News

Festival of Northern Fishing Traditions announced, Neil Young Concert in Helsinki

Vilen passing the fish on Chaigurginoo fish camp, Kolyma, Russia. Snowchange, 2016

Vilen passing the fish on Chaigurginoo fish camp, Kolyma, Russia. Snowchange, 2016

In July news, the second Festival of Northern Fishing Traditions is announced for 25th to 28th, August, 2016. Neil Young arrives in Helsinki to partner with Snowchange for the concert and new traditional knowledge publications are on their way. Summer is here!

Festival of Northern Fishing Traditions will be held in the community of Zhigansk, Republic of Sakha-Yakutia, Russia. This Indigenous Evenk community will host international delegates and discussions on professional and artesanal fisheries in the Circumpolar North.

Main organisers of the event are Snowchange Cooperative, the Northern Forum, Sakha institutions, ELOKA – Exchange of Local Observations and Knowledge in the Arctic, village of Zhigansk and other stakeholders. The delegates will travel from regional capital of Yakutsk to the village by a river boat on the Lena river.

Interested parties are urgently asked to inquire about the event from Snowchange HQ. Visas and travel arrangements are currently under way. The First Festival of Northern Fishing Traditions was held in North Karelia and Lapland, Finland in September 2014. Delegates included Swedish, Finnish and Russian Saami, Khanty, Finnish professional fishermen and other stakeholders.

On 3rd July Snowchange will appear in the Neil Young concert and ‘Global Village’ in Helsinki, Finland. We are very excited to participate and showcase the Snowchange international and domestic work to new audiences. Sámi delegates will participate too and Snowchange will present a gift to mr. Young for his long devotion to the issues of the environment and Indigenous and local traditional peoples.

Lastly, a major new traditional knowledge publication is slated for publication 14th, August, 2016. It will focus on the boreal catchment area of Kuivasjärvi, Western Finland, a place known to have preserved the endemic culture of the forest Finns the longest in the region. Book will be available in Finnish.

Harvesting crayfish in lake Kuivasjärvi in 1985. Snowchange, 2016

Harvesting crayfish in lake Kuivasjärvi in 1985. Snowchange, 2016

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‘Catastrophic’ Flooding Hits the Tuareg People of Ingall

Flood hits Ingall.

Flood hits Ingall.

Snowchange Co-op joins in support of the Tuareg Nomadic People, of Ingall, Niger. They have been hit by ‘catastrophic’ floods in the recent days. International support efforts are under way. More awareness is in need.

Animals have died in the flooding in great numbers.

Animals have died in the flooding in great numbers.

Mrs. Sarah Fortune, a Snowchange partner, and a Tuareg from Ingall, described the situation in a recent communications as: “The Situation is catastrophic. This is my village. Floods came and took the houses, animals – camels, cows – food. Thank God nobody died. Our traditional leaders are following the situation.”

Reports indicate 452 households are affected and 3587 people. Over 9800 sheep and 10,000 cows as well as 211 camels have perished. Over a 100 wells have ‘collapsed’.

Buildings have been affected.

Buildings have been affected.

The Tuareg have established an online support mechanism, here (in French) to contribute to the community. The Ingall village is famous for example for its petrified forest, and strong Tuareg Indigenous culture of nomadic lifestyles. Snowchange continues communications with the Tuareg at this time of need and coordinates solidarity efforts.

Dead animals close to Ingall.

Dead animals close to Ingall.

 

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Summer news

IMG_8976Summer, albeit very cold at the moment, is here! Snowchange newsletter follows.

In early June we participated in the US-Finnish Arctic Council LEO Workshop on traditional knowledge and observations regarding environmental change. This discussion continues, also with the Sámi from Norway and Sweden.

Work related to Waters

The community programmes are in full swing. Fish traps are in the water in Kesälahti, North Karelia and in Jukajoki river. Ecological restoration work along this catchment area enters its second year in full steam.

IMG_9140Similarly, the work in the Näätämö river catchment area with the Indigenous Skolt Sámi has begun. In late May and early June we conducted site visits to monitor birds, water quality and amounts and the fish situation. We are roughly one month ahead of a ‘normal’, followed by a extreme cold and 8 cm snow in the Skolt areas. Staff will continue to patrol the river in partnership with NordECO project this summer. A field report follows in September. Additional news will be posted through the summer here.

In Kuivasjärvi, in boreal catchment restoration work, we are to release a new Finnish language traditional knowledge book 14th August, 2016 and a seining event will be organised to support this launch.

International Partnerships

This summer, Snowchange teams up with Neil Young when he visits Helsinki! We are invited to his ‘Global Village’ and will be there – happy to meet all visitors on 3rd July, 2016. Snowchange will bring Sámi and Anisnaabe delegations to the event too!

IMG_7563We are tentatively co-organising the Festival of Northern Fishing Traditions 2 in the community of Zhigansk, Republic of Sakha-Yakutia, Siberia, Russia 26th to 28th, August, 2016. Watch this space for more announcements.

