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).
News 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.
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.
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.
Cherski 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.
At the close of the Northern Forum Assembly, the staff of the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR) and the Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH) held an anniversary celebration – 10 years since the establishment of ICR and 25 years for WRH in Yakutsk. The celebration included a seminar with talks by WRH Chair Mikhail Pogodaev (now officially appointed as Chair of the Northern Forum), Inger Anita Smuk, Anders Oskal, Andrey Krivoshapkin, Elena Golomareva, Konstantin Robbek and Svein Mathiesen. The seminar was well attended with 50-60 local participants (see the programme below). This followed the holding of a board meeting of ICR. Part of the ICR and WRH team have since travelled to the small of Cherskiy, a small village which is the administrative centre of the Nizhnekolymsky District in the Sakha Republic, Russia, located on the Kolyma River 1,920 kilometers (1,190 mi) east of Yakutsk, the capital of the republic. While there, there will be meetings with the Arctic College, a field trip to the tundra to meet with reindeer herders and a week long focus on traditional food in relation to the EALLU project.
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The Northern Forum Assembly finished today, November 6th. Below are some photos from the gathering featuring WRH and ICR personnel, a meeting with the President of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) with ICR, a TV Sakha appearance by ICR and WRH and more.
More news to follow
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The Northern Forum Assembly continues and today in Yakutsk, and as an integral part of the Assembly, there was a feast of traditional Arctic food at Muus Khaya restaurant prepared by Sakha, Even, Evenki and Sami – to feed hungry people of course, but importantly to demonstrate the extraordinary knowledge and skill that is embedded in small communities when it comes to the preparation of traditional foods. The Arctic Council SDWG EALLU project has this very goal in mind and was a part of the preparations and execution. The Assembly continues tomorrow and will be followed at the weekend by the board meeting of the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry. See some photos of the feast below.
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The Northern Forum General Assembly started today in the city of Yakutsk. The multi day assembly will culminate on Friday with the election of a new Chair. The current acting Chair is Mikhail Pogodaev, who is the Executive Chair of the Association of World Reindeer Herders. Pogodaev has ensured that traditional livelihoods such as reindeer herding are to the fore in this Assembly. Asked why he thought the Northern Forum was an important and useful agency for northerners in general and herders in particular, Pogodaev said,
The Northern Forum is an organization that works with Governors of the Arctic regions and local authorities. It is important to work with local authorities because it is they who control reindeer husbandry locally. The Association of World Reindeer Herders is an organization that has very good relations with local authorities and this is important as we address the main issues that impact herding through them.
See some photos below
Tomorrow, the 12th General Assembly of the Northern Forum gets underway in Yakutsk in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutsk). The Northern Forum is a non-profit, international organization composed of sub-national or regional governments from eight northern countries and was established in 1991. The goal of the Northern Forum is to give northern regional leaders a means to share knowledge and experience in addressing common challenges and to support sustainable development and the implementation of cooperative socio-economic initiatives among Northern regions and through international fora.
The Assembly will focus on the following broad themes:
1. Role of the Northern Subnationals in the changing World – new opportunities and challenges
2. Positive life strategies for Northern populations
3. Forms and Mechanisms of Business cooperation within the Northern Forum
4. Regional strategies for Climate Change Adaptation
5. Infrastructure in the North
6. Enhancing traditional livelihoods, preservation of indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge on food culture
The focus on food will see a significant contribution by the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR), the Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH), the Nomadic Herders project and the EALLU project. In addition, there will be a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of WRH and the 10th anniversary of the establishment of ICR. See the full programme below.
The Midnite Sun Reindeer Ranch in Nome, Alaska has taken the unusual step of turning to crowdfunding to raise the estimated $200,000 needed to purchase 2 winter insulated mobile slaughtering unit, in order that they could slaughter and process reindeer meat year round and obtain a USDA licence which would give them the possibility to broaden the scope of their sales. Currently they are only permitted to slaughter on frozen ground and sell to other processors and local people.
According to an article on the KNOM Radio Mission (listen / read here on their site), there are no USDA approved reindeer meat processors in the region. The ranch is hopeful that there is a pent up demand for locally available, fresh, quality meat. You can read about the ranch and their crowdfunding campaign ‘Mobile Slaughter Unit & Process Unit’ here on Indiegogo (so far, they have raised $250..there is some way to go..).