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October Brings a Set of Workshops and a Speaking Tour

Lake Pielinen

Lake Pielinen

September-October is marked with a small speaking tour and community workshops on ecological restoration. Yesterday we participated at the Vuonislahti Vendace Market, to promote Snowchange activities and Kesälahti fisheries.

Vuonislahti event

Vuonislahti event

Tomorrow our delegates head to Stockholm, Sweden to discuss the implementation of IPBES Indigenous and local knowledge questions in the Nordic setting. Simultaneously the ecological restoration activities at the Lake Kuivasjärvi basin in Western Finland will proceed with the start of the creation of the first wetland units in the catchment area. Mid-week there will be speaking events in Tampere and Parkano to promote the recent book on the endemic traditional culture of Kuivasjärvi area in Western Finland.

Later in the week Snowchange staff will head over to Latvia, to the Gauja river catchment area, to discuss citizen science and traditional knowledge in ecological monitoring, in partnership with the Institute of the Environmental Solutions.

Lake Pielinen

Lake Pielinen

On 11th October, 2016 the monitoring season along the Näätämö river in Lapland will wrap up. We will meet with regional authorities and governmental agencies to discuss the need of ecological restoration of the Vainosjoki subcatchment area as well as deterring erosion on the lake Sevettijärvi. On 11th October, 2016 there will be a large village workshop at the school of Sevettijärvi for the results and discussion of next years work.

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Näätämö Work Report: Ecological Restoration Maps Released

naatamo-vesisto-a3-aThe new discussion paper, Näätämö Work Report 2015-2016 is out. In this paper, the results from the ecological restoration mapping of summer 2016, as well as traditional knowledge observations of the basin are discussed.

Seining in Sevettijärvi, 2010.

Seining in Sevettijärvi, 2010.

The season was characterized by extreme weather events, including very warm New Year, heavy rains in the summer and wet Autumn.

The new Work Report is available here.

Dry August, 2013.

Dry August, 2013.

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Festival of Northern Fishing Traditions a Success in Siberia

Lena river, Maria Ivanova, 2016

Lena river, Maria Ivanova, 2016

Festival of Northern Fishing Traditions 2016 in Siberia was a great success. Explore the event in a Snowchange photo essay!

Conceptualized in 2012 by the professional Finnish fisherman Olli Klemola, the Snowchange Festivals of Northern Fishing Traditions are mechanisms by the local and Indigenous communities of the North to highlight their age-old traditional, artesan and small-scale northern fisheries.

The first Festival was held in Finland in 2014. For the 2016 Festival, Snowchange discussed with various partners the event which was decided to be held on the Lena river at the community of Zhigansk, Republic of Sakha-Yakutia, Siberia, Russia from 1st to 5th September, 2016.14-amerika

 

34-lena4The main partners in the Festival included:

  • Snowchange Co-op
  • Northern Forum
  • Community and Region of Zhigansk
  • Rospuutto Group, Finland
  • ELOKA, National Snow and Ice Data Center, USA
  • Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Local Sakha Chapter
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sakha-Yakutia, Russia
  • Department of Biological Resources, Sakha-Yakutia, Russia
  • Local companies, Indigenous communities, fishing families

36-pikeThank you to all parties for making this possible!

The outcomes of the Festival included:

  1. Second major Festival of Northern Fishing Festival, including roundtables and competitions in various traditional skills and fisheries.
  2. Establishment of Snowchange Network of Northern Traditional Fisheries of Eurasia as the backbone of the future work in the region in this theme.
  3. Framework Agreement between the Department of Biological Resources, Sakha-Yakutia, Russia and Snowchange Cooperative to develop new steps of management, monitoring and traditional knowledge in the Zhigansk region for water and fish health.
  4. Decision to hold the third Festival of Northern Fishing Traditions in Khanty-Mansia, Siberia in 2018.16-sunset

Please click here to explore the event in a Snowchange photo essay!

 

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Late Summer, Early Autumn: Festival, India and Community Work

Science and Siberia

Traditional fisheries in Siberia

Summer is slowly arriving at its end. Here at Snowchange this marks the beginning of several festivities and community events. Next week we will be travelling with a large international Indigenous and local-traditional delegation to Siberia, to the second Festival of Northern Fishing Traditions. Delegates will arrive from the US, UK, Finland, Russia (across Siberian regions) and other places.

