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Mourning the Loss of a Prominent Indigenous Knowledge Holder from Siberia

Oktjabrina Naumova, an Evenk knowledge holder from Iengra, Republic of Sakha-Yakutia, Russia

Oktjabrina Naumova, an Evenk knowledge holder from Iengra, Republic of Sakha-Yakutia, Russia

Snowchange Cooperative joins the village of Iengra and the Evenk families in mourning the loss of a prominent traditional knowledge holder, mrs. Oktjabrina Naumova. She passed away last friday, 10th April, 2015 in Republic of Sakha-Yakutia, Siberia, Russia.

Mrs. Naumova worked in various positions in the village of Iengra, including teaching at the school. She was masterful in Evenk traditional handicrafts. Snowchange worked with mrs. Naumova to organise the international conference Snowchange 2007: Traditions of the North in Iengra and Neriungri.

Additionally mrs. Naumova was a co-researcher in the Snowchange oral history work in Iengra between 2005 and 2010 carried out according to the wishes of the Evenk leadership and the Institute of the Indigenous Peoples, in Yakutsk.

Mrs. Naumova was also internationally known for her work to assist on the of the most powerful traditional knowledge holders, Elder Vasiliev from Iengra. Mr. Vasiliev passed away in Autumn 2013. Together they travelled in many parts of Russia and foreign countries, including the UK, sharing the Evenk traditions and culture in many events and occasions.

Snowchange sends condolences to the family and relatives of mrs. Naumova, on behalf of the whole international network of communities and peoples in the movement. We will make sure the lifework of mrs. Naumova is carried on, for example in the future plans to create the Evenk Atlas of Iengra.

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Major Watershed Restoration Funding for Boreal Catchment Area in Finland

Water measurements in Jukajoki area in 2013. Snowchange, 2015

Water measurements in Jukajoki area in 2013. Snowchange, 2015

Snowchange coordinates now for five years the ecological restoration of Jukajoki river catchment area in North Karelia, Finland. The river and lake are located in the boreal zone of Finland.

The Selkie Village Council has now succeeded in securing funds, in the range of 200,000 euro, to proceed with next steps of this high-profile ecological restoration project.

Funders include the State of Finland, local municipalities and the city of Joensuu as well as private businesses, fishermen’s organisations, villages and land owners. The project is slated to finish in late 2017.

In concrete terms, during the next three years man-made wetland units and other restoration activities, including restoration of wetland marsh-mires, will be conducted. Aim is to allow the return of lake-bound, extremely rare Atlantic salmon stocks and lake trout as spawning species to the river by 2025. The watershed contains the man-made wetland unit “Linnunsuo“, 120 hectares, constructed in 2012-2013, that has become number 1 wader habitat in Finland – attracting rare species such as Terek Sandpipers. The Linnunsuo site is co-managed and hunting is allowed there in the Autumn.

The Jukajoki project has embraced, for the first time, the traditional knowledge of the local Finnish-Karelian Fishermen to be equally relevant as scientific data in restoration, monitoring and healing the river. This has not been done in Finland to this extent before. Restoration activities have attracted also a wide range of international attention. The Näätämö co-management project in Sámi area of Finland follows in dialogue the Jukajoki activities. Similar watershed restoration has emerged in Kuivasjärvi, West Finland. The Jukajoki case has been also featured in workshops in Canada as a model of boreal restoration project in 2013. In November 2014 the Indigenous Australians from Yarrabah, managing the East Trinity Reserve in Queensland, entered into a dialogue for cooperation in 2015 regarding similar restoration needs in acidic soil catchment areas.

The river project received accolades from the UNEP in July 2014, several English -language peer-reviewed papers have been written about the river, an U.S. film crew is to release two films about the situation in Autumn 2015, and major international newspapers, such as the Foreign Policy in Washington, D.C., USA have referred to the project in 2014. All in all, already 2,7 million euros have been spent on the project since 2010. The project represents a new style of ecological restoration in the boreal zone, that fully embraces local peoples traditions, uses of the waters and lands and rights as a key factor in restoration and combines them with the latest ecological science.

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New Report on Local Knowledge and Resource Management Featuring Snowchange released

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

The Nordic Council of Ministers has released today a PDF online report on Local Knowledge and Resource Management, featuring Snowchange case studies from Siberia and Sámi areas.

It is available here.

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Irish Diamond Company Pulls out of Sámi Territory in Finland

 

A view of lake Pulmanki in the Utsjoki region, Finland, January, 2007. Snowchange, 2015

A view of lake Pulmanki in the Utsjoki region, Finland, January, 2007. Snowchange, 2015

Karelian Diamond Resources – KDR, an Irish mining company that was granted potentially illegal permission to start exploring for diamonds in Utsjoki, Finland is pulling out.

The media reports in the Independent in Dublin, Ireland, confirm the company is pulling out.

The KDR company wanted to explore and potentially develop diamond mining inside the strict Kevo Nature Reserve, which is also a crucial Sámi Indigenous cultural area. The Finnish mining authority TUKES, against international and legal law, provided the licenses to the company last year.

The local Sámi organisations and other stakeholders formed a “Anti-Mining Coalition of Deatnu Valley” to resist the plans. Snowchange Cooperative provided technical assistance to the coalition in their communique with the company and raised the issue during a high-level panel at the recent World Parks Congress, held in Sydney, Australia, November 2014.

The decision by the company provides an important victory to all resisting parties involved in the mining issue, and a crucial example for future claims in the area.

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Trailer for the “Jukajoki” Film Released

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Our Place on Earth and Jukajoki are the two films to be released in Autumn 2015, both of which document the lives, cultures, places and nature of a small village of Selkie, in North Karelia, Finland.

At the center of the two films is the Jukajoki restoration project – a UN-recognized attempt to revitalize the heavily-damaged watershed of a former lake salmon and trout ecosystem, by combining Finnish-Karelian traditional knowledge, fisheries, and latest science.

On the trailer one of the subsistence fishermen, Heikki Roivas, central to the restoration project, speaks about the impacts, damages and restoration. Director Markku Pölönen, a nationally known artist who lives in Selkie, talks about Finnish relationship with nature. Tero Mustonen, head of the village, explains the context and directions that the project means locally, nationally and internationally.

Both films are to be released in September, 2015. The trailer is here.

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