Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Third Committee

23rd Meeting (PM)

ANDREY NIKIFOROV (Russian Federation) said the past year had focused attention on indigenous populations and that much had been done within the framework of the United Nations. Indigenous peoples had been actively involved in those activities. During the discussions of the Permanent Forum, it had been clear that almost all United Nations funds and agencies were working in close cooperation with indigenous peoples.

The Russian Federation believed, however, that the urgent problems and difficulties faced by indigenous peoples could not be solved on an international level alone, he said. National initiatives must be undertaken, and legislation must be strengthened. Of 138 federal legislative acts in the Russian Federation, 30 acts dealt with indigenous peoples. However, effective mechanisms needed to be established in order to ensure their implementation.

The Russian Federation had undertaken development programmes in the north in order to protect the land and the rights of indigenous peoples, he said. Those programmes also addressed health issues and social integration. The education of indigenous children was a high priority in the Russian Federation, including the provision of native tongue education.

UN Press release.

(All those federal programs exist in the Russian Federation for the last ten years and all do look great on paper. We propose to ask the following questions: 1) What % of the each program's budget was ACTUALY financed in any given year? 2) What % of the funds actually allocated was ACTUALLY spent according to the program? 3) Did life in indigenous communities of Russia improved (because of those programs) in 1987, 1993, 1998 and on? And if not, then who needs those programs?)




It is with great sadness that we announce the death of the Founder and Chair of the International Training Center of Indigenous Peoples. Ingmar passed away August 9th, 2003 in Nuuk, Greenland.

Ingmar Egede was an educator, psychologist, and advocate for indigenous peoples globally. He was recognized by both Greenlanders and others around the world for his dedication to the rights of indigenous peoples. All those who knew him will mourn him dearly. The lives of many who did not know him, have been bettered in some way, because of him.\

As his death was approaching, one of Ingmar's wishes was, for those that desired, donations in his memory could be made to ITCIP, P.O. Box 901, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland. Please mention "in memory of Ingmar Egede".

Ingmar died on the International Day of Indigenous Peoples.

Elsa Stamatopoulou Acting Chief

Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

United Nations


Following is the message from Jan Kavan (Czech Republic), President of the fifty-seventh session of the General Assembly, on the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, observed 9 August: This year' s International Day of the World\rquote s Indigenous Peoples is special, in that it is dedicated to children living in indigenous cultures. Children hold the keys to the future of traditional knowledge and wisdom. Their welfare and nurturing is important in ensuring that they will one day be able to turn over their cultures to their own children.

The world ha s over 370 million indigenous people living in 70 countries. The majority of the 6,000 known languages and cultures belong to indigenous tribes in all areas of the world. Indigenous peoples contribute the rare and precious colours and patterns to the ta p estry of the human species. They show the rest of the world that a peaceful co-existence with the environment and other communities is possible. They also understand the workings of ecological balances, thus contributing to the sum total of human knowle dge and experience.

It has been a long and tiresome struggle for indigenous peoples around the world to gain recognition for the survival of their respective cultures in an ever-changing world. As early as 1924, at a meeting of the League of Nations, Chie f Deskaheh of the Council of Six Nations of the Iroquois (United States) pleaded, with the Council, for the rights of his people. However, it was not until the Martinez Cabo study from 1981 to 1984 that the case for indigenous peoples gained any signific ant momentum in the international arena. As we all know, the formative years of a child are crucial to his or her development.

The children and youth of indigenous peoples are especially vulnerable, as their communities have been isolated, marginalized, a nd excluded from the main stream of national life. They have to overcome language and cultural barriers in order to be accepted into mainstream society. Only then are they able to gain access to education and health care, or play a part in the economic and political life of their countries.

The United Nations System, (the International Labour Organization, United Nations Children's Fund, United Nations Development Programme) together with civil society advocacy groups, has worked ceaselessly to further t he welfare and visibility of indigenous peoples and their youth. Last year, the United Nations established a Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. This Forum is dedicated to promoting the formal recognition and rights of indigenous peoples, which are enshrined both implicitly and explicitly in the various universal declarations and conventions on human rights.

I urge Member States to honour the diversity of their respective populations, a nd to provide specific support for vulnerable indigenous communities. We should pay homage to all those who have supported the cause of indigenous peoples. Their efforts have given this issue a place in the international global agenda. Let us pledge to work together for their integration into the mainstream of our national programmes.


At a Headquarters commemoration of the International Day of the World\rquote s Indigenous People today, Secretary-General Kofi Annan celebrated the "existence, diversity and achievements of the world 's indigenous people", and said the protection and promotion of their rights and cultures was of fundamental importance to all States and peoples. In a statement read out on his behalf by Nitin Desai, the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, he said the human family was a tapestry of enormous beauty and diversity and the world\rquote s indigenous people were a rich and integral part of that tapestry. Recently, the establishment of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues had given indigenous peoples a " home" at the United Nations. As a mechanism for partnership among indigenous peoples, Member States and the United Nations system, the Forum gave hope that the motto for the Decade for Indigenous People (1994-2004) -- " partnership in action " -- was being turned into reality in the areas of socio-economic development, environment, health, education, culture and human rights. Indigenous pe ople sill faced threats to their lives and destruction of their belief systems, cultures, languages and ways of life.

Established by the General Assembly in 1994, the International Day of the World\rquote s Indigenous People, observed on 9 August, marks the day of the first meeting in 1982 of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. The International Decade was proclaimed in 1993 and the Forum was created last year. In Geneva, the Commiss ion on Human Rights has been working on a draft declaration on the rights of indigenous people and has appointed a Special Rapporteur on indigenous issues.

The Forum Chairperson, Ole Henrik Magga, told today's gathering he was walking in the footprints of the indigenous leaders who had come to assert their " rightful place within the family of nations" , and that the recognition indigenous peoples have achieved today at the international level " has been in the hearts and dreams of our ancestors who were here long before us".

