Oral History Work in Sakha-Yakutia

Chukchi nomadic Turvaurgin in reindeer separation, Winter 2005. Photo: Snowchange

Chukchi nomadic Turvaurgin in reindeer separation, Winter 2005. Photo: Snowchange

Since 2003 Snowchange has worked with the various local and Indigenous communities of Republic of Sakha-Yakutia, Siberia, Russia. More specifically, Snowchange Cooperative works in three regions of Republic of Sakha-Yakutia, Siberia, Russia:

  1. Neriungri region: Main work takes place with the Evenk of Iengra
  2. Taatta region: Work connections with the village of Tuora-Kel
  3. Lower Kolyma: Two Indigenous Chukchi communities, Turvaurgin and Nutendli, in the settlement of Kolymskaya. Community residents practice seasonal nomadic reindeer herding and other subsistence activities that are being affected by climate change. The Arctic Peoples College of Cherskii is also a partner
Petja Kaurgin in Chaigurginoo, summer 2014. Snowchange, 2014

Petja Kaurgin in Chaigurginoo, summer 2014. Snowchange, 2014

Between 2003-2009 we partnered with the UNEP Project ‘ECORA’ in the Lower Kolyma region. Since 2009 Snowchange has continued the ecological monitoring efforts and other partnerships in Sakha-Yakutia. Between 2008-2013 the region was included in the Arctic Biodiversity Asssessment. A flagship publication, ‘Life in the Cyclic World’, contains the traditional knowledge materials from these years. Since 2008 we have partnered with ELOKA – Exchange of Local Knowledge Observations in the Arctic.

ELOKA

ELOKA

These ELOKA pages document the oral history work

with the communities and Snowchange.

Evenk woman on the way to the sacred mountain, Southern Sakha-Yakutia, Russia in Spring 2006. Photo: Snowchange, 2015

Evenk woman on the way to the sacred mountain, Southern Sakha-Yakutia, Russia in Spring 2006. Photo: Snowchange, 2015

In the almost 15 years of work in the region, the portfolio of collaborations has included:

Chukchi knowledge holder Jegor Nutendli, 2010.

Chukchi knowledge holder Jegor Nutendli, 2010.

The Snowchange work has been documented in media too. For example National Geographic has worked with us to share the stories from Kolyma.

In conclusion we can say that the Indigenous societies of Kolyma are on a historical path of retraditionalisation. They have preserved nomadic way of life through the Soviet times, emerged as survivors from the early post-Soviet times and are now transforming their societies to come through the Arctic climate and cultural change with their core systems intact in the 21st Century. We can determine that these unique nomadic communities are a shining beacon of light and hope in one of the harshest climates of the Arctic.