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Values and rights of indigenous peoples


Admission requirements

BA (or equivalent) in Archaeology or another relevant discipline.


Article 13 of the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples urges against discrimination and marginalisation, and encourages protection of cultural heritage and other aspects of culture and tradition. In the core of this statement are freedom and dignity, intertwined with cultural values.
The first half of this course will investigate the current role of the UN and provide case studies exploring the relationship between development and its impact on heritage and lands issues. The second half will focus on different approaches to study and manage the archaeological and living heritage of indigenous peoples or of populations in the context of marginalisation, exploitation and discrimination (often referred to as “internal colonialism”).
A series of public meetings will be held in parallel with this course to contribute to the debate of values and right of peoples all over the world.

Course objectives

For MA-students:

  • Ability to understand the roles and relationships between governmental, inter-government (i.e. UN) and other bodies to enable students to work in UN/governmental/NGO/academic contexts;

  • Ability to engage in socially responsible discussion on rightower/stakeholder integration in development projects;

  • Ability to read critically and evaluate the role of heritage of indigenous peoples in human rights, conflicts and land rights;

  • Presenting relevant and innovative methods for transmitting knowledge to non-specialist audiences;

  • Improved ability to critically summarise and analyse articles (define author’s key arguments, pros and cons of the author’s opinion, etc.) through small written texts and oral speech;

  • Improve skills in searching for bibliographical sources and gathering relevant information to be shown in a PowerPoint presentation;

  • Ability to trigger and handle stimulating discussion.

For RMA-students, in addition to the above:

  • Ability to conduct original research with the support of innovative theoretical or methodological inquiries;

  • Acquisition of up-to-date knowledge on the research and debates in the archaeology and anthropology concerned with indigenous or native communities.


Course schedule details can be found in the MA time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar lectures;

  • Presentations.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 14×2 hours of lectures (2 ects);

  • 140 pages of literature (1 ects);

  • Project proposal of 1,800 words (1 ects);

  • 20 hours of practical work for making and giving 1 presentation (including attending fellow students’ presentations) (1 ects).

Assessment method

  • Critical literature reading and oral participation (20%);

  • Presentation (40%);

  • Project proposal (40%).

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the examination schedule.

Reading list

  • M.M. Bruchac, S.M. Hart & H.M. Wobst, Indigenous Archaeologies. A Reader on Decolonization. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press (2010);

  • S. Atalay, “Indigenous Archaeology as Decolonizing Practice” (2010) in: American Indian Quarterly vol. 30 (3/4): 280-310;

  • The ILO 169: Indigenous and Tribal Peoples’ Rights In Practice.


Registration for the course is not necessary, registration for the exam is mandatory. For instructions, see the Registration in uSis page.


For more information about this course, please contact mw. dr. S. Mire.