Bob Corell – Happy Birthday!

November 4, 2014 • Philip Burgess

Robert Corell & Anders OskalWe at the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry, Association of World Reindeer Herders and the UArctic EALAT Institute would like to wish Dr. Robert Corell warm greetings for his 80th birthday today.

Dr. Corell has been a key ally of reindeer herders for many years and was a key partner in the early planning, initiation and implementation of the International Polar Year project EALAT. Corell has consistently sought out and promoted cooperation with reindeer herders and indigenous peoples and has played a key role in elevating the acceptance of indigenous knowledge and creating links and spaces where scientists and indigenous knowledge holders can share and learn from each other in atmospheres of trust and respect.

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UArctic EALÁT Institute Website Now Live

June 17, 2013 • Philip Burgess

UArctic EALAT Institute LogoThe UArctic EALÁT Institute was established as a legacy of the International Polar Year and grew out of the IPY EALÁT research project. The Institute was established in a formal ceremony in 2011 at the Sami Univesrity College in Kautokeino, Norway (photo galleries here) and since then has not only offered an online course (Adaptation to Globalisation – the Case of Reindeer Husbandry), but has coordinated numerous events and liased closely with other Arctic and indigenous peoples academic and other institutions across Scandinavia and Russia.

The UArctic EALÁT Institute now has its own web pages here on the Reindeer Portal where you learn about the Institutes work, and where future courses will be offered. Here you can also access a growing resource centre with documents and materials related to reindeer husbandry.

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A new International Institute on Circumpolar Reindeer Husbandry Established in Norway

November 16, 2009 • Philip Burgess

The Board of the University of the Arctic (UArctic) has approved the establishment of UArctic Institute for Circumpolar Reindeer Husbandry, as a result of the International Polar Year (IPY) project and the IPY EALÁT project.

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Yamal Railway Track Speeds On Through Reindeer Migration Route

January 21, 2009 • Philip Burgess


The construction of the Obskaya-Bovanenkovo railway line to the Bovanenkovo gas field in the Yamal Peninsula is proceeding rapidly. The railway will facilitate the construction of the field, the biggest in the Yamal peninsula, which is also the home of the worlds largest area of reindeer husbandry. The railway is to be completed and connected with the main Russian railway network by early 2010, is proceeding rapidly despite the complicated climatic and geological conditions, as reported by Rosbalt.ru reports with reference to Ruskompress.ru. A total of 4,7 km of bridges were constructed in 2008 and 24,5 meters of new bridges are now built every day, the news sites write. A total of 1300 workers are involved in the operations. For the past two summer migration season, EALAT Phd student Anna Degteva has been migrating with different brigades whose migration routes are crossed by this railway, the impacts of which will be part of her study.
The Bovanenkovo gas field alone , the biggest of the fields in the area, has gas reserves estimated at 4,9 trillion cubic meters.
Source: Barents Observer, Rosbalt. Nord

ABC News on Reindeer Herding & Climate Change in Norway

December 31, 2008 • Philip Burgess

The major US TV network was in Kautokeino / Guovdageaidnu, Norway recently, making a feature on reindeer husbandry and climate change. They interviewed the EALAT project (IPY endorsed Reindeer Herding Vulnerability Network Study) leader Ole Henrik Magga and have just aired the 2’50 video news piece.

You can watch the video here


Reindeer Portal Interview with Sergei Haruchi, President, RAIPON

October 31, 2008 • Philip Burgess

Sergei HaruchiDuring the recent EALAT Information workshop (September 2007) and seminar on the Yamal Peninsula, a series of interviews were made with key people related to reindeer husbandry in the world’s largest reindeer husbandry region, including Sergei Haruchi, Dmitri Khorolia and Leonid Khudi.  In this feature, we are reproducing the interview with Sergei Haruchi, who is Nenets, is the State Speaker of the YNAO Duma and is the President of RAIPON, the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North.


Thank you for very unique days on the Yamal Peninsula. It was most impressive to see how you use money to build local societies in Yamal. We have been in the tundra and we have been at the Yar-Sale seminar of the EALAT project. Please say some words about co-operation between indigenous peoples in the Arctic and the importance of having seminars like this one.


