The Perspective of Former Pupils: Indigenous Children and Boarding Schools on the Kola Peninsula, 1960s to 1980s

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter examines the history of the Soviet boarding school system between the 1960s and the 1980s in Eastern Sápmi, based on materials created in a co-productive approach to oral history and a long-term fieldwork commitment. The testimonies show that schooling experiences were very heterogeneous in nature. Structural racism and the perpetuation of social hierarchies were dominant patterns in Lovozero, the ‘capital’ of the Russian Sámi. In Gremikha, another settlement with a boarding school, there was less segregation, which generally led to more positive school experiences. Boarding schools should not be seen as solely responsible for the widespread social despondency among both the parents and children of relocated families, but rather as connected to the preceding mass relocations and as an exacerbating factor. While negative experiences about the school system co-exist with positive ones, the stories show that pupils, parents and teachers could be both victims and agents at the same time.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSámi Educational History in a Comparative International Perspective
EditorsOtso Kortekangas, Pigga Keskitalo, Jukka Nyyssönen, Andrej Kotljarchuk, Merja Paksuniemi, David Sjögren
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-24112-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-24111-7
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book