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Reindeer Herders camp during winter

International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry, UArctic EALAT Institute and World Reindeer Herders in unique cooperation with the Arctic Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center are committed to empowering Reindeer Herding and other Indigenous youth to be leaders in their communities. We welcome Indigenous Youth from the Circumpolar North aged 18-29 years old to apply for the Indigenous Youth Leadership workshop in Arendal, Norway before August 1, 2022

Many Indigenous Peoples are deeply connected to their environments and hold unique important knowledge of food systems, land and water. Hunters, herders and gatherers are unique custodians of the environment surrounding them, for thousands of years they have helped to conserve biodiversity in the Arctic and the Circumpolar North through their daily work they have become active monitors of the environment and stewards of tundra and taiga. As communities and ecosystems are affected by a rapidly changing Arctic climate, it is important to monitor and understand the impacts on both, and to work together to support social-ecological resilience and the ability of communities and the ecosystems they depend upon to thrive through uncertainty and shocks.

Youth are not only the leaders of tomorrow. Their unique ideas, perspectives and energy are critical to support communities today. This workshop will create a space for indigenous youth to acquire knowledge, skills and a network of peers to support their communities to be resilient in the face of the rapid and dramatic impacts of climate change.

The workshop will focus on: permafrost thaw, food systems and wetlands, while helping students to build skills such as communications, crisis management and negotiations.

The purpose of the workshop is to bring together 20 exceptional Indigenous youth leaders from across the Circumpolar North to share knowledge and experiences regarding the impacts of climate change, to increase understanding of Indigenous Peoples food systems, to build competence and confidence for leadership, provide youth with important skills to support the needs and interests of their communities, and build our understanding of how to advance the resilience of communities.

Participants of the Indigenous Youth Community Resilience Leadership Program will first meet from 15-19 August in Arendal, Norway. They will then meet again in Cambridge, United States in January 2023 to continue their skills and knowledge development.


James J McCarthy - Leadership Seminar for Arctic Indigenous Youth Leaders

In January 25-29, 2021, International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry and the Arctic Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government conducted a training seminar for talented and emerging Arctic indigenous leaders, in memory of Professor James J McCarthy and his strong dedication to the Arctic.

28 young indigenous peoples from around the circumpolar Arctic have worked together in the last week of January 2021, learned together and innovated together to come up with solutions to challenges facing their communities.

The seminar was built on recent progress in the fields of resilience, adaptation and leadership, with the purpose of providing competence and confidence building for Arctic indigenous youth for a more sustainable future in the Arctic and beyond.

A five day intensive virtual seminar co-taught by Indigenous leaders and science and policy experts from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.


 This five day seminar covered topics from:

  • Building Resilience During Rapid Change
  • Indigenous Knowledge and Multiple Ways of Knowing
  • Finding Opportunities Through Resilience
  • Leading Through Crisis (such as COVID-19)
  • Innovating and Leading in a Changing World


Using simulations, case studies, skills-based workshops and Lavvu dialogs students were building the competence and confidence to step into leadership in their home communities and beyond.




logos hks icr


Video-presentations by indigenous leaders and Arctic experts:










We are sorry to inform that the planned 1st Arctic Indigenous Peoples' Food Congress in Kautokeino, Norway, March 9-13, 2020, is cancelled, due to the  international corona virus outbreak. This decision has been made by the head of the medical authorities in Kautokeino together with the Mayor in Kautokeino and the organizers. 

From the organizers side this situation is of course mostly regrettable and sad. However, we must follow the decisions and guidelines of the health authorities in Norway. 
Yours sincerely, 
on behalf of organisers of the 1st Arctic Indigenous Peoples´ Food Congress, 
Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH)
International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR)

University of the Arctic EALÁT Institute at ICR (UEI)


С большим сожалением сообщаем, что в связи с международной вспышкой коронавируса, запланированный на 9-13 марта 2020 года первый Арктический Конгресс Коренных Народов по Питанию отменен. Это решение было принято начальником службы здравоохранения Каутокейно и мэром муниципалитета Каутокейно, совместно с организаторами мероприятия.
Ситуация очень досадная и печальная, но нам необходимо следовать решениям и рекомендациям органов здравоохранения Норвегии.

от имени организаторов первого Арктического Конгресса Коренных Народов по Питанию, 

Ассоциация "Оленеводы Мира"

Международный центр оленеводства

Институт циркумполярного олеенводства Университета Арктики



The brochure ‘World Reindeer Husbandry: People, Distribution and Challenges’ is a 2 sided brochure that gives a visual representation of the distribution of world reindeer husbandry and has information about the different peoples that practice reindeer husbandry.

The brochure has a map that shows where reindeer husbandry is practiced, has detailed information about who practices reindeer husbandry, how many reindeer herders and semi domesticated reindeer there are in the world and outlines the challenges that reindeer husbandry faces.

Currently in English, this brochure will in the future be available in Russian and Sámi languages. More information and download here. This brochure is a project of the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry in partnership with the Association of World Reindeer Herders and was part funded by the Reindeer Husbandry Administration. If you would like to have a printed copy of the brochure mailed to you, you can contact us at info(at)

World Reindeer Husbandry, Peoples, Distribution and Challenges

Alternatively, you can download the World Reindeer Husbandry Brochure

Traditional Knowledge and Education in Reindeer Husbandry – Boazoealáhusaárbeviroláš Máhttu ja Oahpaheapmi – Tradisjonell kunnskap og opplæring i reindriften

The Reindeer Herding Women’s Network has been active for nearly a decade and has placed at the forefront of its efforts the preservation and development traditional knowledge in reindeer husbandry. The network was officially created in 1999. The overriding intention of the Network has been to strengthen family based reindeer herding and the education of children and young people. In 2002, the Network started work towards the creation of a dedicated educational centre for reindeer husbandry. In 2009, the BIRGEN project was initiated as a cooperation between the Reindeer Herding Women’s Network and the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry.