In a statement read on his behalf by Elsa Stamatopoulou, the Acting Chief of the Permanent Forum Secretariat, he said that since the time that the Haudenosaunee Chief Deskahe in 1923 and the Maori Chief Ratana in 1924 came to plead their cause at the League of Nations, there had been no hesitation amongst the leadership of indigenous peoples to guide their people in a rapidly changing world. Indigenous peoples had the same rights as other peoples and represented the globe\rquote s cultural diversity. Indigenous people now had a place within the family of nations, he said. The Forum was a vehicle that allowed indigenous people to gain a higher profile and come closer to the end of exclusion and discrimination. He was pleased with the substanti al progress made towards initiating the integration of indigenous issues within the United Nations system. He also looked forward to progressive discussions with Member States so that the Millennium Development Goals also benefited the lives of the more than 370 million indigenous people on the planet.

The Acting United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Bertie Ramcharan, in a message delivered by Craig Mokhiber, Officer-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the observance that the occasion drew attention to the extraordinary cultural diversity represented by the world's indigenous people. The United Nations had pledged to complete the drafting of a declaration on the rights of indigenous p eoples. He appealed to all involved to work towards the completion of the declaration before the end of the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People in December 2004.

Every indigenous child had the right to health, education, equality and pr otection, the Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said in a statement read out by Dorothy Rozga, UNICEF Senior Programme Officer. The UNICEF was fully committed to improving the situation of indigenous children around the wo rld and worked daily towards the realization of their goals.

In the context of globalization, the safeguarding of indigenous cultures had become an absolute imperative, the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organ ization (UNESCO), Koichiro Matsuura said, in a message presented by Jones Kyazze, Director of UNESCO's New York Office. The fragility of indigenous cultures was one of UNESCO's major preoccupations. The recent approval by governmental experts of its prel iminary draft international convention for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage was a milestone in the recognition and safeguarding of those vulnerable cultures.

Poverty was closely linked to marginalization, and among the most marginalize d of the rural poor were indigenous people, Lennart Bage, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said in a message read out by Xenia von Lilien-Waldau of IFAD\rquote s New York Office. For numerous political and historical reason s, many had been pushed onto the least fertile and most fragile lands. In many harsh environments, many indigenous people found it difficult to grow enough food to eat, to earn a living and to take steps to improve their lives. Legal instruments were ne eded to prevent the over-extraction of timer, minerals and plants, as well as to protect the intellectual property rights of indigenous people.

Reading a message of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kevin Dance, of the non-governmental organization (NGO) Committee on the United Nations International Decade of the World' s Indigenous People, said the creation of the Permanent Forum was a major milestone in the struggle of indigenous people for international recognition. Indigenous pe ople had been involved in climate change since the 1990s, and played an increasingly visible role. United by spiritual, cultural and social links to their lands, they were particularly vulnerable to climate change.

Silent WolF Van Dunk (Ramapo-Munset Lenape, United States) opened today's event with a blessing. Cultural presentations were made by poet Dean Hutchins (Cherokee, United States) and Kevin Tarrant of the Silver Cloud Singers (Wisconsin, United States). Carrese P. Gullo (Cherokee ), of the American Indian Community House, and Mohamed Yunus Rafiq (Tanzania), of the Aang Serian Peace Village, spoke on behalf of indigenous youth. Tiokasin Ghosthorse Veaux (Lakota, United States) and Elaine Benavides (Apache, United States) closed th e commemoration with song and a traditional blessing. Presiding over the event as Master of Ceremonies was Roberto Mucaro Borrero (Taino, Puerto Rico). The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the NGO Committee on the International Decade of the World\rquote s Indigenous Peoples, in cooperation with the United Nations Department of Public Information, sponsored today\rquote s commemoration.


August 8, UN New York HQ

While the plight of the worlD' s indigenous people had slowly gained increasing international attention, greater efforts were needed to learn more about them, protect their lands a nd sacred places and to safeguard their human rights and fundamental freedoms, speakers stated this morning at a Headquarters press briefing.

Moderating the briefing, held on the occasion of the International Day of the World\rquote s Indigenous People, was Elsa Stamatopoulou, Acting Chief of the Secretariat for the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Joining her were Gert Rosenthal, Permanent Representative of Guatemala to the United Nations and President of the Economic and Social Council; Guy Lopez, the Co ordinator of the Sacred Place Protection Program, Association of American Indian Affairs; and Craig Mokhiber, Deputy to the Director of the New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

At the United Nations, noted Mr. Rosenthal, the presence of indigenous issues and peoples had grown considerably in the past five years, moving from the area of human rights to a broader framework involving environmental, developmental, cultural and political considerations. That had led to the creation of Per manent Forum in 2000, which offered the United Nations a window to indigenous communities. The Forum, made up of 16 experts \endash - eight nominated by indigenous peoples and eight by governments -- meets annually in New York to discuss and raise awareness of i ndigenous issues, as well as provide advice and recommendations to the United Nations system.

At last month' s substantive session in Geneva, the ECOSOC held an extraordinary discussion with the Forum and adopted virtually all of the recommendations adopted at the Forum\rquote s second meeting. It was necessary to learn more about indigenous peoples and issues, he added. In that regard, the Forum had suggested to ECOSOC that indigenous issues be the topic for the Council's high-level segment at some point, possibly in 2006. Noting that the First International Decade of the World\rquote s Indigenous People would finish in December 2004, he said that there was growing consensus that there should be a second decade. He hoped the General Assembly would act on that proposal, so there would be no gap between the first and second decades. Speaking in his national capacity, Mr. Rosenthal noted that over half of Guatemala\rquote s population considered itself indigenous. Indigenous communities constituted the most vulnerable popula tion in his country, in terms of health, education and income. There were large disparities between those that regarded themselves as indigenous and those that regarded themselves as non-indigenous, especially women. There was still a considerable amoun t of discrimination in societies with large indigenous populations.

While a lot had been accomplished by the international community in terms of the understanding of indigenous issues, stated Mr. Lopez, much more would be required regarding the protection of sacred lands and places. What was occurring now was the outcome of centuries of discrimination and disregard of the religious freedoms and indigenous rights of American Indians and other indigenous peoples. As a result, the places they regarded as sa cred were not accorded the same protection and rights given to places held sacred by the world\rquote s major religions. What was required was a way to remedy the historical bias and bring a balance, so that indigenous peoples had recourse when their sacred plac es were threatened by development that they considered inappropriate. In the United States alone, there was deep conflict over the protection of several dozen such places, and several hundred places were threatened or already destroyed. He called for th e appointment of a special rapporteur to investigate and report on the issue. Also, more of those places should be designated as world heritage sites. In addition, he hoped that various American States, including New Mexico and California, would enact State laws to protect the sacred lands of indigenous peoples.

