EALLU-RIEVDAN Seminar: Knowledge & Indigenous Food Systems

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.

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Seminar on Traditional Knowledge and Biodiversity in Kautokeino

January 30, 2017 • Philip Burgess

A seminar  on the use of traditional knowledge as a means and tool to preserve biodiversity is being held in Kautokeino, Norway tomorrow, Tuesday, 31 February.

The seminar is being held in advance of the CAFF biennial meeting which is also being held in Kautokeino this week. Multiple speakers from different institutions and researchers will be speaking including the Saami Council (Aile Javo), the Sami Parliament in Norway (President Vibeke Larsen), the Herzen Institute in St Petersburg, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). The meeting will be held in the Sami University of Applied Sciences. See the (draft) programme below.

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Mongolian Parliament Members Visit Reindeer Centre

November 7, 2016 • Philip Burgess

Mongolian delegationOn Friday and Saturday, November 5-6 in Kautokeino, a Memorandum of Understanding between the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry and the Khuvsgul Khugjil Foundation, Mongolia was signed when members of the Mongolian Parliament visited ICR. The discussions centred around with the promotion of  nomadism and local economies, students scholarships, film production, small business innovation, internet access, village friendship development and the language issue of the indigenous Dukha peoples in Mongolia. This cooperation is an outgrowth of the Nomadic Herders project. Some photos below. The visiting delegation included Battsteseg Batsuuri  for the Mongolian Embassy in Stockholm, Batchuluun Otgonsur,  an advisor from Ulan Bataar and Munkhbaatar Lkhagva, member of the  Mongolian Parliament. Some more pictures here on our Facebook page.

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Nenets Student Learns Sami, Completes Groundbreaking Work on Sami / Nenets Slaughter terminologies

July 1, 2016 • Philip Burgess

nechei serotettoNechei A. Serotetto, a young Nenets student who took the remarkable step of travelling to Kautokeino in the heart of the Sami reindeer herding area, living there for a year, learning Sami language and applying her acquired knowledge on Nenets and Sami reindeer herding slaughtering techniques and terminology has received top marks for her completed final year paper.  Serotetto’s work was for her final paper in teacher education at the Institute of the North, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia. This is a valuable contribution as Nenets slaughtering terminology is highly specific and sometimes ‘secret’ her work is a valuable addition to the broader knowledge and awareness of traditional knowledge of herding peoples. It is worth noting that no-one has ever studied the traditional Nenets way of slaughtering reindeer, making her work groundbreaking, particularly when compared to the more studied Sami practices of slaughter, which she studied and participated in, during her stay in Kautokeino.

Serotetto grew up in a nomadic reindeer herding family in the Yamal Nenets Autonomous Okrug, the largest single area of reindeer herding in the world where she was immersed in the nomadic herding life of her family and to where she is returning.

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TV 2 Norway interview young Dukha Student

May 3, 2016 • Philip Burgess

Dukha interview thumbnailThere was a good deal of media attention paid to the presence of over 30 students from around the world of reindeer herding in Kautokeino, Norway last month. Kautokeino of course is the largest centre of reindeer herding in the Sami area. TV 2 Norway made a short interview with DALAIJARGAL Gombo, a young Dukha student who was attending the Biological Diversity in course about why she was there and her hopes for the future challenges facing reindeer herding in Mongolia. She expressed faith that through collaboration with young herders from around the word, these challenges can be met. Watch the video here or below.



Boazojahki – A Reindeer Calendar Year

May 2, 2016 • Philip Burgess

BoazojahkiA unique Sami language calendar was launched last week in Kautokeino. Entitled ‘Boazojahki‘, it is a calendar that details the calendar year in terms of what it means for reindeer, reindeer herders and the work that must be done at the time of the year. Each month covers an enormous amount of information and insight into the cyclical and nature based world of reindeer husbandry.

The calendar is entirely in Sami language and  is aimed primarily at children and youth but is of interest to all with an interest in reindeer herding. The author and creator is Karen Marie Eira Buljo.

Below are some pictures from the launch in Kautokeino. The calendar can be purchased here from the Sami language publisher Davvi Girji.

