The Nomadic Herders project is this week in Nairobi, Kenya at the UNEP (UN Environment Programme) headquarters. Project leaders and partners are attending the UNEA (United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA). UNEA is a result of the call made by world leaders at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in Brazil in June 2012, to strengthen and upgrade UNEP as the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda and by establishing universal membership in its Governing Council.
ICR Director Anders Oskal and Nomadic Herders project leader Professor Svein Mathiesen are in attendance and have held a number of meetings with relevant personnel including UNEP Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General Achim Steinar of the United Nations to discuss the challenges of how international sanctions effect the implementation of GEF-UNEP projects. The team also met with Dr Marieta Sakalian, program manager of the Nomadic Herders project in UNEP. A new brochure has been released for the event (see below). You can follow UNEA on their Youtube channel here.
Sámi scholar Ellen Inga Turi is defending her Phd on Friday, May 20 in Umeå, Sweden. Her work is groundbreaking and touches on the field of management, reindeer husbandry and traditional ecological knowledge.
The PhD is entitled “State Steering and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Reindeer Herding Governance: Cases from western Finnmark, Norway and Yamal, Russia”. Her Faculty Opponent is Professor Dietrich Soyez from the Department of Geography at University of Cologne, Germany. The thesis is part of the research project IPY EALÁT which has been coordinated by the Sami University of Applied Sciences and UArctic Ealát Institute within the International Reindeer Centre Husbandry in Kautokeino / Guovdageaidnu.
The area of investigation were in the Sami reindeer grazing area of West Finnmark in Norway and the Nenets reindeer grazing area in Yamal, Western Siberia, which are the largest reindeer herding areas in the world, both in terms of number of people and reindeer. In these areas there are certain similarities, but also major differences in terms such as political organization and management systems.
You can now see a large gallery of images from 17 May, Norwegian national day, celebrations held in Moscow this week. See all the photos here.
Fine traditional foods of reindeer met, frozen fish, reindeer fat, blood, cloudberries and more was served to 200 people on the grounds of the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow, presided over by Ambassador Leidulv Namtvedt.
The event was organized by the EALLU team nd the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry in partnership with the Embassy
As part of the reindeer meat seminar being held in the Embassy of Norway (see here for details) and tomorrows celebrations of Norway’s national day (Syttende mai) a short film has been made outlining the Arctic Council EALLU project and the course (“Conservation of Biodiversity in an Indigenous Perspective”), held under the EALLU project recently in Kautokeino, Norway.
Indigenous herders, herding organizations and business operators from the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the Yamal Nenets Autonomous Okrug, the Kola Peninsula and Finnmark in Norway have gathered in Moscow to participate in a seminar entitled “A Future Vision for the Reindeer Meat Industry: The role of new technologies and traditional knowledge”
The event is presented by the Arctic Council SDWG project EALLU: FOOD and INDIGENOUS YOUTH, Nosegcher (EALLU Sakha), RIEVDAN: Two Ways of Knowing and the Arctic Indigenous Peoples Culinary Institute and organized by the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry in collaboration with the Embassy of Norway in Moscow.
The event will be held on Monday, May 16th, in the grounds of the Norwegian Embassy which is in the Arbat district of Moscow, and where a lavvu has been erected.
Of course, the event precedes and is in tandem with the National Day of Norway, syttende mai (lit. “seventeenth May”). On the 17th May, up to 200 guests have been invited to celebrate Norway’s national day and the EALLU group will make reindeer meat from three reindeer from the Kola Peninsula, cloudberries from the Yamal Nenets Autonomous Okrug, smoked reindeer meat from Taymyr and fish from Yakutsk, in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).
Miessemánu: In northern Sámi language, the month of May is called Miessemánu, or ‘reindeer calf month’, and it is this time of year that the cycle of life continues in the world of reindeer herding. For reindeer and herders life starts anew across the Sámi area, as reindeer are not only giving birth to new calves but they are on the move, most particularly in Norway and Sweden.
In many districts, it is time to leave the winter pastures and travel overland to the summer pastures and reindeer and their herders are travelling over ancient and well worn migratory paths often to the coast, mainly by walking, sometimes by boat, and occasionally by truck to reach their summer pastures. It is also a dangerous time for reindeer – predators are on the move too, and reindeer calves are food for lynx, wolverine, eagles and some bears and wolves. Herders in Scandinavia can lose as many as half of the calves born to their animals, so it is of vigilance and a time for extended families to take part in watching and moving with the herd.
Thanks to ICR board member Roza Laptander for pointing out that Nenets people also have reindeer themed months in their language – April is the ‘false reindeer calving month’ (Сие ниць иры) and May is the reindeer calving month (Ты” ниць иры).
So here’s to Miessemánu, travel safely and watch out for the predators!
There was a good deal of media attention paid to the presence of over 30 students from around the world of reindeer herding in Kautokeino, Norway last month. Kautokeino of course is the largest centre of reindeer herding in the Sami area. TV 2 Norway made a short interview with DALAIJARGAL Gombo, a young Dukha student who was attending the Biological Diversity in course about why she was there and her hopes for the future challenges facing reindeer herding in Mongolia. She expressed faith that through collaboration with young herders from around the word, these challenges can be met. Watch the video here or below.
A unique Sami language calendar was launched last week in Kautokeino. Entitled ‘Boazojahki‘, it is a calendar that details the calendar year in terms of what it means for reindeer, reindeer herders and the work that must be done at the time of the year. Each month covers an enormous amount of information and insight into the cyclical and nature based world of reindeer husbandry.
The calendar is entirely in Sami language and is aimed primarily at children and youth but is of interest to all with an interest in reindeer herding. The author and creator is Karen Marie Eira Buljo.
Below are some pictures from the launch in Kautokeino. The calendar can be purchased here from the Sami language publisher Davvi Girji.
A ‘lavvu dialogue’ is a discussion that can take place either in a ‘lavvu‘ or in a lavvu like setting whereby all participants are seated in a circle on reindeer skins and are all equal participants in the dialogue and can share their voices in a collaborative non formal setting.
Today at the Parliament of Sakha Republic were held a press-conference with young reindeer herders – students of the UArctic EALAT Institute about their trip to Norway for 8j-100 education course on biodiversity and food culture traditional knowledge. Students just came back to their homelands, and they already were asked to have a press-conference with Yakutian mass-media. They shared their experience and still have a lot of impressions from the last two weeks in Norway.