Mr. Mokhiber elaborated on the specific challenges to indigenous peoples brought by various conceptions of development. The issue, as old as colonization itself, had been brought to the forefro nt by several recent developments, particularly a comprehensive study of the question over the past year by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, Rodolfo Stavenhagen. Sometimes human rights violations came packaged or disguised as good acts, he noted, recalling the example of blankets poisoned with diseases and distributed in indigenous communities in the past and used as a weapon against them. The Special Rapporteur had documented that there was a modern equivalent of the " poisoned blanket" that the international community must focus on, namely the impact of large-scale development projects on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous communities. His investigation led to the conclusion that the impact of such activities had been devastating, including loss of indigenous territories and land, forced evictions, large-scale migration and resettlement, depletion of natural resources, environmental degradation, and harassment and physical violence against those in the indigenous communities opposed to such activities. Mr. Stavenhagen had warned, he said, that the international community was in a kind of " final frontier of centuries of encroachment" , that was now threatening the very existence of some groups. He spoke about " impending cultural genocide" , the actual extinction of some groups, particularly in the Amazon. The threat was largely coming from what was "clumsily defined as economic development" on the lands and communitie s of indigenous peoples, Mr. Mokhiber said. What was seen was a pattern of forced development, the kind which was defined in a narrow sense and did not match the definition adhered to by most indigenous communities. In many cases, the problem did not st em from the lack of laws. In fact, there was a fairly large set of international norms and standards, which he hoped would be supplemented by a draft declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples over the course of the next year. The problem, he said, was the lack of enforcement and implementation. In addition, the indigenous communities affected were seldom consulted or included in the decision-making process. Even when they were consulted or included in decision-making, their interests were almost invariably trumped by other interests.

He gave an example from the study of an indigenous community in a country in the Americas, which had lived on a riverside area for centuries. Their ancestral territory was legally protected and recognized as an indig enous reserve. For several years, they had been negotiating with the Government over concerns they had related to a government-approved project, which would allow a private company to build several large dams on the river on which they made their living and flood a significant portion of their traditional lands. The indigenous community, made up of about 500 families, since the project started had endured continuous pressure and persecution because of their opposition to the project. They' ve seen very li ttle success in their efforts to stop the project, to the extent that a few years ago some of their land was expropriated and declared a public utility. The Government then licensed the private company to begin work on the project without any prior consu ltation with the indigenous community. The project diverted the river, flooded portions of the land, and prevented indigenous navigation and fishing. Predictably, the indigenous people protested, he said. The result, which was documented by the Special Rapporteur, included an alarming number of forced evictions, destruction of property, assassination of several indigenous leaders, forced disappearances, arbitrary detention and continuous threats on those remaining there. " This is not the most extreme case" , he stated. It was a "disturbingly typical case" of what happened when decision-making was done without taking a human rights-based approach. He called for renewed efforts to recognize progress, but to expedite it to ensure that a human rights-based approach to development was applied in all cases.

August 9 is the


Today we commemorate the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples. In the UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva official ceremonies took place. The very fact that the UN proclaimed the 9 of August the International Day of the World's Indigen ous Peoples is the result of tireless efforts and committed lives of many indigenous people all over the world. To name all on our little page is impossible. But we would like to name at least some. Those who are still with us and those who already left , but without whom indigenous peoples of Russia would never have a fighting chance. And without whom this international day probably would not be possible.

We forever remember:

Ms. Ingrid Washinawatok (USA);

Mr. Mikhail Todyshev (Teleut People, Russia);

Mr. Valery Etneut (Koriak People, Russia);

Ms. Maia Ettyryntyna (Chukchi People, Russia);

Mr. Gennady Maimago(Dolgan People, Russia);

We are grateful to you for starting it all:

Lorino Chukchi Council of Elders;

Vladimir San'gi;

Evdokia Gaer;

Anna Nutetegryne;

Andrej Krivoshapkin;

Zoia Kornilova;

Andrey Uvachan;

Vladimir Tynara'htyrgin;

Valentina Baum;

Oleg Egorov;

Zoia Ivanova;

Zoia Afanasieva;

Zinaida Strogalschikova;

Viacheslav Vyuicheisky;

Valeriy Markov;

Grigoriy Oinvid;

Eremey Aipin;

Nadezhda Novik;

Kara-Kys Arakchaa;

And many many other. Thank you and congratulation with your day!

Your Information Centre. {*********************************************************************************************}}


July 2003

Geneva, Switzerland

At the UN Working Group on Indigenous People the Center and the Lorino Chukchi Traditional Council of Elders were represented by Olga Lytykai-Chonka who presented the following statement on behalf the Center and the Council:

In the old days the home community was the only world for a person. To be a true person meant to do one's best, one's outmost for the benefit of one's community. To lose one's community was to lose oneself, it meant inevitable death. Globalization turned this world of ours into one small community. In a few hours we can cross from one end of our world to the other. Some even call it a "global village".

What does it mean? To us it means that if there is someone starving in the world - someone is starving in our community, in our village. It means that if there is dying land, poisoned waters, or sick air somewhere in the world - our community's land is dying and our community's waters are poisoned and our community's air is sick. This is the only community all of us have. A lot has changed since the old days, but one truth still remains - to lose one's community means inevitable death. And as in the old days, to be a true person means to do your best to protect your community, to protect this world of ours.

And there is one main difference between local communities and corporate leaders. When our communities are talking about "community responsibility" they are precisely those who suffer land loss, poverty, marginalization, environmental and cultural ruin, and childhood deaths. All that is p art of our everyday lives. But when corporate leaders talk about their "corporate responsibility" towards local communities, they are talking about something that is an abstraction to them. Instead of relying only on in-house experts and NGOs, the corpora tions have to make a real effort to get local communities directly involved into developing and monitoring their "corporate responsibility". If "globalization" brings forth that kind of understanding in each and everyone of us - globalization is good. If not - there are no gods that can help us.