First of all I would like to stress that the main reason for our meetings and our co-operation is the fact that our reindeer herders face mutual problems. That’s why we appreciate these meetings. We look forward to having contacts in any field. We are always happy to co-operate. You have noticed huge changes here. Our position is that whenever there is a problem we are going to solve it. If one really wants one can overcome all hindrances. The main thing is to unite the forces of local self-government, indigenous peoples’ organizations, state authorities and chief of the enterprises. The reindeer herders themselves should also participate. This way one gets the results you can see here for yourself today.

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Reindeer Portal Interview with Leonid Khudi, Yamal Union of Reindeer Herders

• Philip Burgess

leonid-khudiDuring the recent EALAT Information workshop (September 2007) and seminar on the Yamal Peninsula, a series of interviews were made with key people related to reindeer husbandry in the world’s largest reindeer husbandry region, including Sergei Haruchi, Dmitri Khorolia and Leonid Khudi.  In this feature, we are reproducing the interview with Leonid Khudi, who is Nenets, from a reindeer herding bankground, is the EALAT project coordinator for Yamal, is the Chair of the Reindeer Herders Union of Yamal and works for the regional administration.

Let us have a short talk about the work shop, about climate change, about the future perspectives of reindeer herding, oil and gas and what you would like to mention. These last days we had some very unique experiences in the tundra and celebrated the 80-years anniversary of Yar-Sale. What do you think about the importance of our co-operation and the organizing of work shops like we have done with EALAT. You are responsible for EALAT in Yamal.

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Reindeer Portal Interview with Dmitry Khorolia, President of Assn. of World Reindeer Herders

October 20, 2008 • Philip Burgess

Dmitry KhoroliaDuring the EALAT Information workshop (September 2007) and seminar on the Yamal Peninsula, a series of interviews were made with key people related to reindeer husbandry in the world’s largest region of reindeer husbandry, including Sergei Haruchi, Dmitri Khorolia and Leonid Khudi.  In this feature, we are reproducing the interview with Dmitri Khorolia, who is Nenets, and is the President of the Association of World Reindeer Herders.

What is the importance of information exchange and what will be the results of such seminars in the tundra?

It is very good and fine that this international seminar in the framework of the EALAT-project was held here in Yar-Sale in the Yamal district, the centre of Russian reindeer husbandry. It is really so that this is a district where the traditional ways of reindeer herders existence are preserved. And this is very important.


We have also talked about the establishment of a reindeer institute at the Yamal Peninsula. Could you comment this?


Of course it is very important for today’s Russia to have an educational establishment on reindeer husbandry for the youth. It is needed. That’s why today there exist proposals to establish such an institute for reindeer herders. For both Russia and for reindeer herders from around the world.


Do you think that such an institute can help to document traditional knowledge about  reindeer husbandry in Yamal for the coming period so that we also in the future can have a strong reindeer husbandry at Yamal?


Of course this institute for reindeer husbandry which we must establish, shall reflect and generalize reindeer herders’ traditional experience and knowledge. There exists no science which uses the experience of reindeer herders. This knowledge is only used by the reindeer herders themselves. Both in Yamal and in Scandinavia, in Norway, Finland and Sweden their experience is not available to the general public. That’s why such an institute is needed. Let us call it the international institute for reindeer husbandry.


Dmitry Khorolia on the Yamal tundra

Dmitry Khorolia on the Yamal tundra

There are challenges in the reindeer husbandry. One of them is global warming. Do you, as a leader in the Yamal region,  see some challenges?


Especially now, when we talk about global warming it is very important [with traditional knowledge]. Reindeer herders have always used observations and signs handed on by tradition. Still now they can predict what type of summer or winter is coming, prepare themselves for this in the right way and choose which pastures can be used under the given conditions and which can’t.


We have just left Yar-Sale. Several reindeer herders who participated in the seminar will have negotiations with Gazprom. They have begun to exploit oil and gas in the Sami regions too. Can you as President give some advice to the Saami reindeer herders as to how they should relate themselves to development that is coming to the Sami  region?