“Herding has traditionally been a family-based industry. The Goahti was our home, migrating with reindeer was our life and our means of transportation. Reindeer herds and the siida were at the core of our lifestyle and workplace, and the whole family was present all year round “( Ellen Marie Turi Gaup)

Project Coordinator

Karen Inga Kemi

  • Project tasks: Maintaining a focus on traditional knowledge and training reindeer herders in the importance of womens perpsectives in reindeer husbandry through participation in various events such as conferences or meetings.
  • Conducting seminars Network Development: Maintaining and expanding the current Network and developing cooperation between various networks in different regions of reindeer husbandry.
  • Knowledge development: to gather and systematize information related to the work of the Network such as reports, audio-visual material, teaching materials etc.
  • Education: Investigate measures to improve the conditions for traditional knowledge and education in reindeer husbandry, including the development of learning materials,

Visit the BIRGEN website

The future for reindeer husbandry in the Barents region is highly dependent on the availability of grazing land. extensive oil and gas development will likely lead to loss of vital ranges, in particular coastal summer pastures and calving grounds. Reindeer husbandry and Barents 2030 presents new potential scenarios for reindeer husbandry, combining the GLOBIO methodology for mapping loss of biodiversity with the extensive oil and gas development pictured in the barlindhaug scenarios. This report was prepared by the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry in collaboration with NORUT, UNEP-GRID Arendal and others.

Short-term recommendations and options

  1. Raise awareness and enhance capacity building by the further development of courses in industrial and indigenous adaptation and mitigation processes involving all parties. These courses should integrate traditional knowledge and up-to-date scientific knowledge on impacts on indigenous peoples and subsistence livelihoods.
  2. Further develop courses in training of indigenous peoples in environmental and social impact assessments and in negotiations concerning industrial development projects.
  3. Increase outreach and information capacity of relevant publications through translations of documents into Russian and selected major indigenous languages for regions particularly exposed to development.

Mid-term recommendations and options

  1. Support the development of Arctic ethical standards and guidelines applying to industry with regard to involvement of indigenous peoples in industrial development processes.
  2. Include and consider the impacts of industrial development projects on the ability of indigenous peoples to adapt to a changing climate
  3. Adopt a no net loss policy with regard to availability of grazing ranges, so that indirect losses of grazing land from new development is compensated with either restoration, support to adaptation and mitigation measures where effective, or increased access to ranges elsewhere.

Long-term recommendations and options

  1. Develop an integrated management plan also for the Barents sea land region involving and balancing the land changes associated with industrial and infrastructure development, climate change and the long-term sustainability of reindeer husbandry.


Reindeer Husbandry and Barents 2030 by International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry

Two full size promotional posters are also available for download that highlight the findings of this report

EALÁT Information – Reindeer Herding, Traditional Knowledge and Adaptation to Climate Change and Loss of Grazing Land

EALÁT Information is Norwegian Arctic Council project organized by Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH), in close cooperation with International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR), Reindeer Herders’ Union of Russia (RHUR), Sami Council and the Sámi University College (SA). EALÁT- information project is a part of IPY EALÁT – Reindeer herding and climate change which has received full IPY endorsement (ID: 399).Indigenous peoples in the Arctic face major challenges related to changes in their society and the northern climate. More than 20 indigenous peoples are reindeer herders. There is an urgent need to inform the Arctic nations both about the changes to which they are subjected and give some concrete examples how herders’ traditional knowledge relates to adaptation to changing conditions, including traditional use of grazing land.

Partnership between Russian and Sámi reindeer herders in such an information project is an important and creative step towards this. Locally case study based workshops organized in the reindeer herding societies in the most important reindeer herding regions will focus on information how traditional knowledge are used and how traditional grazing land are lost. Subsequently, Arctic Council EALÁT-Information will communicate from these community based workshops to the SAOs and finally to the ministerial meeting in Norway in 2009. EALÁT-information promotes local competence building for indigenous peoples. The challenge of Arctic Council EALÁT-Information is to take reindeer herders’ knowledge into action for sustainable development of the Arctic and, in particular, to involve Russian and Scandinavian reindeer herders in this process.

A 30 minute documentary entitled EALÁT – People and Reindeer in a Changing Climate was made by ICR’s Philip Burgess. You can watch it in full below

A book, entitled EALÁT. Reindeer Herders Voice: Reindeer Herding, Traditional Knowledge and Adaptation to Climate Change and Loss of Grazing Lands edited by Anders Oskal, Svein D. Mathiesen, Johan Mathis Turi and Philip Burgess is also a product of this project. This book is a two years mid term report from a Norwegian information project in the Arctic Council entitled EALÁT. The term «ealát» is from the language of the indigenous Sámi people of Fennoscandia, and means «good pasture». This word is related to the term «eallu», which means «herd» and the origin of these terms derives from the word «eallin», or «life». In other words, pastures are the foundation for the reindeer herd, and reindeer herds are the foundation for the lives of reindeer herding peoples.

EALÁT. Reindeer Herders Voice: Reindeer Herding, Traditional Knowledge and Adaptation to Climate Change and Loss of Grazing Lands

The project has now reached completion and has evolved into other projects in Scandinavia and Russia.

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