December, 2002

We wish all the best to Arat Khidyp and his family, who returned to his home region of Tyva-Todzha after successfully running the Center as its executive director.

The new Executive Director is Ms. Tatiana Kaliantagrau, a Chukchi and a law student.

Alaska, No Longer So Frigid, Starts to Crack, Burn and Sag

June 16, 2002

ANCHOR POINT, Alaska, June 13 - To live in Alaska when the average temperature has risen about seven degrees over the last 30 years means learning to cope with a landscape that can sink, catch fire or break apart in the turn of a season.

In the village of Shishmaref, on the Chukchi Sea just south of the Arctic Circle, it means high water eating away so many houses and buildings that people will vote next month on moving the entire village inland.

In Barrow, the northernmost city in North America, it means coping with mosquitoes in a place where they once were nonexistent, and rescuing hunters trapped on breakaway ice at a time of year when such things once were unheard of.

From Fairbanks to the north, where wildfires have been burning off and on since mid-May, it means living with hydraulic jacks to keep houses from slouching and buckling on foundations that used to be frozen all year. Permafrost, they say, is no longer permanent.

Here on the Kenai Peninsula, a recreation wonderland a few hours' drive from Anchorage, it means living in a four-million-acre spruce forest that has been killed by beetles, the largest loss of trees to insects ever recorded in North America, federal officials say. Government scientists tied the event to rising temperatures, which allow the beetles to reproduce at twice their normal rate.

In Alaska, rising temperatures, whether caused by greenhouse gas emissions or nature in a prolonged mood swing, are not a topic of debate or an abstraction. Mean temperatures have risen by 5 degrees in summer and 10 degrees in winter since the 1970's, federal officials say.

While President Bush was dismissive of a report the government recently released on how global warming will affect the nation, the leading Republican in this state, Senator Ted Stevens, says that no place is experiencing more startling change from rising temperatures than Alaska.

Among the consequences, Senator Stevens says, are sagging roads, crumbling villages, dead forests, catastrophic fires and possible disruption of marine wildlife.

These problems will cost Alaska hundreds of millions of dollars, he said.

"Alaska is harder hit by global climate change than any place in the world," Senator Stevens said.

Scientists have been charting shrinking glaciers and warming seas in Alaska for some time. But only recently have experts started to focus on what the warming means to the people who live in Alaska.

The social costs of higher temperatures have been mostly negative, people here say. The Bush administration report, which was drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency, also found few positives to Alaska's thermal rise. But it said climate change would bring a longer growing season and open ice-free seas in the Arctic for shipping.

"There can no longer be any doubt that major changes in the limate have occurred in recent decades in the region, with visible and measurable consequences," the government concluded in the report to the United Nations last month.

It does not take much to find those consequences in a state with 40 percent of the nation's surface water and 63 percent of its wetlands.

Here on the Kenai Peninsula, a forest nearly twice the size of Yellowstone National Park is in the last phases of a graphic death. Century-old spruce trees stand silvered and cinnamon-colored as they bleed sap.

A sign at Anchor River Recreation Area near this little town poses a question many tourists have been asking, "What's up with all the dead spruce trees on the Kenai Peninsula?" The population of spruce bark beetles, which have long fed on these evergreen trees, exploded as temperatures rose, foresters now say.

Throughout the Kenai, people are clearing some of the 38 million dead trees, answering the call from officials to create a "defensible space" around houses for fire protection. Last year, two major fires occurred on this peninsula, and this year, with temperatures in the 80's in mid-May, officials say fire is imminent. "It's just a matter of time before we have a very large, possibly catastrophic forest fire," said Ed Holsten, a scientist with the Forest Service.

Joe Perletti, who lives in Kasilof in the Kenai Peninsula, has rented a bulldozer to clear dead trees from the 10 acres where he lives.

"It's scary what's going on," Mr. Perletti said. "I never realized the extent of global warming, but we're living it now. I worry about how it will affect my children."

Mr. Perletti, an insurance agent, said some insurers no longer sold fire policies to Kenai Peninsula homeowners in some areas surrounded by dead spruce.

Another homeowner, Larry Rude, has cut down a few trees but has decided to take his chances at the house he owns near Anchor Point. Mr. Rude says he no longer recognizes Alaska weather.

"This year, we had a real quick melt of the snow, and it seemed like it was just one week between snowmobiling in the mountains and riding around in the boat in shirt-sleeve weather," Mr. Rude said.

Other forests, farther north, appear to be sinking or drowning as melting permafrost forces water up. Alaskans have taken to calling the phenomenon "drunken trees."

For villages that hug the shores of the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, melting ice is the enemy. Sea ice off the Alaskan coast has retreated by 14 percent since 1978, and thinned by 40 percent since the mid-1960's, the federal
>report says. Climate models predict that Alaska temperatures will continue to rise over this century, by up to 18 degrees.

Kivalina, a town battered by sea storms that erode the ground beneath houses, will have to move soon, residents say. Senator Stevens said it would cost $102 million, or $250,000 for each of the 400 residents.

The communities of Shishmaref, Point Hope and Barrow face a similar fate. Scientists say the melting ice brings more wave action, which gnaws away at ground that used to be frozen for most of the year.

Shishmaref, on a barrier island near the Bering Strait, is fast losing the battle to rising seas and crumbling ground. As the July 19 vote on whether to move approaches, residents say they have no choice.

"I'm pretty sure the vote is going to be to move," Lucy Eningowuk of Shishmaref said. "There's hardly any land left here anymore."

Barrow, the biggest of the far northern native villages with 4,600 people, has not only had beach erosion, but early ice breakup. Hunters have been stranded at sea, and others have been forced to go far beyond the usual hunting grounds to find seals, walruses and other animals.

"To us living on the Arctic coastline, sea ice is our lifeline," Caleb Pungowigi testified recently before a Senate committee. "The long-term trend is very scary."

A 20-year resident of Barrow, Glenn Sheehan, says it seems to be on a fast-forward course of climate change.

"Mosquitoes, erosion, breakup of the sea ice, and our sewage and clean-water system, which is threatened by erosion as well," he said. "We could be going from a $28 million dollar sewage system that was considered an engineering model to honey buckets - your basic portable outhouses."