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‘Biological Diversity’ Can Mean Blood on Your Hands

April 13, 2016 • Philip Burgess

Unknown-1As written previously, a course with over thirty students from all over the world of reindeer husbandry (Chukchi, Even, Evenki, Dolgan, Sami, Nenets and Dukha – to see where all these reindeer peoples live visit our Reindeer Peoples page), is currently underway in Kautokeino. Entitled ‘Biological Diversity from Indigenous Perspective’, the course has a strong focus on traditional food preparation and techniques and food as a key tool for the conservation of biological diversity and knowledge. Day 2 of the course is underway today, where students are demonstrating the skills, knowledge and food from their respective regions.

As the gallery below shows, working with reindeer meat and preparing traditional foods involves work, blood, fire and ashes…

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International Media Visit to Learn About Reindeer, Food

• 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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Biological Diversity from Indigenous Perspective Course Starts Today

April 12, 2016 • Philip Burgess

Biological Diversity CourseA 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.

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March 5, 2016 • Alena Gerasimova

reindeerBiological Diversity in a Circumpolar Indigenous Perspective

Starting April 11th, 2016 in Kautokeino, Norway, this is a course organized by the Sámi University College and the UArctic EALÁT Institute in cooperation with the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry. The course includes a two-week session in Kautokeino, and independent project-work to document traditional knowledge.


Who Should Apply & Why?

The course is aimed at training young reindeer herders and indigenous youth in documenting traditional knowledge related to biodiversity change. This is an introductory-level course to indigenous peoples traditional knowledge and its use for the conservation of biological diversity. The focus is on building a bridge between analytical and empirical approaches to traditional knowledge. The course will, on the one hand, provide an introduction to academic debates on how traditional knowledge contributes to sustaining indigenous peoples societies and the role of traditional knowledge in the conservation of biological diversity. On the other hand it will provide students with practical experience in using methods to document traditional knowledge on biological diversity in a systematic and ethical manner.

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Herders’ Food Culture – It’s all about the Fat. Research Days Events in Kautokeino

September 20, 2015 • Philip Burgess

Fried reindeer meatEvery 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.

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Arktiske Urfolks Matkultur i Forskningsdagene ved ICR og Samisk Høgskole i Kautokeino

September 19, 2015 • Svein Mathiesen

Fried reindeer meatSamisk 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.

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Framtidig reindrift – fra et samisk perspektiv: Konferanse

February 24, 2015 • Philip Burgess

SamediggiSametingsrådet inviterer til oppstartskonferanse i forbindelse med sametingsmelding om reindrift 25.-26.02.2015. Sted: Diehtosiida, Kautokeino

På mange måter står reindrifta i 2015 ved et veiskille. 

Utfordringene er mange. Det føres en samfunns- og næringspolitikk som krever nye og større deler av eksisterende reinbeiteområdene. Den økonomiske utviklingen i reindriftsnæringa de siste årene er bekymringsfull, med økende kostnader og nedgang i inntektene. Et økende rovvilttrykk fører til store økonomiske tap og bekymringer.

Samtidig er det viktig å ha framtidstro. Den samiske reindrifta har en lang historie, den har gitt inntekt og liv til mennesker i århundrer. Reindrifta har alle muligheter for å utvikles som en bærekraftig næring samtidig som man holder fast på de dype røttene reindrifta har i den samiske kulturen. Reindrifta er en viktig del av samisk kultur og av det samiske samfunnet. Reindrifta selv og det samiske samfunnet må gå i front på veien som fører til en framtidig og livskraftig næring.

Sametinget skal, sett i forhold til de visjoner og mål vi har for et framtidig samisk samfunn, være med på å utforme de overordnede langsiktige målene og strategiene for reindriftsnæringa. Med en ny Sametingsmelding om reindrift, ønsker Sametingsrådet sammen med næringa å arbeide for en trygg framtid for reindrifta.


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First Meeting of ICR’s New Board

November 14, 2014 • Alena Gerasimova

ICR BoardThe International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry now has new Board members, who had their first meeting on November 12 in Kautokeino and disscussed their work and planning. The Board, with Inger Anita Smuk as its Chair, was appointed on October 10, 2014 for the next 4 years.

You can see the new Board and Deputies here


National Geographic Picks Up IPCC Event, Kautokeino

April 5, 2014 • Philip Burgess

National GeographicAlizé Carrère, National Geographic Young Explorer, was in Kautokeino for the recent IPCC 5th Assessment Report release event that was organized by IPCC and the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry. She wrote a piece for the National Geographic News Watch website which you can read here.


