PRESS RELEASE ON THE OCCASION OF THE ARCTIC COUNCIL MINISTERIAL (Download as a PDF) April 24, 2015: Iqaluit, Canada
Reindeer Herding Youth Take Action on Arctic Change
Young Reindeer Herders Deliver Strong Message to Arctic Foreign Ministers at the 9th Arctic Council Ministerial in Canada
“For us, the reindeer is everything. If we lose the reindeer we lose our language, our culture, our traditions and the knowledge to move in the nature.”
[Participant at the EALLIN workshop in Jokkmokk, 2013]
A unique project called EALLIN involving reindeer herding youth from Russia, Finland, Sweden and Norway has delivered a 120-page report, executive summary and recommendations to the Artic Council Ministerial meeting in Canada today. More than 160 indigenous youth from multiple regions in Russia, Mongolia, Finland, Sweden and Norway participated in 12 community based workskops over four years. “EALLIN” means ‘life’ in the Sami language and the project was backed by Norway, the Russian Federation and the Saami Council. EALLIN calls attention to the serious challenges faced by young reindeer herders, such as mental health, a lack of appropriate education and a lack of participation in local community development.
Reindeer herding youth are the future of reindeer herding, and the strong message from engaged youth was that they wanted to continue herding reindeer, as it ‘a good life’. However, there are many issues and challenges that are making life ‘not so good’ everywhere where reindeer are herded. EALLIN brought young reindeer herders of the taiga and tundra together to bring their voices to the Arctic Council. Reindeer herdings youth in the Circumpolar North are on the frontlines of monitoring the rapid ongoing changes in the Arctic, therefore, their knowledge and skills are key for their future existence in their home pastures and territories.
“Our peoples are undergoing dramatic and historical changes in our homelands, changes that we have never seen in the millenia-old histories of the reindeer herding peoples of the north” states Arctic Council EALLIN Project Lead Dr Mikhail Pogodaev, the Executive Chair of Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH).
“We know enough about the changes to act”, concludes Anders Oskal, Project Co-Lead and Co-Author of the IPCC 5th Report. “We don’t need more assessments to understand, basically, we have to do things differently now if these societies and cultures are to survive and thrive under the Arctic boom – and bust”. And doing things differently is exactly what the EALLIN report calls for.
Delivered to Arctic Council: “Youth – The Future of Reindeer Herding Peoples – Executive Summary” and “Youth – The Future of Reindeer Herding Peoples”, Full Project Report 120 pages,
The office manager of the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry Mikkel Anders Kemi was recently in Inuvik for the 80th anniversary of the introduction of reindeer herding to Canada. Mikkel Anders is also a reindeer herder so he knows a thing or two about herding. While there, he strapped on a GoPro camera got on his snowmobile to assist in the annual migration of the Canadian herd which numbers some 3000 reindeer. CBC North have posted the video here which you can see below. CBC North also posted a longer article about the introduction of reindeer to Inuvik which you can read here.
Here's what it feels like to be a reindeer herder. Mikkel Kemi, a Saami from Norway, strapped a GoPro to his head while he was out on the tundra outside Tuktoyaktuk. Thanks Kemi and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation for sharing this video. Full story: cbc.ca/1.3014151
Arctic Academy in Korea in August 17-22, 2015 call for student nominations
Mar 31, 2015 01:04 pm
UArctic and the Korea Maritime Institute (KMI) are pleased to announce an opportunity for students from UArctic member institutions to participate in a pilot of the Arctic Academy in Korea – a one-week study program in August 17 -22, 2015 at KMI together with students from Korean universities.
Reindeer herders were invited to Inuvik by Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of Canadian Reindeer Husbandry, where they can also share their experience in reindeer herding and food culture, and present exhibition in traditional handicraft.
Many might consider reindeer herding to be some kind of idyllic life. But it has its darker side. Anxiety, depression and the struggle for land are eroding the powers and vitality of young herders, and this appears to be particularly the case in Sweden at the present time, though anecdotally it is known that this is a challenge for young people across the world of reindeer husbandry. In Sweden, 1 in 3 young herders (18-29) have considered suicide.
Three excellent articles in NRK Sapmi by Liv Inger Somby this last week on this difficult topic. The first is an interview with Petter Stoor, a Sami psychologist who works at SANKS (Samisk nasjonalt kompetansesenter – psykisk helsevern go rus), based in Karasjok, Norway. SANKS is now the only institution in the Nordic countries that has expertise in culturally adapted suicide prevention among Sami, including culturally and linguistically adapted clinical psychiatry. Stoor stated in the article
There are complex reasons [for suicide]. Reindeer herding is a confrontational environment on many different levels. Everyday is very tough with the struggle for land. Constantly one has to fight in order to operate a profitable pastoralism. The range is huge and very complex, ranging from external to internal conflicts and family problems, which can lead to the youth gets tough in everyday life. Many feel their situation as heavy, they cannot mastered their defeats.
