Europe

Laponian Area, Sweden

Source: Book, World Heritage Sites and Indigenous Peoples Rights

Laponia is one of the few “mixed” World Heritage sites, designated as having “outstanding universal value” based on both natural criteria, and on the Sami indigenous culture. This recognition of indigenous culture and its ties with nature is a triumph for  indigenous peoples, but there is still much to be done. This case demonstrates that while indigenous peoples may make great strides and gain large support at the international level, change is more difficult to implement practically in national settings. To illustrate, leading up to the inscription, the Sami were consulted but their influence was not as strong as that of local authorities. Only through difficult, determined, activism, the Sani did manage to achieve most of what they hoped for. Ultimately, this example represents the importance of international and local recognition as well, an issue the IIPFWH aims to strengthen.