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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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‘Jukajoki’ Film a Finalist at the Vaasa Wildlife Film Festival

official selection laurelsJukajoki‘ , the US documentary film about the ecological restoration efforts in Jukajoki basin, North Karelia, Finland that Snowchange coordinates, continues its success around the world and in Finland.

Now it has been selected, out of 900 entries, to be one of the Finalists at the international Vaasa Wildlife Film Festival, Finland. It competes in the ‘Nordic‘ category. The event takes place late September.

Science measurements at the Jukajoki basin, 2012.

Science measurements at the Jukajoki basin, 2012.

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Snowchange and PGP Premiere a New Video

IMG_0927Snowchange Co-op and PrettyGoodProductions, in the USA, unveil a new video about the Puruvesi winter seiners in North Karelia, Finland. The video is available here.

fishing karelia summerKesälahti Fish Base works with Snowchange to support and revitalize this traditional Finnish communal fishery. First records of the practice date back to 1300s. In previous years, Snowchange has documented the weather changes and impacts in the community. The cooperation began in 2005.

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Snowchange Becomes a Full Member in LIFE and Re-Wilding Europe

p9Snowchange has joined two European initiatives as a full member this week. Both support the larger goals, work and vision of Snowchange.

Re-Wilding Europe and its European Rewilding Network support areas where the natural and socio-ecological rewilding of the continent becomes possible. ERN states: “In North Karelia, boreal Finland, a novel approach of community-led ecological restoration is ensuring water to flow freely again in the Jukajoki basin, once intensely damaged by peat mining activities. In this bird bog, wading species like wood sandpiper, ruff and ducks such as Goldeneye can now be watched by visiting nature lovers. Read more in the link below!” The project pages are here.

ERN-logo-2-RGBBesides the Rewilding Areas, now more than 40 other rewilding sites located all over Europe are part of the European Rewilding Network. With this new exciting Finnish member, rewilding activities are being shared by sites joining in from 24 countries.

Through the professional seiners of Puruvesi, we also join this week LIFE – The Low Impact Fishers of Europe. Life defines itself as “The Low Impact Fishers of Europe  is an umbrella organisation run by fishermen for fishermen. The aim of LIFE is to provide a clear and coherent voice at EU level for the previously mainly silent majority of European fishers who are smaller scale and who use low impact fishing gears and methods but have historically lacked dedicated and effective representation in Brussels and at Member State level.
IMG_0976The Platform works via a Management Board of working fishermen who are representatives of their local fishing communities. The daily duties are carried out by the Executive Director with the support of a Brussels-based Secretariat. In addition, LIFE can rely on the expertise of a Mediterranean Coordinator, of a specialist in EU funds and of two Outreach Officers working on the ground with fishermen’s organisations.

Snowchange is very excited about these partnerships and look forwards to positive work with both organisations!

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