Documents from the IPCC 5th Assessment Event

April 3, 2014 • Philip Burgess

IPCC LogoImportant documents now available related to the IPCC 5th Assessment and the event that was held in Kautokeino. First is the ‘Summary for Policymakers / WG1AR5_SPM_FINAL

The Working Group I contribution to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) considers new evidence of climate change based on many independent scientific analyses from observations of the climate system, paleoclimate archives, theoretical studies of climate processes and simulations using climate models. It builds upon the Working Group I contribution to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), and incorporates subsequent new findings of research. As a component of the fifth assessment cycle, the IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) is an important basis for information on changing weather and climate extremes. This Summary for Policymakers (SPM) follows the structure of the Working Group I report. The narrative is supported by a series of overarching highlighted conclusions which, taken together, provide a concise summary. Main sections are introduced with a brief paragraph in italics which outlines the methodological basis of the assessment.

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IPCC Launch Event in Kautokeino – Photo Gallery Added

April 1, 2014 • Philip Burgess

IPCC Launch EventA photo gallery of the launch of the IPCC 5th Assessment report held yesterday in Kautokeino is now up. See all the photos here.
Watch a video prepared for the event here.

Read the Press Release for the event.


New ICR Video Shows Herders Climate Observations to IPCC Launch Event

March 31, 2014 • Philip Burgess

On March 31st, 2014, the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry in collaboration with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) held an outreach event to commemorate the release of the 5th Assessment of the IPCC. The meeting was opened with a new video by ICR that introduces some of the changes that herders are seeing in their pastures.


Landmark event: Launch of IPCC AR 5 in Kautokeino

• Philip Burgess

IPCC LogoThe Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report today that says the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans. The world, in many cases, is ill-prepared for risks from a changing climate. The report also concludes that there are opportunities to respond to such risks, though the risks will be difficult to manage with high levels of warming. The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) will provide a clear view of the current state of scientific knowledge relevant to climate change. It will comprise three Working Group (WG) reports and a Synthesis Report (SYR). The outline and content can be found in theAR5 reference document and SYR Scoping document.

IPCC has been endeavouring to engage smaller communities in their work and its dissemination and as a result are holding a launch event for the IPCC 5th Assessment, Working Group II, Polar Regions Chapter in Kautokeino, organized by ICR which runs today, March 31, 2014.

The programme includes an exciting breadth of speakers and expertise. Prof. Chris Field, Stanford University, Co-Lead of IPCC AR5 WG 2 will join the meeting by video and participants in Kautokeino will include reindeer herders and administrators from across multiple reindeer herding regions in Russia and Scandinavia as well as representative of youth. Field stated in the IPCC 5AR Press Press Release,

“Climate-change adaptation is not an exotic agenda that has never been tried. Governments, firms,and communities around the world are building experience with adaptation,” Field said. “This experience forms a starting point for bolder, more ambitious adaptations that will be important as climate and society continue to change.”

The event runs all day and wraps with a visit to a herders camp. Download the programme here.


Seminar on spring duck hunting started in Kautokeino

March 24, 2014 • Alena Gerasimova

duck hunting seminarMonday, March 24, 2014. Seminar on spring duck hunting started today in Kautokeino, at Sami University College. The project that is called Arbediehtu. is leaded by the Sami University College, Guovdageainnu municipality and the Sami association for hunters and harvesters and dedicated to the knowledge about the spring duck hunting.


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Stunning Drone View of Reindeer Corral

March 4, 2014 • Philip Burgess

When speaking of drones, military uses spring to mind. This is changing however and their shrinking size and falling prices have meant that people are using drones for an increasingly wide range of activities. Ovttas (ovttas.no) commissioned Luftfoto Finnmark to film a reindeer roundup at a corral just south of Kautokeino using a drone. The results are stunning. See below..



The Language of Snow (UNESCO)

February 23, 2014 • Philip Burgess

(Source: UNESCO) Local communities develop nuanced systems of knowledge specific to their natural surroundings. The Sami language is a prime example of that intimate relationship between the physical environment and language. Located in the Arctic, Sami reindeer herders have developed a sophisticated terminology to describe their unique and variable milieu, which reveals interrelated-aspects of the impacts of climate change.

