New book: Samisk reindrift, Norske Myter

January 19, 2016 • Philip BurgessBlog, Dávggas, Projects, Reindeer, Reindeer HerdersLeave a comment






A new book goes on sale today entitled ‘Samisk reindrift, Norske Myter’ (Sami reindeer husbandry, Norwegian myths) and it is the primary deliverable from the DÁVGGAS project, an interdisciplinary project involving researchers from NMBU and the Sami University College.

Edited by Tor A. Benjaminsen, Inger Marie Gaup Eira and Mikkel Nils Sara, the book is a collection of articles written by the project resaerchers and is sure to be an important contribution to the ongoing and often contested debates surrounding the continuation of an age old indigenous livelihood with the confines of a contemporary nation state. A seminar held in combination with the books publication will be held in Kautokeino, on February 9, 2016 (details to follow). The book is in Norwegian – you can view the introductory chapter here and purchase the book here.


From the foreword of the book (apologies, my translation),

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Arctic College in Chersky and Education for Young Reindeer Herders in Yakutia

Alena GerasimovaEALLU, ICR/WRHLeave a comment

abdc43b5-2786-4273-973a-932914e4ab40Arctic College of the Peoples of the North, which is located in Chersky, Nizhnekolymsky district, continues it’s fruitful work both with reindeer herders and students from reindeer herding families. Only less than a month ago young reindeer herders who are also second-year students at the College had interesting workshops and classes with the main zootechnician at the Turvaurgin Obshchina (nomadic community) and skillful reindeer herder – Petr Kaurgin. They not only disscussed main issues of their Obshchinas and ways how to be a better reindeer herder, they also had a trip with teachers to the winter pastures where they were working with reindeer.

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Animation on how man made barriers impact wild reindeer migration

January 13, 2016 • Philip BurgessBlog, Challenges, Reindeer, Wild ReindeerLeave a comment

Nice short animation that illustrates how human changes to the landscape (roads, railways, hydropower, cabins, tourist trails) have impacted the wild reindeer herds in Dovrefjell and Rondane, southern Norway – which is home to Europes’ last wild herd of reindeer. Of course these landscape changes impact semi domesticated reindeer in the same way. The film was produced by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research as part of the project ‘Renewable-Reindeer



‘Moving with the Reindeer in Winter’ – Stunning Drone footage of reindeer migration

January 8, 2016 • Philip BurgessBlog, Reindeer, Reindeer HerdersLeave a comment

Beautiful footage shot by by Jan Helmer Olsen who lives in Karasjok. It is shot by drone and taken while the reindeer migrate to their winter pastures, in Finnmarksvidda, Norway. The migration is timeless and majestic and is part of the perennial rhythm of herding life in the North.


Santa and His Flying Reindeer…?

December 20, 2015 • Philip BurgessBlog, ReindeerLeave a comment

Everyflying reindeer year, at this time of the year, people love to find out about reindeer…most especially those flying ones that accompany Santa Claus on his tour of the world, delivering presents. We at the Reindeer Portal are delighted that everyone wants to know about reindeer at any time of the year, and from our archives, you can read a popular post that looks into the fact and fiction that is connected to this story of Santa Claus and his flying reindeer. Read the post here. Since our post, a newer article on LiveScience looked at the connection between the consumption of certain mushrooms and reindeer flight and nicely deconstructs it at the end. Santa on a trip?


Watch Per Jonas Partapuoli Address Global Landscapes Forum, Paris

December 7, 2015 • Philip BurgessBlog, EALLIN, ICR/WRH, Reindeer, Reindeer HerdersLeave a comment

Per Jonas PartapuoliPer Jonas Partapuoli, board member of the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry, addressed the Global Landscapes Forum in Paris on Saturday, December 5th, an event that is shadowing the much larger COP 21 negotiations. From the Global Landscapes website,

The respect and recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ rights, customary land tenure and traditional knowledge have significantly contributed to more sustainable use and management of various ecosystems. Speakers at the session represent both Indigenous Peoples’ organizations and corporate representatives to explore the crucial question: Is a triple-win – where the economy, people and the climate all benefit – possible, despite the many documented and potential conflicts.

Per Jonas talks at 30.30 into the video and raises the work of the EALLIN project and the challenges facing reindeer herding in Sapmi, with a focus on the mining giant LKAB and Kiruna.

“My family have been practicing reindeer herding long before Sweden became a country”


Vyacheslav Shadrin Wins Paul K. Feyerabend Award

December 2, 2015 • Philip BurgessBlog, ICR/WRHLeave a comment

Vyacheslav Shadrin Vyacheslav Shadrin, Chair of the Yukaghir Council of Elders of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) was recently awarded with the Paul K. Feyerabend Award. The award “Paul K. Feyerabend – A World of Solidarity is Possible” is granted each year to ‘exceptionally  successful works favouring solidarity within or between communities. The prize acknowledges and encourages remarkable accomplishments which represent true sources of inspiration.’ Shadrin, it should be noted is also a deputy board member of the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry and long time colleague.

