Indigenous peoples’ technical innovations: Promoting, Developing and Brand protecting

How can Indigenous/Sámi peoples’ technical innovations be promoted and developed, and how can the brand protection for Sámi handicraft be developed and expanded to encompass the technology innovation sector? In this project we depart on the one hand from experiences within what was initially entirely a Sámi company, today known as Tannak International AB, and the innovation of a unique animal tracking system for remote areas and under extreme weather conditions. The work started in 2002, on the Swedish side of Sábme – Jåhkåmåkke - by the female reindeer herders and innovators Karin Kuoljok and Susanne Spik, Sirges Sámi village, and development is still ongoing. With these experiences, a study of how to support and protect Indigenous technical innovation is currently undertaken.

With this as the backdrop we analyze the development work within the company (Tannak) as it expands into the global market, and how United Nations and other platforms may support the work. We look into the Study of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples  ”Good practices and challenges, including discrimination, in business and in access to financial services by indigenous peoples, in particular indigenous women and indigenous persons with disabilities”.

Questions asked are: How can a company such as Tannak set a good example? What is needed to support good practices in regard to Indigenous communities? What are the pitfalls and potentials?

Here is a video from the early period of the innovation project.

Project managers: Susanne Spik and Karin Kuoljok