Prior to the Festival, Snowchange visits the partner region of Taatta in Republic of Sakha-Yakutia. This Sakha traditional space is the home of the ancient Olonkho -style singing and storytelling. Olonkho has been included in the World Heritage by UNESCO.

Sacred Tree in the Taatta Region, 2007.

Sacred Tree in the Taatta Region, 2007.

The actual Festival of Northern Fishing Traditions kicks off at 1st September with a cruise down the Lena River to the community of Zhigansk, a mainly Evenk Indigenous fishing community. During the following five days the Festival will include:

  • Competitions in traditional fisheries, food preparation and fish processing
  • Roundtable on aquatic ecosystems, traditional knowledge, climate change and possibilities to support traditional fisheries across the North
  • Review of the results from the 2014 Festival and preparations of 2018 Festival
  • Establishment of a Snowchange Network of Traditional Eurasian Fisheries
  • Dances, Songs and Cultural events

Following the Festival, Snowchange delegates will participate in the large international River Symposium in New Delhi, India. Co-inciding with this event will be a visit to the Barefoot College in Jaipur, discussions of a partnership that begun almost a decade ago between Snowchange and Barefoot.

Kolyma

Kolyma

Early Autumn marks also the launch of a new Snowchange book – Kotoperäinen maailma (‘Endemic World: Environmental History of lake Kuivasjärvi’). Lake Kuivasjärvi and its basin are famous for having preserved the endemic hunting and fishing societies of Forest Finns until 1500s. This book in Finnish explores the environmental history of the lake Kuivasjärvi from Iron Age to present, covering the time of the Sámi Indigenous occupancy of the basin, erämaa territories of the Forest Finns and arriving at the 20th Century when peat production and state forestry wrecked the ecology of the area.kansi

Internationally, the efforts in the Skolt Sámi watershed of Näätämö have continued with the monitoring efforts all summer, and ecological restoration plans for lake Sevettijärvi and river Vainosjoki. New community views on river Voronye in Murmansk region have been documented.

In North America, our Tahltan partners continue their outdoor Indigenous training efforts and we hope to expand this collaboration over the next year substantially. In closing the ecological restoration of lake Kuivasjärvi

Seining on lake Kuivasjärvi, Finland. Snowchange, 2016.

Seining on lake Kuivasjärvi, Finland. Snowchange, 2016.

and river Jukajoki domestically continue, combining traditional knowledge and latest science – world-class examples of boreal restoration. Next newscast is expected in mid-September.

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A “Legend”, Indigenous Australian Leader, Knowledge Holder Tommy George Passes On

tommy gSnowchange joins in mourning of passing of the Indigenous Australian knowledge holder, Elder, leader, grandfather, Doctor Tommy George, announced early today in Queensland, Australia.

Growing up to the Indigenous bush life in early parts of the 1900s, Doctor Tommy George later emerged as an eminent person of wisdom and knowledge in Northeastern Australia, Queensland, on questions of traditional culture, hunting, lifeways and Country of the Indigenous Australians. He was known especially for his extensive Indigenous knowledge on traditional land and fire management. He resided in the community of Laura for many decades.

Since 1990s Doctor Tommy George went on to co-found the Traditional Knowledge Revival Pathways – TKRP, later Mulong Corp, led by mr. Victor Steffensen. Central to the idea of this initiative, as visioned by Doctor Tommy George and other Elders, was that the Indigenous Australian communities are well-positioned to revitalize country, culture, language and ways of life by documenting themselves these skills and oral histories in video, audio and online solutions. Snowchange and several Sámi communities exchanged these methods from 2008 onwards, leading for example to the Näätämö Co-Management Project documentation of Indigenous knowledge in Northern Finland. An example of this work and Dr. Tommy George can be seen in the short film “Sugar Bag“, available online here.

Mr. Steffensen then proceeded to apply this model successfully across Australia, including re-starting traditional fire management and burning practices that had been lost in some communities for decades. He continued to be tutored by Dr. Tommy George and together they reflected on the work and lessons learned to perfect this work. Doctor Tommy George was awarded a Honorary PhD for his efforts and knowledge in the 2000s. Mr. Steffensen commented on the situation today: “Old Man Tommy George has passed away today. He is a legend to our people and special man that has inspired many of us to do the work we do today. I want to share these news with you and your thoughts on this special day for this amazing man.

It is this bright burning flame of the legacy of Doctor Tommy George that Snowchange and our allies at Mulong and across Australia will cherish, maintain and renew to make sure this unique Elder and man will never be forgotten.

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