In defense of Dr. Erika Sarivaara

Pekka Sammallahti pekka.sammallahti at
Tue May 7 01:48:17 UTC 2013

Dear receivers,

While I strongly disapprove of sending this circular by people who  
seem to be unaware of what is going on on the ethnic and  
ethnopolitical scene in Finland, let me make known that a detailed  
review of Sarivaara's thesis will be presented.

Let me also make it known that Sarivaara has been a leading figure in  
the fight against Saami self-determination in Finland and that her  
thesis is constantly used as a weapon in this fight. It is thus  
appropriate to treat it also as a political document and deal with its  
inadequacies and absurdities such as "non-status Saami" by the way of  
ironic humor.

Pekka Sammallahti
PhD, Professor emeritus of Saami Language

Quoting Scheller Elisabeth <elisabeth.scheller at>:

> Dear Erika Sarivaara, members of the URA-list, and other research colleagues
> Over the last couple of weeks, we have been made familiar with the   
> content of some discussions on Prof. Pekka Sammallahti's Facebook   
> site concerning Dr. Erika Sarivaara and her PhD thesis   
> Statuksettomat saamelaiset   
> <> Paikantumisia saamelaisuuden rajoilla<> (2012). In general, Sammallahti's site is none of our business and way beyond our interest. However, the current discussions of Sarivaara and her work signal such a striking absence of common decency that we find it necessary to point out the   
> following:
> In case anyone forgot: Sarivaara's thesis has been evaluated by a   
> scientific commitee of competent people in her field of research,   
> and it was accepted. Obviously, Sammallahti and some of his Facebook  
>  friends find some aspects of Sarivaara's thesis problematic. That  
> is  not problematic at all. What is problematic though, is their  
> totally  disrespectful way of making fun of Sarivaara and her  
> research in a  semiofficial forum on the Internet. Even her mental  
> health has been  called into question.
> In fact, the comments on Prof. Sammallahti's Facebook site say   
> nothing at all about Erika Sarivaara. What they do say, is that some  
>  people who find themselves in front of the research field they   
> pursue, seem to lack: 1) social media competence, and 2) basic   
> understanding of research ethics.
> In the future, we hope that the important questions that our   
> colleague raises in her thesis will be discussed in the   
> professional, scientific, and, last but not least, respectful way   
> that Sarivaara, like any other researcher, deserves.
> Thanks.
> With kind regards,
> Elisabeth Scheller
> PhD Student in Saami sociolinguistics
> University of Tromsø
> elisabeth.scheller at<mailto:elisabeth.scheller at>
> Åse Mette Johansen
> PhD Student in Nordic languages
> University of Tromsø
> ase.mette.johansen at<mailto:ase.mette.johansen at>

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