Sami reindeer herding is practiced in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. One of the centres for herding, in Guovdageaidnu (Kautokeino), Northern Norway, involves 1,700 people and 93,500 reindeer. Snow covers the ground more than seven months of the year and reindeer survival is dependent on the ability to access
lichen through the snow. Given the extremely variable conditions of the Arctic, the Sami must make timely strategic decisions to ensure the herd’s well-being.

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Norway’s Next Prime Minister Officially Opened ICR in 2005

October 8, 2013 • Philip Burgess

Erna SolbergErna Solberg who has been leader of the Conservative Party since 2004, is expected to take office as the Prime Minister of Norway on 14 October 2013, after a centre-right coalition won a majority in the 2013 parliamentary elections.

She has served as a member of the Storting since 1989 and served as Minister of Local Government and Regional Development in Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik’s second Cabinet from 2001 to 2005. After winning the elections, she will be the second female Prime Minister of Norway after Gro Harlem Brundtland.

The International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry has a strong historical connection with the incoming Prime Minister. While she was serving under Prime Minister Bondevik as Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, she officially opened the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry via videoconference in Kautokeino in 2005. You can watch her opening speech below (in Norwegian).


Arctic Resilience Interim Report Released, Pictures from Kautokeino Workshop

June 6, 2013 • Philip Burgess

Arctic Resilience Report CoverLate last year a workshop was organised by the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry and the Stockholm Resilience Centre to further the work being undertaken in the Arctic Council Arctic Resilience Report. The Arctic Resilience Report is a science-based assessment that aims to better understand the integrated impacts of change in the Arctic. Its goals are to:

• Identify the potential for shocks and large shifts in ecosystems services that affect human well-being in the Arctic.

• Analyze how different drivers of change interact in ways that affect the ability of ecosystems and human populations to withstand shocks, adapt or transform.

• Evaluate strategies for governments and communities to adapt.

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World Reindeer Herders Congress in July – Revisit the Congress in Yakutsk, 2005

February 26, 2013 • Philip Burgess

The World Reindeer Herders Congress is going to be held in Genhe/Alougoya in July of this year, the first time that it will be held in China, home to a small number of Evenki herders. The Congress is held every four years and in 2009 was in Kautokeino, Norway. The Congress is a unique cultural and political event that brings together reindeer herders, scientists, politicians and more together.  The Congress generally has an academic programme, a political programme and of course multiple cultural events. Details on the 5th Congress will be posted here as they become available. See a clip from the Yakutsk Congress below,


50 Reindeer Fall Through Thin Ice and Drown

November 10, 2010 • Philip Burgess

Reindeer froze to death after falling through ice. Pic: NRK

As many as 50 reindeer froze to death after falling through thin ice near Kautokeino, Norway yesterday according to a report in NRK Sami Radio. This is a dangerous time of year for reindeer and their herders, as although lakes and rivers are frozen, the ice is thin and liable to break.

Herders attempted to rescue the animals back to land by using a boat and walking on the ice – extremely risky work, but according to Mikkel NN Eira, as quoted in the article:

We had to and try get the animals onto land… We had to use a boat as we pushed on the ice in front of us.  When we came to areas where the ice was thin and we noticed that the ice began to break up, we had to hurry to jump in the boat. There were many times that my foot went through the ice.

Eira called it a ‘tragedy’, with some reindeer remaining locked in the water. Eira even tried bringing a reindeer inside the house to warm it up but it too succumbed to the cold. He said to NRK Sami Radio,

It was mostly females who went through and they would surely have calved.  This is a loss of at least NOK 100,000 in income.  The animals are our livelihood.


ABC News Visits Worlds Only Reindeer Herding High School, Kautokeino, Norway

January 5, 2009 • Philip Burgess

ABC News recently visited Kautokeino, Norway to learn a little about reindeer, reindeer herding and the challenges that it faces in the future. One way to meet future challenges is to invest in education, and that is what is happening at the world’s only reindeer herding high school, in Kautokeino, Norway. ABC interviewed students at the Sámi Joatkkaskuvla ja Boazodoalloskuvla about their future wishes to become reindeer herders.

Watch the video clip here.