The people who manage the state's largest piece of infrastructure - the 800-mile-long Trans-Alaska Pipeline - have also had to adjust to rising temperatures. Engineers responsible for the pipeline, which carries about a million barrels of oil a day and generates 17 percent of the nation's oil production, have grown increasingly concerned that melting permafrost could make unstable the 400 or so miles of pipeline above ground. As a result, new supports have been put in, some moored more than 70-feet underground.

"We're not going to let global warming sneak up on us," said Curtis Thomas, a spokesman for the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, which runs the pipeline. "If we see leaning and sagging, we move on it."

North of Fairbanks, roads have buckled, telephone poles have started to tilt, and homeowners have learned to live in houses that are more than a few bubbles off plumb. Everyone, it seems, has a story.

"We've had so many strange events, things are so different than they used to be, that I think most Alaskans now believe something profound is going on," said Dr. Glenn Juday, an authority on climate change at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. "We're experiencing indisputable climate warming. The positive changes from this take a long time, but the negative changes are happening real fast."

L'auravetl'an Indigenous Information Center has its 5th Anniversary!

5 years ago, on 15th of July, in Moscow, the very first intern of L'auravetl'an Indigenous Information Centre began to read a text of Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the very first time. He did it so he could with his own eyes to see that the famous document is indeed written for him and his people.

We consider that day The Day When Centre Was Born. We also believe that the Centre is not only its staff and its interns, but it also is all those people who read our bulletins and visit our site. The Centre is ALL OF US.

Welcome to the special anniversary bulletin.

Press release
on the Society for All: Broader Participation of Indigenous Peoples in Civil Society and the Role of Mass Media roundtable

The United Nations Information Centre held on April 26 the roundtable entitled Society for All: Broader Participation of Indigenous Peoples in Civil Society and the Role of Mass Media. The meeting, organized by the United Nations Information Centre in Moscow and the L’auravetl’an Indigenous Information Center of Russia, was held in the context of the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People and the International Year Against Racism.

