News

An Archaeological Breakthrough Starts the Year

j1

Snowchange staff and friends has discovered the very first inland ancient labyrinth or “Troy Town” from Arctic Finland.

Following a public announcement from the Museum of Lapland in late 2022, Snowchange can confirm that Jaakko Pohjoismäki originally in 2021 and subsequently Snowchange staff in 2022 has been involved in a discovery that is a historic first.

A labyrinth from Nauvo, coastal Finland, wikipedia.

A labyrinth from Nauvo, coastal Finland, wikipedia.

Usually these pre- and early- historic labyrinths are found on the coast of Finland, where they are associated with Swedish and / or Scandinavian traditions, and then some have been discovered in Kola Peninsula, Russia.

Staff member Lauri Hämäläinen next to the site in August 2022.

Staff member Lauri Hämäläinen next to the site in August 2022.

Now, the 2021-22 discovery from Savukoski, Eastern Lapland, marks the first ever inland labyrinth to be discovered, at least 260 kilometers from the Baltic Sea coast. Over the past year, archaeologists at the Museum of Lapland have inventoried the find and confirm that it is actually first of its kind inland and also rather unique in design. Now the site is protected by law.

Snowchange continues this process to support unique Arctic cultural heritage and will work towards a scientific publication of the results.

Posted in News

Tumultuous Year Ends With Support for Sámi Forests and Messages from the Bering Sea

1

2022, a tumultous year draws to a close with major news of a support from Sweden to the Sámi forest rewilding and restoration. Additionally, a new science paper highlights the work with the Inupiaq in Unalakleet, Alaska.

Snowchange Arctic Rewilding

Swedish Postcode Lottery has stepped in to support the Sámi forest work of Snowchange. They have recently approved a large two year project Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge Rewilding of Boreal Forests in Finland that works with Sámi and Finnish villages to restore and conserve critically important boreal forests in Finland, as 97% of them have been lost between 1900-2022.

Postkodstiftelsens loggaBy combining Indigenous knowledge and science, this project will restore and protect 250 hectares of Sámi forests, and positively influence up to 1000 hectares of middle boreal forests and associated peatlands, to support biodiversity, climate change mitigation, and Indigenous-traditional livelihoods.

The project advances a novel, reformative approach to restoration and conservation summarized as ICCAs – Indigenous and Community Conservation Areas as defined by the UN Environmental Programme. It addresses the past equity issues in conservation, provides the Sámi and other villages with agency for the first time in their own areas, and pride in restoration and conservation.

As a step up into this direction, a small peatland and forest Sámi ecosystem of Kaksamajärvi was added to the Landscape Rewilding Programme today.

Voices from Changing Unalakleet

Widely recognized environmental changes have been negatively impacting communities in the Arctic for decades. The increased prevalence of open water in the Bering Sea during winter months, also known as sea ice loss, has uprooted annual traditional subsistence activities across the Bering Sea region. This article investigates the consequences of sea ice loss on traditional subsistence activities in Unalakleet, Alaska.

Permafrost melt event close to the village. Photo: Kaare Erickson

Permafrost melt event close to the village. Photo: Kaare Erickson

In conjunction with the loss of sea ice over the past 30 years, the winter season in Unalakleet has shifted from cold and dry weather regimes to warmer and wetter winters. The change in winter weather and the increased prevalence of open water in winter has deeply impacted the people of Unalakleet by affecting environmental conditions and the availability of subsistence of resources, notably influencing winter and spring marine mammals hunts that people in the Unalakleet area have relied on for thousands of years.

A new science article out now in Oceanography is guided by the perspectives, knowledge, and intuition of people from Unalakleet, and looks specifically at how the increased prevalence of open water in the Bering Sea during wintertime has impacted traditional subsistence rounds (the succession of food resources through the seasons) in Unalakleet, Alaska, in 2022.

With these major news we wish the best for the Xmas and better New Year!

Posted in News

Monitoring Environmental Changes in Tahltan Territory

Tuya Lake, Tuya Mountais Peovincial Park.

Snowchange and Curtis Rattray, an Indigenous leader from the Tahltan Nation and TWILD‘s co-lead for community-led environmental monitoring developed  steps to check out the feasibility of setting up a field monitoring camp in the Tuya Mountain area.

They wanted to fly into Upper Tuya Lake in the alpine, but because of the low clouds landed at Tuya Lake instead.  Tuya Lake is a remote, sub-Alpine Lake in Northern British Columbia, Canada. A film was released regarding documenting these efforts, available here.

The trip confirmed the importance of the area and the plan is for TWILD to set up the field monitoring camp at Upper Tuya Lake, the junction of 3 watersheds.  TWILD are searching for historic water data to create a background report that supports the need for a field monitoring camp, where they will collect baseline data to monitor water quality, wildlife, shifts in plant distribution, glaciers, ice, snow fields and shoreline, and disturbance mapping. This will be one of Arctic PASSION’s monitoring sites to discuss the warming-induced changes that have been observed in the community.

Posted in News

Washington Post Highlights the Sámi Efforts in Forests and Snowchange Rewilding

Pauliina Feodoroff has led the co-management efforts in Näätämö for over a decade.

Pauliina Feodoroff has led the co-management efforts in Näätämö for over a decade.

Washington Post in the US has published a large piece on the Snowchange rewilding efforts and Sámi steps to protect the last forests.

You can see the article here.

Posted in News

Saying Goodbye to Two Knowledge Holders In Finland

Sakari Luisenniemi lived to be a century old.

Sakari Luisenniemi lived to be a century old.

November brought news of two losses in Finland. We are saying goodbye to knowledge holders – Sakari Luisenniemi from lake Kuivasjärvi in Parkano and Jorma Sonninen, originally from Outokumpu, North Karelia.

Sakari Luisenniemi from lake Kuivasjärvi in Parkano lived to be 99 years old. He lived next to the lake and mastered the oral histories, traditional knowledge and life in this small village. His shared oral histories contributed to scientific research on how the Finnish boreal communities thought about their relations with the forest and the lake. Of special importance were the specific ways to relate to the Kuivasjärvi that he shared with Snowchange in 2010s. After the Second World War he established a family with his wife Sirkka. Three daughters were born on the Luisenniemi farm next to the lake. Sakari was a recognized oral historian and kept his sharp memory to the last days of his life.

Jorma Sonninen fishing for pike

Jorma Sonninen fishing for pike

Jorma Sonninen, a Frontier Marine Guard and a descendant of the Karelians was born in Outokumpu, North Karelia in 1952. Never afraid of anything he went on to a life filled with adventure in the high seas, fisherman on the Baltic Islands as a part of his duties with the Border Patrol of Finland and sailor. After early retirement from the state duties Jorma shared his life between North Karelia and Helsinki region. Inna, his daughter was the joy in Jorma’s life. In early 2010s Jorma and Snowchange, following his unfortunate accident, worked on a book of oral histories that conveyed Karelian traditions, life on the Baltic, fisheries and all in all unique view of 20th Century. Of special importance were the memories of the moose.

Keeping a positive outlook on life, Jorma would phone in every month to ask about the Snowchange fisheries, ice conditions in the winter and outlook for the catches in seining.

Both of these exceptional people are severely missed.

Jorma with a good catch of Baltic herring.

Jorma with a good catch of Baltic herring.

 

Posted in News