more likely permanent than those existing settler communities. Finally, with increased infrastructural development and communication technologies, better links with remote communities can make the last ones more vocal and visible in the urban and metropolitan centers of decision-making. To expand our awareness of emerging issues of indigenous communities and increase their resilience, we need more collaborative efforts as in academia and with remote communities.

We seek theoretically grounded and practically oriented discussion on how indigenous gendered studies could contribute and shape the academic understanding of the global changes in the North. Papers may address, but are not limited to, the following:

How do gendered differences among indigenous people affect our spatial perception, conceptualization, and action in the context of global changes?
What are the best ways of integrating indigenous and gender-specific knowledge with Western scientific methods?
How can indigenous researchers enhance dialogue among different members of local indigenous communities and global decision-makers to critically address the roles/rights ascribed for indigenous peopled that are gendered, age-ified, and regionalized?
How can critical, feminist, and indigenous methodologies contribute to indigenous gendered studies?


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Vera Kuklina*, Institute of Geography SB RAS, Olga Povoroznyuk, Institute for Cultural and Social Anthropology, University of Vienna/Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, RAS, Gertrude Saxinger, Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna & Austrian Polar Research Institute (APRI), Female railroad workers of the Baikal-Amur Mainline: engagement with the railroad infrastructure and remoteness in the North 16 10:00 AM
Presenter Vera Solovyeva*, George Mason University, Vera Kuklina, George Washington University, The role of women in building resilience to climate extremes in indigenous communities of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) 16 10:16 AM
Presenter Liliia Vinokurova*, , Rural Everyday Life in Yakutia: Gendered Space 16 10:32 AM
Presenter Marya Rozanova*, George Washington University; Russian State Hydrometeorological University; University of Northern Iowa (ARCTICenter), Changing Gender Roles in Communities-in-Transition in the Russian Arctic (Case Study from the Nenets Autonomous Okrug) 16 10:48 AM
Presenter Viktoriia Filippova*, , Lilia Vinokurova, The Institute for Humanities Research and Indigenous Studies of the North, Climate Change and Relocation: case of Kyllakh village of Yakutia 16 11:04 AM
Discussant Jessica Graybill Colgate University 20 11:20 AM

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