(Map showing extent of one claim in Kvalsund – Wega Mining) At a public meeting in Kvalsund, northern Norway, a full frontal attack on reindeer husbandry was launched by one of the parliamentary representatives for Finnmark, Olav Gunnar Ballo. The meeting had been called to discuss the issue of mining in the region where the international mining company Wega Mining has applied for permission to expand mineral mining, with the support of the local mayor and the majority of participants. Wega owns 18% of Nussir ASA which has the permit to mine what is believed to be Norway’s largest copper deposits at Nussir and Repparfjord. Ballo criticised reindeer husbandry for being subsidised, not moving with the times and standing in the way of development. The clip has also been televised. Ballo’s comments gained a lot of media exposure. The head of the Sami Reindeer Herders Association of Norway (NBR), Nils Henrik Sara was shocked and alarmed at Ballo’s comments, especially as he is sitting in the national parliament.
Reindeer herder Mikkel Nils A. Sara stressed that reindeer herders were not against development…
The Local, Sweden Two Sami reindeer herders were narrowly missed by a falling space rocket launched from the Esrange space station in northern Sweden in the beginning of April. Saarivuoma Sami village has demanded that safety be improved.”It was lucky that the rocket did not fall on our heads. Otherwise we wouldn’t be sitting here,” said one of the reindeer herders, Per Ola Blind, to news agency TT.
En raket från rymdbasen Esrange slog ned nära två renskötare i början av april.
– Tur att man inte fick raketen i huvudet, säger en av renskötarna. Nu kräver Saarivuoma sameby att säkerheten förbättras
A recent story from the ITAR-TASS newswire reminds one of the everyday dangers that reindeer herders face in Russia, and of course elsewhere, travelling as they do in remote and hazardous regions throughout the Arctic.
YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, April 14 (Itar-Tass) – The body of one of five missing reindeer herders was found under snow debris in Kolyma’s Severo-Evensk district. The Ural truck that was carrying five reindeer herders that went missing in February was found under a five-meter layer of pressed snow on April 8. The first body was found under the truck. A tractor, a bulldozer and 15 rescuers keep clearing the snow debris to find the remaining four bodies.
The missing reindeer herders on February 25 set out in the Ural truck from their brigade’s camp along the 200-kilometre road to the Evensk settlement but never reached the destination. The reindeer herders had no communication equipment when they departed.
Two Sami villages in northern Sweden have been denied compensation from the state-owned mining company LKAB for the time village representatives spent on planning for the relocation of Kiruna. The reindeer herding villages of Gaban and Leavas first turned to the government for money to make up for time spent tending to the relocation of nearby Kiruna instead of tending to their reindeer. After the government refused the request, they then turned to the LKAB mining company for 500,000 kronor ($82,000) to cover income lost due to the consultation process.
LKAB is funding the relocation of Kiruna’s city centre so the company can continue operating a lucrative mine which has created underground cracks that threaten to sink the city in the coming years.
(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 Abramovichwas 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.
(from Aftenposten) Reindeer herding in northern Norway is under constant threat from development that’s encroaching on grazing areas. Now state officials say they’ll heed warnings that reindeer operations will die out within 50 years.
“It’s a clear goal of this government to maintain today’s level of reindeer herding,” Ola T Heggem, state secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture (Landbruksdepartementet), told Aftenposten on Monday. “It will be preserved.”
This was in response to criticisms from the Sami Reindeer Herders Association about the loss of reindeer pastures due to uncontrolled cabin development.
Reindeer Luck is a TV series that is to premiere on NRK national TV next week. It follows the Eira family in Kautokeino, one of the largest herding families in the region, on their reindeer migration, slaughter and earmarking and more besides. See more about the series here.