Published: Dec. 23, 2019

Finland's Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson visited the University of Colorado Law School on Dec. 12 to discuss the situation of indigenous peoples in the U.S. with Colorado Law and CU Boulder faculty and community partners.

Finnish delegation at Colorado Law

Minister Henriksson (center right, in red) with members of her delegation, CU Boulder faculty, and community partners.

“We were delighted to welcome Minister Henriksson and her delegation to Colorado Law," said Kristen Carpenter, Council Tree Professor of Law and director of the American Indian Law Program at Colorado Law. "Minister Henriksson’s office had questions about key issues in federal Indian law, including the jurisdiction of tribal governments over their lands and members, the determination of identity and tribal citizenship, and programs for maintaining indigenous language and culture. We had a good conversation about some of the similarities and differences with regard to the Sami indigenous people in Finland.”

Minister Henriksson’s office contacted CU Boulder understanding that Boulder is a center for American Indian law and indigenous peoples’ human rights nationally, said Carpenter, who also serves as chair of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The delegation met with Dean S. James Anaya; Andrew Cowell, professor of linguistics and director of the Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies; Felicia Naranjo Martinez, executive director of the Colorado European Union Center of Excellence; Alexey Tskykarev, chair of the Center for Support of Indigenous Peoples and Civic Diplomacy and member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; and Danielle Lazore-Thompson, American Indian Law Program Fellow.

"Together with CU’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies, we helped arrange contacts with the Native American Rights Fund, as well as Right Relationship Boulder, an organization that fosters relationships with the Northern Arapaho tribe that is indigenous to this area," Carpenter said. "We also discussed opportunities for collaborations with Finnish universities regarding indigenous peoples’ issues in the future."

Minister Henriksson was accompanied by a delegation comprising Johanna Suurpää, Director General, Minister for Justice; Lisa Palm, Special Adviser, Minister for Justice; Marina Venäläinen, Ministerial Adviser, Minister for Justice; and Sirpa Nyberg, Minister Counselor, Embassy of Finland to the U.S.

Finnish delegation at Colorado Law