News

Another Snowchange Sámi Publication Made Available – Drowning Reindeer, Drowning Homes

Cover of the book

Cover of the book

 

This is a book regarding violence that was done against land, nature and people. It tells globally little-known story of an Indigenous people, the Sámi and other local people living in the Sompio (Vuotso) region of Province of Lapland, Finland. Events have taken place in the region which are relevant to the Arctic and global discussions on climate and ecological changes. The book tells about the price that local communities and northern nature have paid for modernity.

Cover of the book is available here.

Part 1 is available here.

Part 2 is available here.

This book traces the histories and cultural landscape of southern part of Finnish Sápmi (Sámi homeland). Included are voices on northern climate change. A central theme, which runs through the book, is the River Kemijoki that was harnessed for hydroelectric power in 1948.

By late 1960s the construction of the dams and the electricity industry had reached the headwaters of the river, an area where the Sámi and other local people were living and practicing their subsistence economies and age-old traditional cultures. Even though the reindeer was the dominant connection with the land ecosystem, the economy also included many other connections to land and water ecosystems. It can be called “the Sámi ecosystem”.

In the span of a few years a whole culture was murdered, destroyed, flooded. Process bears the hallmark of a cultural and linguistic genocide. International attention to the questions of Lokka and Porttipahta reservoirs has been in waiting since 1970s. This book arrives in a very timely situation regarding energy production questions in Northern Finland.

It is only now that the United Nations under the auspices of the UN Association of Finland through the well-coordinated ‘Global Citizens Platform’ Project has teamed up with the independent non-profit Snowchange Cooperative and the local Sámi of Vuotso to offer an international assessment of the situation.

It comes 40 years after the events that are discussed took place. The artificial lakes have been built, villages burned and reindeer pastures flooded. Yet the magnitude, relevance and on-going social, cultural and environmental damages resulting from the catastrophe of Lokka and Porttipahta reservoirs need to be addressed. Construction process resulted in system shifts in the whole ecological complex of the region. This book offers mechanisms for discussion on the local level, on national level and as well on the international level so that the little-known situation in Finland becomes more widely exposed.

About the authors:

Antti Aikio is a Sámi scholar focusing on the legal issues of the Arctic Indigenous peoples. He is connected with the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, Finland.

Pekka Aikio (Reindeer herder, Ph D h.c., M.Sc.) is a longtime leader of the Sámi of Finland. He comes from the reindeer herding community of Sompio which was impacted by the reservoirs.

Kaisu Mustonen (Master of Social Sciences – Human Geography) is a specialist regarding the questions of biodiversity and Indigenous women in the Arctic. She has worked extensively in the North American Arctic, Iceland, Sámi areas and Siberia among the northern subsistence communities. She lives in the village of Selkie, North Karelia, Finland.

Tero Mustonen (Doctor of Social Sciences – Human Geography) is the Head of International Affairs of the Snowchange Cooperative based in Finland. He has worked in the North American Arctic, Faroes Islands, Iceland, Sámi areas and Siberia among the northern subsistence communities. Mustonen is a winter seiner and the head of village of Selkie, North Karelia, Finland.

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Major Oral History Publication Made Available from Unalakleet, Alaska, USA

Snowchange makes available a major oral history document from Alaska:

It Has Been in Our Blood for Years and Years that We Are Salmon Fishermen – A Book of Oral History from Unalakleet, Alaska, USA documents observations, and knowledge presented in 2002 by seventeen Unalakleet indigenous people, with some further input in 2008. It tells a story of a changing community on the Norton Sound near the Bering Sea.

Climate change, subsistence rights, and loss of culture and tradition intermingle with the powerful stories of village elders regarding Beluga hunts and the long human history of the area. The Unalakleet Tribal Council partnered with the Snowchange Cooperative to collect the voices of local experts and holders of knowledge in 2002.

Unalakleet oral histories add a rich component to the culture of Western Alaska. This book is also an important source for studies of climate and ecological change in the region. It can be used in schools, universities, and colleges as an oral history source book of Unalakleet.

Cover of the book is available here.

PDF of the book is available here.

Authors:

Kaisu Mustonen specializes in the knowledge of women in the subsistence communities of the Arctic. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Sciences (Human Geography) from University of Joensuu, Finland.

Tero Mustonen has been working with northern Indigenous and subsistence communities for fifteen years. He is the Head of the Village of Selkie, North Karelia, Finland and holds a Doctorate in Human Geography.

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Snowchange River Restoration and TEK Work Recognized in the UNEP Yearbook

The efforts of the local villages in North Karelia, Finland to restore the heavily-damaged Jukajoki catchment area in the villages of Selkie and Alavi has received tremendous recognition globally. They are featured in the esteemed UNEP YEAR BOOK 2014: EMERGING ISSUES IN OUR GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT”.

Ten years after the first Year Book in this series appeared, a special e-book anniversary edition – UNEP Year Book 2014 – presents a fresh look at ten issues highlighted over the past decade. This UNEP Year Book 2014 takes advantage of the latest technology, providing a multi-media experience that helps illustrate the environmental challenges we face today and some of the innovative solutions that have been created to solve those challenges. Video, animations, data visualization and stunning images from around the world help tell the stories.

The Chapter where the Snowchange efforts in Jukajoki is featured can be downloaded here.

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Discussion Paper 4 Released on the Visit to Khanty Mansi Region

Symbol of the Canoe Festival, July 2014.

Symbol of the Canoe Festival, July 2014.

Snowchange releases today its fourth Discussion Paper:

Photo Essay on the Snowchange Visit to the International Oblas Dug-Out Canoe Competition, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Region – Jugra, Western Siberia, Russia, 3rd – 7th July, 2014

It is available here as a PDF.

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South Pacific and Siberian Tour announced

In order to facilitate the further development of the community network of
Snowchange, and to allow discussions of regional priorities, a
South Pacific and Siberian tour is announced for November:

14th – 16th World Parks Congress 2014, Sydney, Australia
17th – 19th Cairns, Australia (with TKRP)
19th – 22nd Auckland and Taranaki, Aotearoa, NZ
22nd – 24th Hong Kong
24th – 26th Yakutsk, Siberia: UNESCO Conference, and meetings with the
member communities and work for 2015

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