The case study and collection of data

2.2 Case study research and collection of data

As this dissertation has been written from Southern Norway, and the Coastal Sámi who would be affected by a potential oil spill in the Barents Sea live in the far Northern Norway it was necessary to contact the Coastal Sámi in a way that would reach out to as many potential informants that would be affected. Primarily I started out writing to the academic and research institutions working on Sámi related fields to learn where I could find potential informants. The first round included Centre for Sámi Studies at the University of Tromsø, Ministry for Labour and Social Inclusion as they work with integrating the Sámi population, Pitesami Centre, Research Centre for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences as they had a working group on Sámi, University of Lapland, University of Nordland and University of Tromsø. This was done in the middle of May and the responses I got lead me to contact all the municipalities in Northern Norway, which is where the Coastal Sámi population that will be affected lives. This was done in order to ask whether they could pass on information on potential Coastal Sámi inhabitants in their municipality that could be interested in participating in this study. However in Norway there is a concept called ‘fellesferien’ (the joint holiday) which is roughly 3-4 weeks, give or take, where the majority of Norway takes their main bulk of the summer holiday, and by the time I had received a few positive candidates to be interviewed, the interviews needed to happen on the other side of the joint holiday. Meanwhile I contacted Árran Lule Sámi Center, Aja Sámi Center, Isak Saba-Center, Sámi Language and Culture Center in Porsanger, Sámi Student Association in Tromsø, Varanger Sámi Museum, The Sámi Council and a few contacts I had been tipped of that were Coastal Sámi within The Sámi Parliament. This did not immediately give results either. I was advised by a contact in University of Nordland to contact the Sámis interest organizations, so I contacted the 24 different locally founded groups of Norske Samers Riksforbund (Norwegian Sámis Nation Association), and Bivdi, a Coastal Sámi interest organization for Coastal Sámi fishers, but responses were scarce. 

I then contacted all the municipalities again after the joint holiday, and rewrote to the education institutions University of Tromsø, University of Nordland and Sámi University College and asked the professors who taught Sámi related subjects if they would pass on a survey to their students who were Coastal Sámi. Then I contacted the 24 largest newspapers in Northern Norway and asked if they would put in a notification in their newspapers where I asked for participants for the study. 

Then the University of Tromsø, who had responded the second time I contacted them after the joint holiday that they could not pass on a survey to their students as I was not one of their students, re-decided as ‘even though I was not one of their students, I was working with a field belonging to University of Tromsø’ and soon after this was published I started receiving interested informants. 

2.3 Questionnaire 

This is the translated questionnaire sent out on a google docs sheet to my informants. The original questionnaire can be found in the appendix. 

Consequences for the Coastal Sámi of an Arctic oil spill in the South-East Barents Sea

This is a questionnaire in the occasion of my master that is to be submitted on the 30th of September. Therefore I would greatly appreciate all the answers I can receive, ideally as quickly as possible. Everyone above the age of 18 years old who identifies themselves as a Coastal Sámi/ Sea Sámi (just two Norwegian names meaning ‘Coastal Sámi’, which is the preferred name in this dissertation) is welcome to participate, as this is a research field I wish to contribute to and where there exists a need for more complementary information on how Coastal Sámi are affected by the oil industry. On beforehand the warmest thanks for participating! 

  1. What do the coast and the ocean mean for you and your livelihood? 
  2. Have you been following the debate regarding Norwegian oil exploration in the Arctic (recently around ‘Bjørnøya’=Bear Island) 
  3. What is your view on oil recovery in the South-East Barents Sea? 
  4. What consequences would an oil spill have for you and your close environment? 
  5. Has anyone informed specifically about the risks of an oil spill for you who live close to the South-East Barents Sea? 
  6. What thoughts do you have around a coexistence between the fishing industry and the oil industry; is it realistic? 
  7. If repeated oil spills were to occur in your close environment, would this be a reason to move? 
  8. Do you experience a great awareness in your local community around what an oil spill would mean for your close environment? 
  9. Are you familiar with the oil spill recovery situation of an oil spill where you live, and how long it would take from the oil spill until the emergency action was operative? 
  10. Have you participated politically in relation to the oil drilling in the South-East Barents Sea? 
  11. In your opinion, what would you say weighs more heavily in your local community: The ecosystem of the ocean, or a possible financial growth due to the oil recovery? 
  12. Are you familiar with the problems connected to gathering oil in ice covered waters, as next to the Ice Edge and the Polar Front? 
  13. Is there anything else about oil recovery in the South-East Barents Sea that engages you that has not been raise in the earlier questions?