Of course there are today several regions in the Arctic (in Alaska, in Canada, in Norway) where oil and gas exploitation takes place. Norway, Canada and Russia must use the experiences of these other countries in order to reduce the possible negative impacts on the traditional nomadic ways of living of reindeer herders. This is very important. My advice is to use the best experience from those countries which are ahead of us. I was in Canada. There they build roads, communications and exploit oil and gas. The Russian company Gazprom tries to do as good as possible. This is important. We don’t have to invent something new. We must use the positive experiences which already exists in this world. This is very important.


Please say some words about the lessons learned from this development.


Today Yamal is not only an oil and gas region, but also a region where the reindeer husbandry is kept and will be developed. How do the parties come to terms with each others? Relationships are not built overnight. Co-operation and information exchange have existed for quite a time now. Reindeer herders are asked where to build a road, a railroad or a sand-pit in order that the nature is not destroyed more than necessary. I often get questions about how it is possible for this busy oil and gas sector to be present here at all. One would expect that the reindeer husbandry would have died out here for a long time ago.  But here in Yamal oil and gas companies and the reindeer husbandry do exist together in a perfect way and as a result the whole region prospers. This is fantastic.


We have hade nice days here. We have seen how skilfully you use money locally. We have seen an  impressive slaughter house in Salekhard. Sami regions should be able to learn from this how State funds can be used locally for building up  infrastructure.


Many of the good things which are done at Yamal have been borrowed by us from the Scandinavian countries. At the same time we have also things to tell to our reindeer husbandry colleagues in Scandinavia. First of all they can adapt traditional ways of living from us.


The International Polar Year was initiated by Arthur Chilingarov. You are the President of the World Reindeer Herders Association. Would you like to say some words on behalf of the   world reindeer herders?


I would like to address myself to all Arctic states and especially to Norway, Finland, Sweden and Russia. These are the super powers of the reindeer herding regions. This was my first point. My second point is that one in these countries exploits oil, gas and other natural resources. And wherever I am, I always give examples: Once there was a Norwegian reindeer herder who took reindeer to Canada and Alaska from Norway. He wrote in his diary that both gold, coal, oil and gas are good but that reindeer are God’s creatures. Reindeer were created for the Arctic peoples. All these natural resources will finally get depleted. Soon there will be no gas and oil left and new sources for light and heating will have to be invented. But the reindeer are here to stay there forever. Reindeer husbandry has a long history which stretches over many centuries. That is why this is so important. There exists an international organization for reindeer herders. It heralds that reindeer husbandry is its own civilization, a civilization which is connected with nature. This is very important too.


On behalf of the IPY EALAT project we would like to thank you as the local host for our very unique and impressive days on the Yamal peninsula.

Thanks to you from all of us


Reindeer Herders, Chukchi First to Vote in Russia

March 9, 2008 • Philip Burgess

(Pic AFP) A new President has been elected in Russia – and given the fact that most reindeer herders in Russia live in remote regions without roads, they are the first to vote, a fact that was much covered across the media. This story features an interview with a reindeer herder in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug. The recent EALAT workshop in Chukotka saw this at first hand with their visit to reindeer herders in Brigade 4, North of Kanchalan which had already been visited by snowmobiles and ballot boxes on February 16th.

(Pic: Philip Burgess. Election station in Anadyr, March 2nd, Chukotka) Native peoples were strongly represented in the election materials on view in the regional capital, Anadyr. Election time in Russia is one of the few times that Chukotka makes it into the national and international media, as it is the first region in the country to vote, being 9 hours ahead of Moscow. The turnout in Chukotka was one of the highest, with a record 83.5% turnout being widely quoted. The Governor of the okrug, Roman Abramovich was also making one of his rare trips to the region for the election, his private Boeing 767 sitting on the Anadyr runway as the EALAT team flew home.

(Pic: Svein Mathiesen. Anders Oskal at the new slaughter house in Kanchalan) The impact of the Governors policies on Chukotka are as visible as they are far reaching. ‘Roman Abramovich’s Chukotka Project’ in openDemocracy is an interesting account of the oligarch’s impact, which for reindeer herders is most visible in the construction of a modern slaughter house in the village of Kanchalan, a village of 750 people, the vast majority of whom are Chukchi and involved in reindeer husbandry.

Read a brief seminar report and pictures here on the Reindeer Portal