Issat Turi

Visit to Evenki herders in China – A Sámi Herders Perspective

June 11, 2018 • Philip Burgess

Issát Turi is a Sámi reindeer herder, one of the authors of the award winning EALLU book and has been working with and for the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry for many years. He also accompanied Anders Oskal, Mikhail Pogodaev, Inger Anita Smuk, Juoksa Smuk and Elen Sara Sparrok after the Gourmand Awards to Inner Mongolia, to the Evenki village of Alouguya, China as the ICR-WRH team visited with Evenki herders. Below is a brief summary of a conversation with him now that the ICR / WRH team are back in Sápmi.  

Of course reindeer herding on the tundra and the taiga are very different things. For the Evenki, their economy is totally different. We depend on meat production, whereas Evenki in China use the herds to produce medicinal products from antlers and there is some small milk production. There’s a big market for these products in the Far East. They have challenges to recruit young herders of course, as many of the herds are quite remote and are in tough places to live. Their herds are now inside a recently created national park and this has brought new challenges. Local Evenki are no longer allowed to hunt inside the borders of the Park and hunting is a big part of their livelihoods. The rules of the National Park have also meant that herders are not allowed to carry any weapon, even a bow and arrow, to protect their reindeer from predators. Bears are especially numerous in the park and are taking  a lot of the reindeer calfs. Herders are allowed to have a dog but herders told us that the dogs don’t help so much. 

See a new photo gallery from the ICR / WRH team visit to Alouguya below

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ICR/WRH Visit Evenki Reindeer Herders in Aoluguya, China. See Photo Gallery

June 4, 2018 • Philip Burgess

After the stunning victory of overall  ‘Best in the World’ Foodbook for the EALLU food book, a smaller delegation from the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR) and the Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH) made their way north to the town of Genhe, then to the village of Aolouguya to meet once more with their Evenki herding compatriots. The ICR/WRH delegation consisted of Anders Oskal, Mikhail Pogodaev, Inger Anita Smuk, Issat Turi, Ellen Sara Sparrok and Juoksa Smuk. 

WRH attended meetings and a welcome dinner with the Mayor of Genhe, Zhaomin Hu. Genhe is a sizeable city  in the far northeast of Inner Mongolia, and is the only region with reindeer husbandry which is centred on the Evenki reindeer herding village of Aoluguya. Genhe and Alouguya was the location of the 5th World Reindeer Herding Congress

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“I didn’t choose this life, it chose me”

May 9, 2018 • Philip Burgess

A nice article and photo (in German) was published in Berliner Zeitung a few months ago which we are reposting here, with their permission. Journalist Bernd Hauser visited Kautokeino in the spring and spent time with Issát Turi (pictured with his mother Kirsten Turi) and family in their winter pastures. Turi talked about the challenges facing reindeer herders in Finnmark and how herders can best continue to practice their traditional livelihoods. Turi is also an author in the EALLU food book where he wrote about the traditional ways that Sámi slaughter reindeer in order that the flavours of the reindeer meat are enhanced. The article closes with a quote from Turi that encapsulates the essence of the livelihood: “Nicht ich habe dieses Leben gewählt. Es hatmich gewählt!” (I didn’t choose this life, it chose me)

Berliner Zeitung 2018
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International Media Visit to Learn About Reindeer, Food

April 13, 2016 • Philip Burgess

IMG_2750In 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.

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26 hours & 2010 km driving, ICR team from Kautokeino arrive in Copenhagen.

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.  

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