December News

Winter is here and net and seining harvests are about to begin, they are well under way in Sámi areas further North.

After the workshop and release of the new Jokkmokk Sámi book in Sweden, Snowchange Co-op has been busy working in preparation for 2014. The Ponoi and Neiden reports are being prepared for an online release in early 2014 and preparations for the international Workshops in Sevettijärvi and Lovozero in March 2014 are underway. In late October Snowchange hosted the Chief of the Yukaghir Council of Elders, mr. Vyacheslav Shadrin in Selkie, North Karelia with extensive talks for the work in Kolyma for 2014. In early December Alaskan researcher Henry Huntington arrived for talks in Selkie. Participation in the International Workshop ”Symposium on the Use of Indigenous and Local Knowledge to Monitor and Manage Natural Resources” took place in Copenhagen, Denmark in early December with various Arctic stakeholders, including Inuit Circumpolar Council, Greenlandic organisations, Russian Indigenous delegates and Norwegian Sámi. Work for the Arctic Resilience Report traditional knowledge proceeds with a busy Autumn behind us and new plans for the 2014 being made in the frame of “arctic resilience.”

Domestically, In November 2013 the Vaara-Karjalan kulttuuriperintöhanke – Cultural Heritage of (Vaara) Karelia exhibit and booklet have been launched and are currently touring the communities of Koli, Jakokoski and Kontiolahti. The poster exhibit has received positive reviews in media and will open in Joensuu and municipal center in 2014. Three rotating exhibits have been created. They are accessible online currently at

Work in the Jukajoki watershed in North Karelia proceeds well. The river restorative sites have been reviewed in the Autumn 2013, and at least two academic master thesises are under way regarding the river. The Linnunsuo wetland unit is the first one to be co-managed by the authorities, VAPO company and the villages. A new academic paper was released 11th December 2013 – “Oral histories as a baseline of landscape restoration – co-management and watershed knowledge in Jukajoki river”

This article explores local oral histories and selected communal written texts and their role in the severely damaged watershed of Jukajoki [and adjacent lake Jukajärvi watershed] located in Kontiolahti and Joensuu municipalities, North Karelia, Finland. All in all 35 narratives were collected 2010-2012. Four narratives have been presented in this paper as an example of the materials. Empirical materials have been analysed by using a framework of both Integrated Ecosystem Management and co-management. Three readings of the river Jukajoki and the adjacent watershed emerged from the materials – Sámi times, Savo-Karelian times and times of damages, or the industrial age of the river. Local knowledge, including optic histories, provided information about pre-industrial fisheries, fish ecology and behaviour and bird habitats. Lastly, special oral histories of keepers of the local tradition provided narratives which are consistent with inquiries from other parts of Finland, non-Euclidian readings of time and space and hint at what the Indigenous scholars have proposed as an intimate interconnection between nature and human societies extending beyond notions of social-ecological systems. Empirical oral histories also conceptualize collaborative governance with a formal role of local ecological knowledge as a future management option for the Jukajoki watershed. Watershed restoration and associated baseline information benefits greatly from the oral histories recorded with people who still remember pre-industrial and pre-war ecosystems and their qualities.  It is available here:

Lastly the spin-off restoration project in lake Kuivasjärvi watershed in Pirkanmaa, Finland proceeds with funds in place and local knowledge interviews underway. Photographic materials from 1940s onwards provide powerful optic histories and sites of change, and major water measurements and restoration targets are expected to begin early January 2014.

With that, Seasons greetings from Snowchange – see you in 2014!


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