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