January 31, 2017 • Philip Burgess
A major seminar with youth from across the circumpolar North (Russia, Canada, US, Finland, Norway and Sweden) is getting underway in Kautokeino tomorrow February 1-3 at the Sami University of Applied Sciences. Organized under the auspices of the EALLU and RIEVDAN projects that both focus on traditional knowledge with an emphasis (especially EALLU) on traditional food cultures and systems of indigenous peoples in the Arctic. Much is reindeer related, of course, but other Arctic traditional foods will also be featured. Seminar results and products will also feed into the EALLU final delivery (an Arctic ‘cookbook’) to the Arctic Council at the Ministerial, to be held in Alaska, in May of this year.
The seminar will feature talks, group work and slaughtering of reindeer. Photos to follow, draft programme below.
October 3, 2016 • Philip Burgess
ICR Director Anders Oskal presented the progress on the EALLU project to the Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group over the weekend in Orono, Maine. The Arctic Council is currently under the U.S. Chairmanship.
The progress on the project is considerable. EALLU is managed by ICR and WRH, with co-leads Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Norway, Russia, USA, the Aleut International Association and the Saami Council. EALLU runs up to 2019, but already 26 different activities such as community workshops, seminars and events have been held, in a huge variety of locations, including Inuvik, Nome, Kautokeino, Inari, Copenhagen, St Petersburg, Moscow, Uryung-Khaya, Chersky, Topolinoe, Yakutsk, Genhe (China) and Tereli in Mongolia, to name but a few.
April 13, 2016 • Philip Burgess
In an event coordinated by the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry and Søren Kühlwein, the Director of the Hotel og Restaurantskolen in Copenhagen, a large number of food journalists are currently guests of ICR in Kautokeino where they are learning at first hand the meaning of ‘traditional foods’ in the Arctic. Traditional food consumption, processing and economies are one of the mainstays of life in small indigenous communities. The production and processing of reindeer meat and related products is a key plank in nurturing sustainability and resilience in marginal and often marginalized communities.
April 12, 2016 • Philip Burgess
A unique course got underway in Kautokeino, Norway today, with well over 30 young students with many young reindeer herding peoples represented (Nenets, Eveny, Evenki, Sami, Chukchi, Dukha and Dolgan). The students are enrolled as Bachelor students at the Sami University of Applied Sciences in Kautokeino in a course entitled ‘Biological diversity in a circumpolar indigenous perspective’.
The bringing together of this diverse group of young reindeer herders has been made possible through the coordination of UNEP, GEF, the Arctic Council through the rubric of the Nomadic Herders project as organized by the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry in cooperation with University of the Arctic with financial support from the Norwegian Government, Ministry of Climate and Environment. With a strong focus on traditional food preparation, techniques and food as a key tool for the conservation of biological diversity and knowledge, the goal is to enhance the resilience of reindeer herders’ ecosystems and livelihoods, with an emphasis on the future generations of herders that will have to navigate the complexities of maintaining a traditional livelihood in a rapidly changing Arctic.
November 4, 2015 • Philip Burgess
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
November 3, 2015 • Philip Burgess
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.
September 30, 2015 • Svetlana Avelova
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.
In celebration of significant dates, a group of herders from Zhigansky district traveled to Scandinavia.
September 20, 2015 • Philip Burgess
Every year, the Research Council of Norway brings research into the community over several days in an event called Forskningsdagene, where researchers are invited to share their research with the general public. Events are held nationwide and this year the theme is food. From their website, they note that food is not just food, but food is politics, culture and religion.
In reindeer peoples culture, food (and especially fat) is of course central to reindeer husbandry – to herders culture and economy. An enormous body of knowledge is embedded in traditional food culture and only recently is this being more recognized.
As part of these Forskningsdagene events, the Sami University College and the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry are inviting all interested parties on Monday, September 21 and Tuesday, September 22 at 10:00 CET to the traditional lavvu outside the College in Kautokeino.
September 19, 2015 • Svein Mathiesen
Samisk høgskole og International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry inviterer all interesserte til Forskningsdagene Mandag 21 September og Tirsdag 22 September kl 1000 i sorlavvuen på utesiden av Samisk høgskole i Kautokeino. Fokus vil være Arktiske urfolks matkultur, fett som resurss og røyking som konserveringsmetode. Even, Evenki, Nenets, Komi, Vebs og Samer vil være tilstede og formidle sin tradisjonskunnskap om sin matkultur og sine råvarer. Mandag vil vi ha en workshop om røyking av reinkjøtt, ulike kunnskaps former og muligheter. Programmet for forskningsdagene finnes under. Forskningsdagene i Kautokeino arrangerer som en del av Rievdan prosjektet om Samisk matkultur finanseriert av Norges Forskningråd og Arktisk råds prosjektet: EALLU: Reindrifts ungdom, klimaendringer og matkultur.
June 6, 2015 • Philip Burgess
As many as 20000 people attended the Nordlige Norden Arctic food festival in Copenhagen last weekend and many of them ate reindeer meat prepared by ICR and friends. The event was a huge success and the Sami lavvu, erected in the shadow of Hans Egede church in downtown Copenhagen was a busy place, most particularly on Saturday.
Other events held during the ‘foodie’ event (there was food from around the Arctic) included an EALLU Arctic Lavvu Dialogue (Tradisjonskunnskap grunnlaget for samisk matkultur i et nordisk perspektiv) which brought together young Sami herders, food experts and knowledge holders to discuss traditional knowledge and food culture from a Sami and Nordic perspective (Download programme here).
