Our project’s principle idea is to, through dialogue with relevant stakeholders, lay a foundation for a larger scale research project on the on-going effects that the Swedish hydropower expansion has on local Sámi communities.

This also involves other parts of the Swedish energy system of which hydropower is a central component. Through conversations with Sámi reindeer herding communities and Sámi associations in the area around the upper parts of the Ume River we have, together with the stakeholders, explored relevant research topics and research questions based on the stakeholders’ experiences of hydropower expansion.

A primary result of our study is that even though different Sámi groups and communities have different experiences of hydropower expansion, their experiences have most often been disregarded in earlier research projects that have primarily focused on local (non-Sámi) communities’ experiences of hydropower expansion. For example, using methods where different groups and communities are expected to meet and share experiences in the same room often silences those whose opinions and values differ from the majority’s. Thus we have held meetings with individuals or groups which has allowed stakeholders to share their opinions on what they think would be important issues to explore in a larger scale research project.

The picture by Åsa Össbo shows the Aavjaevrie/Ajaure powerhouse magazine when it is almost exhausted in April / May. Notice the steep, rocky beaches and the “ice caves” that occur when the water is emptied during the winter. For those who need to travel there, the ice conditions are often difficult and dangerous.

Project Leader/Participants: Åsa Össbo and Kristina Sehlin MacNeil, Umeå University
Start: 1 January 2017
End: 31 December 2017
Funding Structure: Seed Money Project: 372 000 SEK