Discussing Reindeer Husbandry During First Indigenous Youth Forum in Yakutia
Today the Suglan Indigenous Youth Forum wrapped up in Yakutsk (Sakha Republic, Russia). Indigenous youth of Yakutia decided to name their first indigenous forum Suglan, which means “gathering” in one of the five indigenous languages of Yakutia – in Evenki language. The Suglan started its work on Wednesday, March 23, and was organized by the Yakutian State Committee of Peoples Affairs, Indigenous Youth Council of the North and the Far East of Russia and by the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Yakutia. The Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH) and International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR) also participated in organizing and moderating one of the Suglan session which concerned reindeer husbandry and reindeer herding youth.
The first indigenous youth forum Suglan gathered 45 young participants which were representing 18 districts inhabited by the five indigenous peoples of Sakha Republic Yakutia – Evenks, Evens, Chukchis, Dolgans and Yukagirs. There were also 5 indigenous students from other regions of Russia.
The Suglan youth decided to divide their program on 5 different sessions, which they thought were most important to work with and discuss: 1) Indigenous Languages and Cultures 2) Entrepreneurship 3) Healthy Lifestyle and Traditions 4) Reindeer Husbandry 5) Patriotism
Each session had its moderators and experts. All together indigenous youth invited 32 different experts for Suglan sessions.
Alena Gerasimova and Svetlana Avelova from International Centre of Reindeer Husbandry organized session about Reindeer Herding Youth on March 24. Special experts for this session were the Chair of the Board of the Association of World Reindeer Herders Mikhail Pogodaev, the head of Agricultural Department at the Yakutian State Committee of Arctic Affairs Innokentiy Balanov and reindeer herder, head of his brigade Ivan Tuprin. By introducing world reindeer husbandry to young participants and presenting different projects that were and are held by the WRH and ICR, Mikhail Pogodaev discussed main challenges that reindeer herders from all over the Arctic face today and what can be done to contribute and develop reindeer husbandry. The Suglan participants were very eager to learn new facts about reindeer herding from other regions and countries, and also efficiently participated in discussions. Due to time that was running fast, participants of this session could not consider all of the challenges and issues connected with herders and reindeers, but it seems that the most sore subjects to discuss were reindeer herders’ income and private reindeer herding.
Indigenous youth of Yakutia also received video greetings from Nechei Serotetto, reindeer herder from Yamal Nenets Autonomous Okrug who is a student at Institute of Indigenous Peoples of the North at Herzen University. She is now in Kautokeino (Norway), studying Saami language and working on her master thesis about comparing Saami and Nenets terminology on slaughtering reindeer at the Saami University College.
ICR project coordinator Svetlana Avelova made presentation about Nosegcher project on reindeer herding youth, traditional knowledge and food culture. She described Nosegher seminars that were also organized together with the Arctic Council project on food culture, which called EALLU, and were held in Yakutia, Saint-Petersburg and Norway. WRH Council Member Alena Gerasimova shared her experience from participating in the work of EALLIN about bringing the voice of young reindeer herders to the Arctic Council.
And today the Suglan Youth Forum had closing ceremony at the Parliament House (Il Tumen) of Sakha Republic Yakutia. Young participants agreed on their first resolution, created Youth Council under the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Yakutia and selected their new leader, the Chair of the Youth Council – Sargylana Sleptsova, who belongs to Chukchi people from Kolymskoe (Nizhnekolymskiy district of Yakutia).
That was a great event in the history of the indigenous peoples of Yakutia, and youth hope to hold this Forum every year.