Major EALLU Seminar in Yakutsk this Weekend

November 24, 2016 • Philip Burgess

1_primary_logo_256A significant EALLU seminar takes place this weekend in the city of Yakutsk, the capital of the Republic of Sakha. The seminar is being organized by the ICR, WRH and a number of other organizers both local and international.

The seminar is entitled: ‘A FUTURE VISION FOR THE REINDEER MEAT INDUSTRY, The Role of New Technologies and Traditional Knowledge‘. Welcomes will be given by the Norwegian Ambassador to Russia, the Minister for Education and the Minister for Federal Relations and External Affairs of the Sakha Republic, the Rector of the University of Tromsø, the President of the University of the Arctic and the Director of the Northern Forum.

The seminar will take place all day Saturday, November 26th and will be followed by a field excursions and further workshops and discussions on indigenous food systems and the EALLU Arctic Cookbook, a delivery the Arctic Council.

See the full programme below, 

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EALLU Seminar in Cherski Arctic College, Sakha Republic

November 10, 2015 • Philip Burgess

Cherski arrivalCherski is a small village of under three thousand people, on the Kolyma river, close to the Arctic Ocean and is the administrative center of the Nizhnekolymsky District in the Sakha Republic, Russia, nearly 2000 kilometers east  of Yakutsk or a four hour flight (like many remote villages in Sakha, it is not connected to the road system).

The EALLU team of ICR and WRH are there this week holding seminars and meetings with the Arctic College in the town, and also with local and regional administrators to talk about the challenges facing reindeer husbandry and the EALLU goal of highlighting the knowledge and value of traditional foods. The team (Inger Anita Smuk, Elna Sara, Mikkel Anders Kemi, Ravna Maret Buljo, Svetlana Avelova, Alena Gerasimova and Svein Mathiesen) will also travel to the tundra to meet with herders. They will need warm clothes! Current temperatures for Cherski are below -20C  and falling. See photos from the early part of the visit and seminar below. See photos by Alexei Kurilov, a local journalist who was following the EALLU team here.

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Northern Forum Assembly Gets Underway. Focus on Traditional Food Included

November 3, 2015 • Philip Burgess

Northern_Forum logoTomorrow, 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. 

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Reindeer Boots for $2500?!

June 10, 2013 • Philip Burgess

Tenzing on EverestIt is one of the 20th century’s most memorable photos: the one Edmund Hillary took of Tenzing Norgay on May 29, 1953, standing at the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on earth. You might not know that he was wearing boots made from reindeer. Tenzing obviously had learned what peoples in the Arctic have always known, that if you want warm feet, wear footwear made from reindeer. Style and fashion blogs have just alighted on these boots in the last week, because Bally, the Swiss company that in the ’40s began custom-making boots for serious mountaineers, among them the pair that Tenzing wore for his storied ascent are making reindeer boots again. In honor of the anniversary of that climb — and the fact that the old-fashioned mountaineer has become a style model in men’s fashion — Bally is issuing a new version of the boots. The sole is lighter in weight and they lace more easily. But like the originals, they are available only by order, and they are still made of reindeer fur. They may never help you get to the top of a mountain, but, at $2,495 (USD), they will certainly help you scale your credit limit.

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Nomadic Herders Project Visits Iengra and Khatystyr, Sakha (Yakutia)

February 25, 2013 • Philip Burgess

Last week, Mikhail Pogodaev, Anna Degteva, Svein Mathiesen and Bjorn Alfthan headed south to visit potential areas of focus for the Nomadic Herders’ GEF project. We were accompanied by Anatoly Grigorjev, Director of the Union of Indigenous Obschinas of the Republic of Sakha, who knows first hand the issues and challenges facing reindeer herders’ in the region.

After a brief stop in Neryungri to discuss the project with the Head and Vice-Head of Neryungri District, we made our way to Iengra, a village 60 km south of Neryungri. There we had our first consultation meeting with reindeer herders and administrators of the village, to discuss the project and gather feedback on priorities for the project. After Pogodaev presented the primary concepts of the project, we covered many topics related to reindeer herding, land use change and biodiversity. Priorities emerging from the discussions included the need for dialogue with industry on land use issues; significant problems with wolf predation; and how to engage youth into the future.

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“If there were no Reindeer there’d be no Eveny. If there were no Eveny there’d be no reindeer!”

December 8, 2008 • Philip Burgess

So said reindeer herder Alexander Zamyatin, in a video article on Russia Today last week. Alexander spoke of the the challenges facing reindeer herders in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) that included a low salary ($250 / month) that was not always paid and he and his wifes fear for the future as younger people are not choosing reindeer herding as a viable choice for the future, a worrying phenomena for the future of Eveny reindeer herding. Said Rimma Zamyatin,

“Young people go off to university and are tempted by the big city. They don’t want to return to a nomadic way of life. So we must try our best to keep children inspired and teach them how to both love this environment and live in it,”


The Arctic Oil Rush (Vanity Fair)

April 23, 2008 • Philip Burgess

(Pic: Subhankar Banerjee, Vanity Fair) An interesting article has appeared in the May 2008 edition of Vanity Fair by Alex Shoumatoff. He writes about Chilangarov’s hugely popular (in Russia, not the rest of the world) stunt of planting a flag on the seabed of the North Pole,

“I don’t give a damn what all these foreign politicians … are saying about this. If someone doesn’t like this, let them go down themselves and try to put something there. Russia must win. Russia has what it takes to win. The Arctic has always been Russian.” (A. Chilangarov)

But of most interest to the Reindeer Blog is what he writes about reindeer husbandry and the challenges they face in Sakha Yakutia in the face of climate change – which in mainstream Russian scientific circles is not happening, a notion contradicted by Bob Corell (Arctic Climate Impact Assessment author, Heinz Center scientist and EALAT team member also quoted in the article). The mainstream view in Russia is that it is currently getting colder. The author visited several villages in Sakha Yakutia interviewing reindeer herders, horse breeders and wild reindeer hunters.

Read the full article here. / Download pdf here


Risks of Reindeer Husbandry Highlighted

April 19, 2008 • Philip Burgess

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.

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Evenki, Reindeer and the East Siberian Pacific Pipeline

April 15, 2008 • Philip Burgess

(From Arctic Sounder, by TAMAR BEN-YOSEF, April 11, 2008 at 11:19AM AKST The struggle by Alaska’s Inupiat to protect their culture in face of resource development has drawn the attention of indigenous leaders in Russia facing near-identical challenges.

A delegation of four Russian indigenous leaders from the Sakha Republic showed up in Barrow and Nuiqsut last week to meet tribal leaders, organizations and local residents to learn about Inupiat methods of protecting their culture.

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