May 28, 2015 • Philip Burgess
Lots of Chefs from the Copenhagen Hospitality College got their hands on reindeer meat in Copenhagen for the opening of the Nordlige Norden Arctic Food festival which started today. The reindeer meat was delivered by ICR and the next three days will see thousands of people pass through centre of Copenhagen sampling excellent Arctic food and of course reindeer meat in a lavvu. The event is connected to the EALLU project. Some pictures below, more pictures to follow.
• Philip Burgess
This year, Denmark is the Chair of the Nordic Council and one of the events to commemorate this is ‘Nordlige Norden‘, a gastronomic tour of the Arctic, taking place in the heart of Copenhagen – as the organisers put it, ‘it may be the only Arctic adventure you ever go on’. After all, often the best memories we have from our travels are related to food.
We hear a lot about the ‘resources’ in the Arctic – oil, gas, minerals; but not so much about the people and the wonderful food – resources that are sustainable, valuable and the preparation of which is full of specific knowledge. Food including reindeer of course! Nordlige -Norden is a celebration of this resource – and it starts today, running until Saturday evening. The International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry is taking part and has erected a lavvu in Nikolaj Plads and thousands are expected to attend. ICR’s participation is linked into the Arctic Council EALLU project (traditional knowledge, food culture and adaptation to climate change) and the local partner in Copenhagen is the Copenhagen Hospitality College. Below are pictured young Sámi chefs with the Director of the College Søren Huhlwein Kristiansen.
May 25, 2015 • Svein Mathiesen
Issat Turi and Mikkel Anders Kemi from ICR arrived at Hotel og Restaurantskolen in Copenhagen today driving for 26hours and 2010 km from Kautokeino. The reason is the new Arctic Council project EALLU: Arctic Indigenous Youth, Climate Change and Food Culture, which ICR and WRH is carrying out together with the Saami Council, Norway and the USA. In March this year the Arctic Indigenous Peoples Culinary Institute was established in Kautokeino as part of the EALLU project, therefore Issat and Mikkel Anders brought with them Arctic raw materials of very high quality from Kautokeino, Finnmark to be present at the Nordlige Norden Food Festival 28 -30 mai in Nikolai place in Copenhagen. The festival is being organized in Copenhagen as Denmark is the Chair of the Nordic Council in 2015.
December 8, 2014 • Philip Burgess
We the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR) and the Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH) are interested in reindeer pretty much all of the time. We (try to) understand that this is not so for most people. However, as we approach Christmas, interest in reindeer (not so much in herders!) peaks across much of the world. It is also when we receive more visitors to our website than any other time of the year.
This year, we thought we ask a very important to those of us who work, live with and love reindeer: How do you like to eat them? While this might seem a silly, or to some, a provocative question, to herding peoples, it is an important one. Reindeer are the cornerstone of the identity of many indigenous peoples in the North, but perhaps above all, they are an extremely healthy and available source of protein.
I canvassed our colleagues here at ICR and WRH about their favourite way to eat reindeer. See some feedback below. Feel free to add your voice, favourite or recipe to the conversation here on our Facebook or Twitter channels or in the comments section.
One of my favourite answers was from Rávdná Biret Márjá Eira (Sámi, Kautokeino, Norway),
This is a very difficult question Philip! Its too hard to choose, but let’s see: In the fall it is so good with smoked reindeer meat that I fry directly on the fire…a little later it is great with blood sausages and boiled čielgi (back)! and also in the winter….. and then in spring it soooo tasty with coffee and dried reindeer meat during the migration while the herd is resting a little..
December 4, 2008 • Philip Burgess
It being the festive season, it was probably only a matter of time before the eating of reindeer, without which life for indigenous peoples and the settlers that followed them would not have been possible, would become an issue worth targetting for actvist vegetarians. A media release by the UK based Vegetarian International Voice for Animals (VIVA) has decided to take on the Swedish giant IKEA in the UK (and by extension, Sami reindeer husbandry) because they sell reindeer salami in their stores. From their release
“We are very concerned about the exploitation of wild animals for meat. As well as being chased from the land and air, once they are caught, their misery doesn’t end there. In Sweden, some reindeer face a gruelling journey of up to 1,000km to the slaughterhouse where they face anything but a humane end. More than 70 per cent of reindeer slaughtered for meat are calves that have grazed during the summer, which means they never even get to see snow.” (italics added)
VIVA even have a problem with lassoing, which they claim (according to quoted scientific research) causes stress in the animal, so much so that they can ‘waste away’. IKEA, to their credit haven’t yet dropped the salami (yet), responding,
“Modern equipment such as snowmobiles, motorcycles and helicopters are used because of the large size of the reindeer herding area (half the size of Sweden), which makes gathering the animals more difficult. The vehicles keep the reindeer safe from predators. In terms of transporting reindeer to the abattoir, our supplier follows the same law applying to all other domestic animals in Sweden which sets maximum transport time and breaks, access to water and so on.”
The release has generated a lot of mainstream media attention in the UK and is covered in the Guardian, the Independent and the Daily Telegraph. It hardly needs pointing out, but still should be said, that readily available land based protein sources in the Arctic are on four legs and without them, life would be neither possible nor sustainable in a vast parts of the Northern world. It would appear that VIVA have not contacted any Sami reindeer herding organisations in Sweden or elsewhere before making these claims. Expect this story to have legs…..