Opening the discussion, Mr. Vladimir F. Petrovsky, UN Deputy Secretary-General and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, currently present in Moscow, noted that today the United Nations, remaining an intergovernmental organization, is increasingly opening for collaboration with other promising partners, including those representing civil society. According to him, a characteristic peculiarity of the modern stage consists in that the global values upheld by the United Nations are increasingly recognized by all the members of the world community and form a framework within which it is becoming more convenient to uphold human rights in all their dimensions, including peculiar interests of indigenous peoples. The UN Deputy Secretary-General singled out the importance of the decision made by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 2000 to create a Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues. He also stressed that the United Nations was looking at national, including Russian, mass media as an important partner in the affirmation of modern approaches to serious problems of the international agenda, including the situation of indigenous peoples. Professor Y.A. Reshetov, member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, who spoke next, emphasized that provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are fully applicable to the fate of indigenous peoples. This issue is one of the important ones on the agenda of the Committee, which twice a year considers national reports on the state of affairs in this sphere. He recommended the representatives of indigenous peoples who took part in the meeting to achieve contributing to Russia’s National Report at the drafting stage. Professor Reshetov also pointed out that the attitude to honoring the rights of indigenous peoples is a criterion of the degree of civilization and democracy of any country. In addition, he said that in a whole number of cases the peculiar interests of these peoples suffer from the growing process of globalization. Mr. Oleg Y. Egorov, president of the L’auravetl’an Indigenous Information Center, dwelt in particular on how the United Nations can help indigenous peoples “have a voice.” He mentioned the two working conferences on the indigenous media that have already taken place and recommended that the United Nations continue such useful practice. In his opinion, the roundtable at the UN Information Centre is a practical continuation of the working conference that took place in New York City in December of 2000. Speaking about the state of affairs with informing the general public about what is being done in the interests of indigenous peoples, he stressed the following. On one hand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry for the Affairs of the Federation, and the State Duma do diligent and useful work (in what concerns legislation). On the other hand, the “big” media do not show a permanent, stable interest in this topic, and some of them, when covering the subject, choose a paternalistic tone or one offensive to small peoples. Ms. A.Y. Samarina, Obshchaya Gazeta analyst, did not agree on all points with such interpretation of interrelations between the national media and indigenous peoples. She cited examples of serious and circumstantial articles on these problems and noted that it should be a two-way street: the indigenous media themselves should give grounds to major newspapers and television channels to address really big topics. Mr. Y.I. Timokhin, consultant of the Federation Council Committee for the Affairs of the North and Indigenous Peoples, noted that some improvement in informational work on the topic of indigenous peoples in relevant state agencies is obvious. In particular, the general public knows about the current UN-sponsored Decade, although not in detail. At the same time, it is necessary to inform the broad public more regularly and in more detail through the media about what is happening on this topic and what events and decisions are in the making. However, as a regrettable example, he cited the fact that very recently the Duma had used an accelerated procedure to pass the Law on Traditional Use Territories, a third such bill lately. But the media reacted very listlessly. Ms. O.D. Komarova, section chief in the Media Liaison and Public Relations Department of the Ministry for the Affairs of the Federation, said that her agency knows about its own weak points. State agencies lack a targeted informational policy. Some steps in this direction are being taken. For example, in February–March 2001, conferences were held in all seven federal districts of the Russian Federation on how the problems of small peoples are covered in the central and provincial media. Those conferences stressed the special importance of indigenous peoples’ having electronic media of their own. However, in this respect the situation leaves much to be desired. Ms. O.S. Terletskaya, editor of the ethnic life section of the sociopolitical newspaper Naryana Vynder (Red Tundra Man), cited as one of the unfavorable factors the lack of journalist personnel for indigenous peoples. Media workers with professional training are very few. The noticeable tendency of late is that the central media focus remote regions when election campaigns interesting to the Moscow public take place there. But the “big” press and television do not always cover those campaigns properly and at times injure the pride of the local people. As another practical problem, she pointed at the fact that the state of any particular media outlet in Russian regions largely depends on the policies chosen by the local authorities. Ms. T.A. Glushko, UNDP project manager, spoke about the peculiarities of the activities of the United Nations Development Program in Russia, including the fact that a number of projects are implemented in the regions in the interest of indigenous peoples. One of the most important programs currently concerns the preservation of biodiversity in those areas, and the UNDP, naturally, tries to take into account the priorities of the local population and preserve the habitat of the indigenous peoples. She stressed the interest of the UNDP in establishing closer ties with the media and the inhabitants of the regions where such projects are implemented. Ms. N.A. Shirokova, a journalist of the Vremya MN newspaper and Universitet i Shkola magazine, said that it would be very useful to create a single database concerning the indigenous media, including the names of specific journalists and latest publications in those media. It would be also desirable to have in such a database references to UN projects implemented in given regions. Mr. Egorov, in response to this suggestion, noted that a prototype of such a site has already been created by the Indigenous Information Center and will continue to develop further. Mr. N.N. Fomin, editor of the Veps ethnic newspaper Kodima (Native Land), mentioned that financial problems remain the plague of the regional press. The newspaper that he represents at the roundtable is subsidized and its distribution is free. Not surprisingly, its financial standing is very shaky. The 2001 purse has only 40 percent of the budget. Ms. Lidiya V. Pynko, own correspondent of the Evensk municipal television, raised the problem of interaction between the provincial television with its counterparts and said that the partnership with the Magadan television is good, but linkages with central Russian television channels are weak. She expressed the suggestion that representatives of small newspapers, television companies, etc., not only those of the regional media, should be invited to major media conferences, meetings, etc., when those are held in Moscow. Mr. Petrovsky in his closing remarks said that preparation and distribution of information on indigenous peoples is a problem exceeding the limits of Russia. All the countries where the problems of indigenous peoples are present face it in some or other form. The newly created Permanent Forum, apart from its other functions, is called to address this task, and it will need to be targeted accordingly. As for training journalists for indigenous peoples, such courses could probably be established under a UN school. This issue will require further serious puzzling. United Nations Information Centre in Moscow, April 27, 2001<o:p </o:p *** The text of report by Mr. Oleg Egorov, president of L’auravetl’an IIC,
on the Society for All: Broader Participation of Indigenous Peoples in Civil Society
and the Role of Mass Media roundtable, April 26, 2001, Moscow The unique role of the United Nations in the modern world may be boiled down to these principles:
· Protection through Development;
· Development through Trust; and
· Trust through Aid. This “supporting” component of the UN role is hard to overestimate. Erecting efficient mechanisms uniting the needs of those who have nothing with the possibilities of those who have everything is precisely what humankind needs today to survive. Mr. Mark Malloch Brown, UNDP Administrator, in his September 2000 presentation entitled “Challenging Poverty” said that, “as a rule, the have-nots define their main problem as the lack of opportunities, not the lack of money.” At the end of his presentation, he said: “The tasks we are facing are colossal. Yet, if we manage to unite the firm desire of the wealthy to really help with the provision of realistic opportunities to the have-nots, we will have all the chances to work out these problems successfully.” In his report “We, the Peoples: the Role of the UN in the 21st Century,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan emphasized the main areas of UN work, placing above all “the UN adaptation to the needs of the 21st century.” To achieve this objective, the UN must use much more fully the possibilities of information technologies and through them expand linkages with civil-society organizations, Mr. Annan said. For the Year of Dialogue between Civilizations, currently held under the UN auspices, tolerance against the background of diversity serves as the starting point. What is “tolerance”? Or what is “intolerance”? In essence, it is rejection of diversity, usually occurring as a result of diversity’s being viewed as a threat. Diversity is not always destroyed by action. Very often, by not taking any steps to improve the situation or by taking clearly insufficient steps, even a most liberal society threatens those who objectively need protection. What does Russia do to help those who in the resolution of the 1995 Copenhagen Social Development Summit were defined as the poorest and the most disfranchised part of the population in any country where they are present? They are indigenous peoples. In Russia they inhabit the North, Siberia, and the Far East. At the very few UN forums devoted to indigenous peoples and their rights, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented by its diplomats and experts, does very difficult and fairly fruitful work for equal opportunities to be made available to representatives of these peoples. Do most of these peoples know about it? Does Russian society know about it? And even if it learned about it, would it realize the importance of this work for all of Russia? Inside Russia today, the Ministry for the Affairs of the Federation and Ethnic and Migration Policy is the only federal executive