The Canadian Ambassador to Finland, Andrée N. Cooligan took the opportunity of a work trip to Hetta to hop over the border to visit the offices of the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR). Her visit coincided with the visit to ICR of the Director General of The Department of Sami and Minority Affairs, Bjørn Olav Megard. This visit coincidentally followed Ambassador Cooligans’ visit to the University of Lapland where she met with the Rector, Mauri Ylä-Kotola, who is a new member of the ICR Board.
The Department of Sami and Minority Affairs has chief responsibility for formulating and coordinating the state’s policies towards the Sami population and the national minorities.
Canada is the outgoing chair of the Arctic Council and plans are afoot to present the final ICR/WRH EALLIN deliveries to the upcoming Arctic Council Ministerial in Iqaluit next month, the future EALLU project and ICR were able to inform the Ambassador about the work of ICR and the Association of World Reindeer Herders and discuss plans for the upcoming 80th anniversary of reindeer herding in Canada, in Inuvik.
Inger Anita Smuk (ICR Board Chair), Anders Oskal (ICR Director), Ambassador Cooligan, Bjørn Olav Megard (Dir Gen Dept Sami and Minority Affairs).
Here at the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry we have a lively Facebook Page and we have almost reached a social media milestone: 1000 ‘Friends’ on Facebook. To help push us up to the magical number, we are offering our 1000th Friend on Facebook a fantastic prize – a copy of the book ‘EALLIN – Youth the Future of Reindeer Herding Peoples’ and a copy of the book ‘EALÁT. Reindeer Herders Voice: Reindeer Herding, Traditional Knowledge and Adaptation to Climate Change and Loss of Grazing Lands’ mailed to wherever you are in the world..Pass the word on and help us reach our goal! Visit our Facebook page here
(Pic: Arctic Council) Some excellent news from the Arctic Council Senior Arctic Officials which was the fourth and final meeting during Canada’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, in Whitehorse, Yukon. At this meeting, the EALLIN full report and Executive Summary were approved for delivery to the April 24-25, 2015 Iqaluit Ministerial.
In especially exciting news for the future, the EALLU project has been formally endorsed. The working title is EALLU: Arctic Indigenous Youth, Climate Change and Food Culture. The project is to be lead by Norway, Russia and the Saami Council. The project leader will be ICR Director Anders Oskal and co leaders include Mikhail Pogodaev, Exec. Chair of WRH, Mr. Tom Grey, President of Kawerak Reindeer Herders’ Association, Alaska and many others. EALLU will run four years and carry into the next chairmanship of the Arctic Council which is the U.S.
The societal goal of EALLU is to maintain and further develop a sustainable and resilient reindeer husbandry in the Arctic in face of climate change and globalisation, working towards a vision of creating a better life for circumpolar reindeer herders. EALLU is a Sami word, central to the concept of reindeer husbandry, and means ‘herd’. EALLU will build on the previous Arctic Council SDWG projects EALAT Information and EALLIN coordinated by the ICR and WRH which have done so much to bring reindeer herders voices’ to such a high level and engaged and energized scores of young reindeer herders from across the Arctic.
Drones are appearing all over the place these days, it is probably only a matter of time before the larger ones become more stringently regulated. In the meantime, here is a nice video made by a drone, of the ‘Reindeer Herders Day’ in Iengra (which took place last week) in the Republic of Sakha Yakutia, Russia. Iengra is nearly 900 km of the regions’ capital Yakutsk. Many Evenki and Eveny herders live in and around the village, and herders from here are part of the Nomadic Herders project.
Reindeer Herders’ days occur all over Russia at this time of year and are a celebration of the profession of reindeer herding and usually there are reindeer races, various competitions, ceremonies and more.
Mikhail Pogodaev, the Executive Chair of the Association of World Reindeer Herders has been nominated to be Executive Director of the Northern Forum. Pogodaev is Even and was raised in a reindeer herding family in Topolinoe, in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). Pogodaev has been engaged in cooperation across the north between reindeer herding peoples since he was young, following in the footsteps of his mother, Maria Pogodaeva who played an important role in the early history and establishment of the Association of World Reindeer Herders after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
This is a period of change for the Northern Forum and it is an exciting prospect that an indigenous person from reindeer husbandry could be selected to steer the organization through an exciting, but intensely challenging time in the North generally, and in small rural communities in particular.
You can read why ICR and WRH both thought to recommend Pogodaev to this position here and below: