The “Lapland – Tracing the Sami of Finland” seminar in the theater Claude Lévi-Strauss at musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac will offer a large number of discussions about the Samis, the only indigenous people of Europe, and their cultural heritage, identity and mystical shamanism. The seminar will include three thematically separated round tables with Finnish, Sami and French speakers. More information about the programme.

12pm-1.30pm 1st round table discussion: Sami cultural heritage and its preservation in modern society

Veli-Pekka Lehtola is a Sami culture’s professor at the Giellagas Institute at the University of Oulu. He is a Sami from Inari. Lehtola has published several books about Sami’s culture and history. He is specialised in Sami history and Lapland, modern art and development of the Sami image. Lehtola is in charge of two projects for the Academy of Finland. In 2016 he became a member of the Finnish scientific academy. In 2011 he got a prize for his high quality literary production.

Marie Roué is an anthropologist and a research director at the National Center for the Scientific Research (CNRS). She specializes in Arctic and Subarctic peoples and their relationship with nature. After having done research in Lapland among the Sami reindeer-herds from Northern Norway (1969-80), she has worked with the Inuit in Canada (1979-91), with the James Bay Cree Indians (Quebec, 1994-2002), and finally with the Sami of Northern Norway and Sweden from 2005 onwards. Her research is focused on indigenous and local knowledge, as well as on epistemology of local and scientific knowledge.

Stéphanie Stoll is a member of the parent-teacher association for Diwan’s school and college in Brittany and since May 2015 she is the president of the Diwan School Network. Since 1977, Diwal schools, free and secular, bring bilingual education in Breton.


2.45pm-4.15pm 2nd round table discussion: What does it mean to be a Sami in today´s society?

Doctor of social sciences Sanna Valkonen is an associate professor of Sámi research at the University of Lapland and an adjunct professor (docent) of the University of Oulu. Currently Valkonen is working in her Academy of Finland funded postdoctoral researcher project.

Anne Nuorgam is Sami Finnish  politician and researcher at the University of Lapland. She is a member of United Nations Permanent Forum of Indigenous Peoples for the period 2017-2019.


Vesa Puuronen is a Finnish sociologist and politician of the Left Alliance. At the moment he is a professor of sociology at the University of Oulu.


4.30pm-5.30pm 3rd round table discussion: Shamanism and symbolism of the noaïdi drums

Francis Joy is english and lives in Rovaniemi, which is in northern Finland, where he works with the small Sámi research team at the University of Lapland Arctic Centre and Faculty of Art and design. Since 2002, Francis has undertaken extensive research into Sámi religion with a primary focus on the fields of shamanism and cosmology, which are portrayed through both prehistoric rock art and the art depicted on the Sámi noaidi (shaman) drums from the 17th and 18th centuries, which originate from within Sápmi.

Olivier Truc is a French journalist and writer: He lives in Stockholm and works as a press correspondent of the newspaper Le Monde for the Nordics and Baltics countries. He has also written the award winning crime novel Le Dernier Lapon.

Jean-Michel Geneste is a French archeologist, specialized in Paleolithic era. He has been awarded with the highest and most prestigious professional award from the French Minister of Culture: Conservateur Général du Patrimoine ans is also associated member of UMR of CNRS PACEA and EDYTEM. Since his long career, he has worked as an archeological director of the Lascaux caves, researcher for many universities and research centers. He has also directed many scientific projects at the international level.

Photo Sami Parliament: Vesa Toppari / Yle