agency that is trying to change the steadily deteriorating situation of the indigenous peoples. The truly heroic efforts of a few officials remain unknown to most of the people on whose behalf they are made. In general, how many people in Russia know what this ministry does to improve the life of the Russians? The few laws on indigenous peoples of the North that the State Duma Committee for Nationalities’ Affairs, headed by Valentin Nikitin, and the State Duma Committee for the Problems of the North, Siberia, and the Far East, led by Valentina Pivnenko, manage to take through the Duma with incredible effort have been passed, not thanks to the public opinion, as it usually happens, but in spite of the total lack thereof. Are there many deputies in the State Duma and their constituencies who understand why the fate of the people living far away in the tundra or the taiga is so important for entire society, why these people need integration, not assimilation, and why, to become a really equal part of Russian society, they need aid that would be provided to them without a demand to sacrifice their ethnic culture in return? As has been said, tolerance is the starting point for the UN-proclaimed Year of Dialogue. Few people will argue that the most convenient mechanism for dialogue between the state and society and between various parts of society is mass media. An analysis of three central Russian newspapers – MK, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, and Komsomolskaya Pravda – leads to the conclusion that from January 1, 2001, until April 21, 2001, the central press was not particularly interested in indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia, and the Far East in particular and interethnic relations in general. (Except Chechnya, where all that is happening, in our opinion, has nothing to do with questions of interethnic relations.) As of January 1, 2001: MK published only one article about indigenous peoples, “In the Middle of Nowhere,” on March 31, 2001. The article is about Chukotka; it is enormous, an entire two-page opening, and is fairly benevolent with respect to the Chukchi. Unfortunately, in this article they serve as a backdrop to the focal point: the new governor, Roman Abramovich. Interestingly, the writer is Eric Felley, editor of Le Temps of Switzerland. Apparently, that explains the politically correct tone with respect to the indigenous population. Komsomolskaya Pravda also mentioned native people only once but also in a fairly big article on January 10 and also about Chukotka. The tone of the article by a Russian journalist is accordingly different: one of the subheads reads “The Negro rum was nicknamed Death to the Chukchis.” The article is cruel, and these “informational” statements leave a heavy aftertaste: “in the Keperveyem Boarding School, half of the (indigenous) children are feebleminded” or “When the Soviet Power opened schools… the Chukchi was happy to go there, not to learn, but because of free meals.” Worst of all is that the average reader obtains a negative picture of indigenous people. Right is the journalist, who finishes the article by saying that unless this topic is brought up, “the Chukchi majority, together with other northern peoples, will be doomed to an awful death.” Only it is necessary to write about this from various points of view. Nezavisimaya Gazeta mentioned indigenous peoples on more occasions than any other: as many as two times! Once, on January 30, in the article “If You Have No Dog,” in an unpretentious short story about the importance and loyalty of working dogs to their Chukchi owners. The author even called it a Yuletide one. Shortly before that, on January 26, there appeared the article “Freezing Russia.” The article per se does not mention indigenous people or peoples, but the picture shows close-up an aborigine in ethnic attire drinking vodka straight from a bottle. The caption says: “Inhabitants of the North have to warm themselves by using an old Russian method.” Thus, the country’s three most widely read dailies, since the beginning of the year proclaimed International Year of Dialogue between Civilizations by the United Nations, have paid attention to the multiethnic base of Russia only four times. Even three, if you consider the Swiss nationality of one author, who, in addition, was more interested in Governor Abramovich. And why not? Why should a Swiss journalist be interested in Russia in something that does not interest Russian reporters at all? As a rule, even a most liberal society may have its weak points. All agree that the situation is difficult and that something needs to be done, and all speak fairly often about this need to do something. But for the time being we lack agreement about what specific steps may and must be taken to begin a lengthy and difficult process of improving the existing situation. One of the most efficient means to achieve agreement, in our opinion, is a direct and open dialogue with the participation of all the interested parties. An almost ideal platform for such a dialogue could be the press. The objective of the dialogue is to strengthen the understanding of that broad variety of cultures may be the source of improvement and growth, if its roots lie under the roof of the global civilization, based on the perception of tolerance and freedom as common values. But how can one convince those people in Russia who see themselves as destitute and disfranchised, who see no future or hope for themselves or their children? How can one convince them that there are others who find themselves in an even worse situation and need their sympathy, the same sympathy that they themselves do not receive? And such people are the majority. And these people do not trust either the local or the central authorities. But they still trust the United Nations. Madam Louise Fréchette, UN Deputy Secretary-General, said on April 13 at joint hearings of the committees for international affairs of the parliament of Sweden: “The United Nations continues to embody the hope for a more just and equal world order. It remains the only world institution whose legitimacy is based on the practically general membership, the only institution whose mandate covers not only security and development but also human rights and the environment, the only institution whose prestige rests, not on the use of force, but on the force of the values it represents.”<o:p </o:p The Constitution of Russia opens with brilliant words: “We, the multiethnic people of the Russian Federation…” And how many people in the street know about it? And what percentage of those who know understands what that means for the country, for society, and for the individual?<o:p </o:p On behalf of the L’auravetl’an Information Center, I want to suggest to you discussing those possible specific steps that we, with UN support, all together or each one separately can take to increase the attention of the central media, society, and the state to the first line of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.<o:p </o:p Oleg Egorov
President of L’auravetl’an IIC<o:p </o:p Help the Evenk in Kazachinskoye-Lena District, Irkutsk Oblast, Russia<o:p </o:p Since 1977, I have been interested in the problems of an Evenk community, and at present their chances for survival have reduced drastically. The gist of the problem is this.<o:p </o:p The ancestral lands of the Vershina Khandy [Upper Khanda] Band of the Evenk were very strongly affected in the late 1970s and early 1980s by the construction of the Baikal-Amur Railroad. Migrations of wild ungulates from northern territories into the Khanda River Valley for wintering first reduced and then discontinued altogether, as the Railroad had been built without taking into account the ecological peculiarities of the territory. In addition, the construction project attracted numerous people (tens of times more numerous than the local population), who started hunting and fishing. As a result, the Evenk found it much more difficult to gain their daily bread, since all their incomes used to come from hunting and fishing. Then, in the 1980s, along the entire eastern boundary of the Evenk traditional territory, the KI-450 Correctional Labor Colony Administration cut the forest clean, and roads were built in areas previously inaccessible, ones that had served as reserves. As a result, there was the Baikal-Amur Railroad and actively developed areas along it on the north and the easily accessible territory cut and burned by forest fires on the east.<o:p </o:p With the beginning of the development of the Kovyktinskoye gas-condensate field, sections have been cut on Evenk lands, gas reserve prospecting has been and is being done, but the field’s development per se is not being conducted on Evenk lands yet. At the same time, the territory already allocated for field development, where work is in full swing now, abuts on the band’s lands, with the boundary passing along the Khanda-Orlinga dividing range.<o:p </o:p Thus, only a 37-kilometer [23-mile] strip in the Khanda River Valley remained in the southern portion of the Upper Khanda Evenk Band’s traditional lands through where wild ungulates could pass freely on their way to places of their winter concentration, where the Evenk used to hunt them. Yet, when the RUSIA Petroleum Company built a road from the settlement of Magistralnyy to the gas field, this migration route was also cut off. Therefore, the band’s traditional lands are totally isolated from the main ways of migration of wild ungulates today and are easily accessible to all kinds of infringers of the environmental protection legislation, and that endangers the survival of the Evenk band. The RUSIA Petroleum Company allocates compensation funds for the harm it does, but the funds are only sufficient to put two Evenks on the payroll as professional hunters. Apparently, everyone understands that potentially they can only go calming the band’s members and can do nothing at all to change the current unfavorable situation. The company’s executive dealing with environmental matters, Mr. F.T. Selikov, says that the Evenk have been offered a move at the expense of the company to other population centers of the district, but they have turned that offer down. Apparently, they understand that, by moving, they would lose the traditional way of life, would immediately dissolve in the larger population, and would gradually lose the title to their traditional lands. As for the professional hunter salaries, the opinion in unanimous: it is not even an attempt to solve the problem, but glass beads of the 17th-18th-century merchants and industrialists in a modern interpretation.<o:p </o:p If the condensate field development begins reaching industrial proportions and no measures are taken, the Upper Khanda Band will cease to exist. Their southern neighbors, the Evenk band living in Vershina Tutury [Upper Tutura], Kachug District, Irkutsk Oblast, will not be left in peace either, if the field is developed and a gas pipeline is built. Being involved in public monitoring of the development of the Kovyktinskoye gas-condensate field as a member of the Baikal Environmental Wave, an Irkutsk regional NGO, I am trying to help the Evenk, but I am afraid that this will not be enough and therefore am asking you to step in with whatever assistance is possible.<o:p </o:p Sincerely,
Viktor Kuznetsov,
for IIC, April 17, 2001<o:p </o:p

