Reindeer Herding

Nomadic kindergarten is created for the children of reindeer herders

June 25, 2018 • Alena Gerasimova

Фото: globallookpress

About 20 children will not part with their parents and spend time in kindergarten as early as August 1.

The reindeer herders of the two brigades of the “Nenets community” Kanin ” will be able to visit the nomadic kindergarten directly in the tundra from August 1, without separating from their parents. In addition to the standard set of skills for the preschool institution, the children will have the opportunity to communicate in their native language and get to know the culture of their people.

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Student from the Herzen University defends master thesis about Nenets and Sami Reindeer Herding Vocabularly

• Alena Gerasimova

 Nechei Serotetto who  Nechei Serotetto, from reindeer herding family in Yamal, is a graduate student of the Institute of the Peoples of the North of the Herzen University in Saint-Petersburg, who also participated in the Arctic Council EALLU project, she has successfully defended her master thesis: Nenets and Saami reindeer herding vocabulary as a way of maintaining national traditions. Nechei is also a co-author of the EALLU cook book, where she writes about traditional knowldge on consuming reindeer meat. The field of scientific interest of Nechei is the study of traditional knowledge about ways to preserve products from reindeer, as well as the methods of traditional slaughtering of reindeer. She conducted a comparative analysis of traditional knowledge and technologies for butchering reindeer from the Saami of Norway and the Nenets of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District. For this, Nechei studied the Sami language at the Saami University of Applied Sciences in Kautokeino for a year. In addition, Nechei has also contributed to the work of the Rievdan project.



Most of reindeer will die in Yamal: the authorities of the region announced a rescue plan

April 23, 2018 • Alena Gerasimova

According to URA.RU, Yamal reindeer herdingо will face a major decline in the next ten years. This conclusion was made by scientists after geobotanical studies conducted in the Yamalskiy and Tazovskiy districts. Due to the impoverishment of the food base, reindeer will soon have nothing to eat. These dates were announced at a closed meeting by the first deputy governor of Yamal – Alexei Sitnikov. 

Sitnikov said that Yamal is threatened with the same thing that happened in Alaska in the 1930s. For 10 years because of hunger, the number of reindeer decreased from 600 thousand to 20 thousand animals. Yamal, with 760 ooo grazing reindeer,  is now facing a similar problem. Last year’s experiment to increase slaughtering capacities has failed. A detailed study showed that the number of reindeer in each individual family is below the necessary norm and herders simply can not  send animals for slaughter. The root of the problem lies in the number of families leading the traditional nomadic way of life. There are more than 3370 such families in Yamal. To solve the problem, no less than two thousand families need to be moved to towns and villages. At the moment this is impossible.

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Council meeting of the Association of World Reindeer Herders will be held in Salekhard

February 6, 2018 • Alena Gerasimova

Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH) will have its fisrt Council meeting in Russia. Reindeer herders who are members of the WR Council from 29 reindeer herding regions of the world will gather in Salekhard on March 24-25, where the national festivel ” The Reindeer Herder’s Day” will also take place.

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The IV Reindeer Herders Congress of Russia will be held in Yakutsk

March 11, 2017 • Alena Gerasimova

The IV Reindeer Herders Congress of Russia will be held in Yakutsk on March 16-19, 2017. Delegates and guests from 20 Russian reindeer herding regions and foreign guests are expected to arrive.

Participants will discuss the main problems and directions in the development of the Northern domestic reindeer industry of the country, they also will discuss the strengthening of relationships between  reindeer herding regions of Russia, exchange experience in the field of reindeer herding.

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“Keepers of the Land” film was shown in Monaco during the “Students on Ice” Launch

January 12, 2017 • Alena Gerasimova

“Keepers of the Land” is shown in Monaco in the presence of HSH the Sovereign Prince Albert II

Director of the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry and also a representative of the of the UArctic EALAT Institute Anders Oskal within the partnership with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, gave a presentation with regard to the current situation and the rapid changes in reindeer herding areas of the Arctic experienced by this region. 

The meeting was launched on 11th January at the Lycée Technique et Hôtelier of Monaco, in the presence of HSH the Sovereign Prince. During his presentation Anders shared a documentary called “The Keepers of the Land” with Prince Albert II of Monaco and with the audience which was mainly represented by the students from “Students On Ice” programme. 

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Voice of a young reindeer herder about nomadic family

June 2, 2014 • Alena Gerasimova
Igor is hunting in taiga. Photo by Yuri Kokovin

Facing the second reading of the draft law “On Nomadic Family” in June 2014 in Yakutsk, we decided to publish a short article where young reindeer herder from Iengra village (south of Sakha Republic (Yakutia), Russia) expresses his concern about reindeer herding families and the future of traditional knowledge:

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Reindeer herders in Yakutia talk about the Law “On Nomadic Family”

• Alena Gerasimova
maria pogodaeva (c) YASIA

Maria Pogodaeva. Photo by YASIA

The draft law “On Nomadic Family” was adopted in the first reading on April 14, 2010. Now, four years have passed. In June this year, the Standing Committee on Arctic Indigenous Peoples of the State Assembly (Il Tumen) of Sakha Republic (Yakutia) will introduce a revised draft for the second reading. The Working Group of this project included scientists, representatives of public indigenous organizations, ministries and departments.

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Debate on Mining in Finnmark Heats Up

May 4, 2010 • Philip Burgess

(Map shows the mining claims in Kvalsund, an area important to migratory reindeer husbandry in Northern Norway, source: NGU) According to an article on TV2, one of the largest networks in Norway, Finnmark is sitting on a potential ‘treasure trove’ of over 1 billion NOK of valuable minerals and including cooper, gold, iron ore and valuable natural stones.

Helga Pedersen, deputy leader of the governing Labour Party was quoted as saying,

We are for mineral exploration in Inner Finnmark – But it’s not that we can say yes all, everywhere and at any price. We must also develop this industry and take account of the environment and to those on the plateau before (mining)

Here she is of course referring to the indigenous Sami, many of whom (especially reindeer herders) have been critical of the current ‘gold rush’ for minerals that is occurring in Finnmark. Surprisingly perhaps, Pedersen herself is of Sami ancestry and she has been a vigorous supporter of developing mining in the county. Legal researcher, Øyvind Ravna is quoted in the article as saying,

A charge should be introduced which would provide direct compensation to the  indigenous Sami people if they are  to accept such activities in their core areas

Ravna pointed to the activities of some mining ventures in Canada where First Nations are compensated directly for mining activity on their land. Pedersen is quick to rule out talk of compensation for mining for the Sami, which would be very unpopular among many Norwegian communities,

Meanwhile, in the regional media, the County Mayor of Finnmark is quoted as saying that people are getting angry that mining is being held up,

For far too long there has been talk of the great riches found in the county and how many jobs a new mining industry can provide. Now is the time that they should be realized otherwise people will become frustrated and eventually angry


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.


UN Criticizes Sweden – On Land Rights, Resources, Reindeer

August 19, 2008 • Philip Burgess

(Press release from the Saami Council) The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination criticizes Sweden for numerous forms of discrimination of the Saami people in unusually concrete and strong language, in particular with regard to the Saami people’s right to land.

The United Nations has for several years condemned Sweden for not recognizing the Saami people’s right to land and resources. Sweden has ignored this criticism so far taking no single action to end the discrimination of the Saami people identified by the UN. The UN now sharpens its criticism further. The UN Committee on Racial Discrimination released on Monday 18.8 its Concluding Observations on Sweden in which it calls on Sweden to take several concrete actions to end the human rights violations Sweden subjects the Saami people to.

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