Zhigansk Reindeer Herders visited Sapmi

September 30, 2015 • Svetlana AvelovaBlog, EALLU, ICR/WRH, Reindeer Herders, RIEVDAN


Zhigansk Reindeer herders from the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) visited Scandinavia in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Association of World Reindeer Herders

From the history

Exactly 25 years ago, in the autumn of 1990, a group of scientists and reindeer herders from Norway traveled to Russia, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), to meet with reindeer herders. From that time began the active cooperation between reindeer herders from Russia and Scandinavia. The Association of World Reindeer Herders originates from the same time. In addition, on the recommendation of the Arctic Council in 2005, in Kautokeino was founded the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry, which has been working fruitfully already for 10 years.

Today the Association of World Reindeer Herders and the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry created a wide network of international cooperation between reindeer herding peoples from all over the world.

Our days

In celebration of significant dates, a group of herders from Zhigansky district traveled to Scandinavia.

The group was headed by the chief specialist of the Department of Agriculture of Zhigansky district – Egorov Ruslan. The group also included Apollonova Zoia (Production cooperative “Bakhany”), Vinokourova Antonina (Production Cooperative “Tugut”) and Alexander Sergeev (Agricultural Cooperative “Syataa”). Reindeer herders are from Zhigansk and Kystatyam villages of the Zhigansky district.

In the northern Norway, in Kautokeino, in the heart of Sami land, at this time (21-22, September) the seminar was held on the basis of the Sami University College, dedicated to the food culture of the North under the name «Dutkanbeaivvit». The seminar was held in the traditional Sami tent – in Lavvu. The seminar was attended by reindeer herders from the Murmansk region, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous district, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Sami reindeer herders and hunters, connoisseurs of Sami traditional cuisine, scientists, Saami University College students and others. Generally discussions were about traditional food of indigenous people of the circumpolar region. Also, representatives of each reindeer region presented their national cuisine. In parallel, master classes were held on the smoking reindeer meat in the tent and cooking salmon on the fire.

Seminar «Dutkanbeaivvit» in Sami language means “traditional knowledge”. It is part of Rievdan project and international project of the Arctic Council called “EALLU: Reindeer Herding Youth, Adaptation to Climate Change and Food Culture”. The Rievdan project is dedicated to Sami food culture and funded by the Research Council of Norway. EALLU project implemented by the Association of World Reindeer Herders and International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry and UArctic EALÁT Institute, with the support of Norway, the Russian Federation and Saami Council. The goal of the EALLU project is investigate reindeer herders’ food culture through the lens of traditional knowledge, adaptation to climate change and youth and EALLU will combine academic work, education, seminars, food culture across Eurasia.

After the seminar, the delegation of Zhigansky district was invited to the office of the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry. The meeting was headed by the executive director of the Center – Anders Oskal. Johan Mathis Turi – Secretary General of the Association of World Reindeer Herders, Svein Mathisen – professor of the UArctic EALAT Institute, ICR staff and herders from different regions of Russia attended this meeting. The guests were told about the history of the foundation of the Association of World Reindeer Herders and the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry, their work, initiated projects and future plans.

After visiting Kautokeino, the delegation traveled to Inari (Finland). There they were warmly greeted by Sámi Education Institute, represented by the rector Liisa Holmberg. The program included a visit to Siida Museum, educational and production complex of the Center: slaughter house, processing of reindeer meat, tanning buckskin and kamus.

This trip provided an opportunity to herders from Zhigansky district to learn the food culture, way of life of another reindeer herding people – Sami, share their experiences, meet herders and reindeer herding youth from other regions of Russia. They saw how the Association of World Reindeer Herders and the International Centre for reindeer Husbandry are working.

We hope that the guests enjoyed the trip, got a new and useful information, met interesting people with whom they will keep in touch.

Жиганские оленеводы

Salmon grilling


The delegation with Anders Oskal

Zhigansk herders

At the ICR office