Since the late days of the Soviet Union, Chief Shadrin has systematically advanced the cause of the indigenous peoples and communities of the Far East of Russia. As a leader of his own Yukaghir indigenous people, he is Vice President of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East for Yakutia.

Throughout the 1990s, Chief Shadrin has been instrumental in supporting Yukaghir’s land and language issues and, since the new millennium, has been constantly on the move to promote the larger movement of indigenous peoples, including Even, Evenk, Chukchi, Dolgan and Yukaghir peoples across the region in Yakutia, Chukotka, Magadan and Khabarovsk, among other areas.

Tirelessly travelling every week to distant indigenous communities in the tundra and taiga regions, Chief Shadrin learns about the problems of such communities and takes their issues forwards to the authorities and responsible bodies. He has provided leadership to international projects that dealt with issues as diverse as conservation of biodiversity, traditional knowledge, adaptation to climate change, solar energy and reindeer herding. Currently, he participates in regional coordination initiatives via the Snowchange Cooperative, the UNEP-GEF ECORA project in Lower Kolyma and numerous initiatives dealing with the preservation of indigenous culture, language and traditional knowledge. Last but not least, Chief Shadrin is a historian and a researcher and collaborates with the Institute of Humanities of the Russian Academy of Sciences (from the Paul K. Feyeraband Foundation website).

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Planned Railway to Complete the Bisection of Yamal Peninsula

Bovanenkovo-Sabetta railwaysNews from Yamal – according to a news report, the extension of the Bovanenkovo railway to the newly constructed seaport at Sabetta has been given official approval. The railway is already the most northerly railway in the world and this will extend it further northwards be several hundred kilometres, bringing the railway to the east coast of the Yamal Peninsula for the first time. The peninsula is the largest single area of reindeer husbandry in the world where primarily Nenets herders undertake long seasonal migrations with their reindeer. This railway will bisect migration routes and result in a sizeable footprint in the construction and operation zone.

On November 25, 2015, Legislative Assembly of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District approved the Law on participation in the strategic project “Construction and Operation of the New Non-Common Use Railway Line Bovanenkovo-Sabetta”. The railway is to be built and operated under the principles of private-public partnership with the conclusion of an agreement with the District’s Government.

Bovanenkovo-Sabetta railways

The new line will be a continuation of the Obskaya-Bovanenkovo line in compliance with the strategy for social and economic development of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District through 2020. It is particularly focused on ensuring the construction of railway infrastructure at Sabetta seaport and transportation of cargoes by the Northern Sea Route. Source.

You can see imagery of the railway on the Gazprom website.



New Information Source for Nenets Autonomous Okrug Reindeer Herding

November 24, 2015 • Philip BurgessBlog, Reindeer, Reindeer HerdersLeave a comment

NAO Reindeer Husbandry website

The Union of Reindeer Herders of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug has launched an impressive website that is part of a larger strategy to develop, document and improve the lives of reindeer herders in the region.

Currently the Union, based in the regional capital Naryan-Mar (and is a member of the Association of World Reindeer Herders) comprises of 6 family, indigenous communities and 8 agricultural production cooperatives. The website is in Russian, and features news, video, photography. There are plans to expand this information portal into a commercial venture where herders products can be sold and later, there are plans to develop an archive and library.

You can visit the website here. Below is a very nice short video of reindeer herding in the region made by the Union.

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EALLU Seminar in Cherski Arctic College, Sakha Republic

November 10, 2015 • Philip BurgessBlog, EALLU, ProjectsLeave a comment

Cherski arrivalCherski is a small village of under three thousand people, on the Kolyma river, close to the Arctic Ocean and is the administrative center of the Nizhnekolymsky District in the Sakha Republic, Russia, nearly 2000 kilometers east  of Yakutsk or a four hour flight (like many remote villages in Sakha, it is not connected to the road system).

The EALLU team of ICR and WRH are there this week holding seminars and meetings with the Arctic College in the town, and also with local and regional administrators to talk about the challenges facing reindeer husbandry and the EALLU goal of highlighting the knowledge and value of traditional foods. The team (Inger Anita Smuk, Elna Sara, Mikkel Anders Kemi, Ravna Maret Buljo, Svetlana Avelova, Alena Gerasimova and Svein Mathiesen) will also travel to the tundra to meet with herders. They will need warm clothes! Current temperatures for Cherski are below -20C  and falling. See photos from the early part of the visit and seminar below. See photos by Alexei Kurilov, a local journalist who was following the EALLU team here.

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