Arctic Council and other Arctic cooperation continues through the summer. With that – the best of summer to all ! Take contact if questions and updates will be made in early July.

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Life in the Cyclic World Report Released: Traditional Knowledge Compendium from Eurasia

Fish of Kolyma, drying. Snowchange, 2016

Fish of Kolyma, drying. Snowchange, 2016

Life in the Cyclic World has been in the making for a decade. It is based on the collected, analyzed and assessed traditional ecological knowledge for the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment of the Arctic Council. Between 2012 and 2016 the authors and the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna – CAFF, one of the Council’s working groups, exchanged drafts and versions to release this document as a Compendium. However this plan did not materialize and Snowchange Co-op publishes now these materials independently.

These materials are made available as originally planned, and cleared by the involved Indigenous organisations, communities, families and individuals. We hope this document will be of use in the understanding and discussions regarding Eurasian Arctic biodiversity and Indigenous peoples.

Vilen passing the fish on Cahigurginoo fish camp, Kolyma, Russia. Snowchange, 2016

Vilen passing the fish on Cahigurginoo fish camp, Kolyma, Russia. Snowchange, 2016

The TEK materials that have been included in this document come from the oral histories of the Indigenous communities in Sweden, Finland and Russia. There are some North American Indigenous materials in the first part of the document to position and offer scope to the discussions that follow.

A large body of the present volume is derived from the Snowchange oral history archival materials. All have been published before in scientific monographs, articles, community reports, books and other publicly available materials. All oral histories and Snowchange traditional materials that have been used have been discussed with the representatives of the Indigenous communities and organisations involved in a process that has lasted a decade.  The principles of Free, Prior, Informed consent – FPIC have been followed to the fullest when possible. Materials have been included from the oral history archives of the Snowchange Cooperative and a literature review. Main focus of the materials is 1999-2010.

Reindeer is forever. Snowchange, 2016

Reindeer is forever. Snowchange, 2016

Part 1 of the Compendium is a much-needed overview of the traditional knowledge and biodiversity of the Indigenous peoples of the Eurasian North. It includes reflections on the socio-ecological systems of the Indigenous Nations of this region. Questions of traditional customary systems, oral histories and governance are included. Critical examination of overharvests and their historical context is analyzed.

Lena Pillars, Sakha-Yakutia, Russia. Snowchange, 2016

Lena Pillars, Sakha-Yakutia, Russia. Snowchange, 2016

Part 2 includes an extensive description of the shifts and imposed changes of the region from late 1800s to the 2010s. Special focus includes oil and gas development, modernity, hydropower and forestry, mining, nature conservation, oceans, rivers, lakes and fisheries, mammals and birds. In the conclusions an initiative of nomadic schools for Siberia is proposed as one of the mechanisms to preserve traditional knowledge and communities on the land.

The Report is available here as a PDF.

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Neil Young to Invite Snowchange on the Upcoming Concert to Helsinki in July

Image courtesy of Wikipedia, 2016.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia, 2016.

Neil Young with his new band, the Promise of the Real, arrives in Helsinki 3rd July, 2016. He has invited the Finnish Snowchange Cooperative to join the event as a partner.

Representatives of mr. Young say: “As a way to illuminate issues Neil Young addresses on his new album The Monsanto Years, he’s invited a number of respected local and international organizations to join him on tour.  As members of Neil’s ‘Global Village’, each organization will have a booth and the opportunity to share information about their projects with Neil’s fans before the show. The Monsanto Years album has the reoccurring theme of sustainable farming, yet it also addresses a wide range of environmental and human rights issues like climate change, corporate accountability, social justice, renewable energy, ocean conservation, endangered species and more. Attending fans will have the opportunity to talk with organization representatives to learn valuable information about the most pressing ecological and social issues facing our planet today. Snowchange Co-op is a good partner in achieving this.

Tero Mustonen from Snowchange adds: “When the proposal for this cooperation came from the Neil Young HQ, it seemed natural and dignified. Young is a musician with a long career, he is much respected and his judgment appreciated. The situation in Finland requires new positive solutions, much in line of what mr. Young sings and talks about. We need to take care of our nature, by conserving the last intact marsh mires and old-growth boreal forests, by supporting the Indigenous Sámi people, and their rights and culture as well as supporting our traditional professional fishermen. ‘Jukajoki’, a US film documenting our efforts in revitalizing watersheds in North Karelia in the villages of Selkie and Alavi, is currently being shown in different parts of the world. It is a very positive view on the things we need to do. Additionally the efforts with the Indigenous Skolt Sámi in Näätämö river as well as the work with the Siberian nomadic Chukchi reindeer herders in mitigating climate change support mr. Young’s vision of how we all survive the 21st Century. We need to do new things with new courage, leaving past damages behind. Keep on Rocking in the Free World!”

Previously Snowchange has collaborated for example with Grammy-winning musicians Tinariwen, as well as Kimmo Pohjonen and Jukka Takalo in Finland.

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