Address Change

Dear indigenous Brothers and Sisters,
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Please be informed that L’auravetl’an Indigenous Information Center had moved. The new address and telephone are: 103009, Moscow,
Nikitsky pereulok, dom 4,
Office 406,
Telephone/Fax +7 (095) 202 38 20
Russian Federation
L'auravetl'an IIC We are looking forward to hearing from you. L'auravetl'an IIC,
March 1, 2001

NGO Committee reviews compliants; considers applications of NGO

The Committee on Non-governmental Organizations met this afternoon to continue its review of complaints against non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and to consider applications for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) during its resumed 2000 session. The Committee closed the matter regarding two complaints, deferred one complaint, recommended granting special consultative status to five NGOs, and deferred action on one application. Regarding the complaint against Christian Solidarity International, the representative of the Sudan had written to ECOSOC asking for an investigation on why the NGO was allowed to distribute its publications inside and outside the fifty-sixth session of the Commission on Human Rights. The Committee sent a letter to the Commission asking for assurances that such incidents did not happen in the future. The representative of the Sudan said that she was satisfied with the response from the Commission, but reserved the right to raise the issue again if the NGO violated the rules governing United Nations meetings. The Committee decided to close the matter. Turning to a similar complaint against the World Confederation of Labour by Mauritius, the observer member of Mauritius asked for time to consider the matter, as he had just received a response to the complaint. He also mentioned another complaint which he believed had been withdrawn. The Committee decided to defer the matter pending a response from the delegation of Mauritius. The Committee then took up new applications for consultative status from NGOs. General consultative status is intended for NGOs concerned with most of the activities of ECOSOC that are broadly representative of society in different regions of the world. Once accorded general status, NGOs can propose items for ECOSOC’s agenda, attend and speak at its meetings and circulate statements. Organizations concerned with only a few of the fields of ECOSOC’s activity may be considered for special consultative status, which would allow them to attend meetings and circulate statements. Roster status is accorded to those NGOs which can make occasional and useful contributions to ECOSOC or to other United Nations bodies. Roster status NGOs can attend meetings and are available for consultation at the ECOSOC’s request. Regarding the application from the Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East of the Russian Federation, the representative from the Russian Federation said he was familiar with the work of the NGO and felt that special consultative status would be more appropriate. The Committee recommended special consultative status for the Association though it had asked for roster status. The Chairman, Levent Bilman (Turkey), asked the Secretariat to send a letter to the NGO informing it of its obligations with regard to special consultative status and to ask them to give a response to the recommended consultative status application before ECOSOC had to address the matter. The Committee also recommended special consultative status for the Centre for Adivasee Studies and Peace and the Indian Council for Child Welfare. Regarding the application for special consultative status from Mediterranean Council for Burns and Fire Disasters, the representative of India said he was convinced of the professional nature of the organization and fully supported its application. The Committee recommended the status requested by the NGO. The Society to Support Children Suffering from Cancer was also granted special consultative status. During the Committee’s review of the complaint against the International Federation of Human Rights by Bahrain, the observer member of Bahrain outlined the complaints against the NGO. He said that not only had the NGO distributed publications at the meeting of the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, its member had also directly addressed the Bahrain delegation in an unacceptable way. The observer member appealed to the Committee and the Commission not to allow such persons to work under their umbrella without ascertaining that they would not behave in a manner that was not in keeping with the ethics and protocol of a United Nations meeting. He asked that his statement be registered in the Committee’s minutes. In supporting the complaint, the representative of the Sudan said that decisions should be adopted to guarantee that such incidents are not repeated. The Chair suggested that the Secretariat inform the Commission of the complaint and ask them to take the necessary precautions to prevent such an incident being repeated. The Committee then closed the matter. Regarding the application from the International Lesbian and Gay Association requesting special consultative status, the representative of Germany informed the Committee that the NGO had had its roster consultative status suspended in 1994 because of concerns about associate members’ links with paedophilia. In 1998, the NGO was asked to submit a new application which was now being considered. Responding to questions from members, the NGO representative said that her organization had never promoted or been associated with paedophilia. The associate member who did was duly expelled, and the constitution was changed in 1997. The NGO was now very careful in selecting its members and had put in place a procedure for suspension and expulsion. It was no longer as naive as it had been in the past. She said her organization would be happy to submit the list of organizations that had been expelled. The Committee decided to defer the application pending a response to members’ questions. The 19-member Committee on NGOs makes recommendations on applications from NGOs for standing with ECOSOC, and on requests for reclassification of that standing. Non-governmental organizations may be granted either general, special or roster consultative status, according to their work, with different privileges and obligations, according to the different categories. The representatives of Algeria, China, Colombia, United States, Tunisia, Pakistan, Cuba, Bolivia, France, Chile, Ethiopia and observer member Japan spoke on applications and other matters. The Committee will meet again tomorrow, 26 January, at 10 a.m. to continue its work. Information from United Nations Information Center in Moscow
25 January 2001

Turukhansk, Krasnoyarsk region

Local Elections through the eyes and hearts of indigenous people.

There are 29 different indigenous peoples in the Krasnoyarsk region. But contrary to the proclaimed by the administration positive measures, almost all official attitude can be called nothing but discriminatory. In the Turukhansk district 10% of the population are indigenous, but the authorities largely ignore the initiative of the district association to establish a Committee for Indigenous People at the district administration. Thus, how can we expect the budget money allocated for the cultural, educational and social needs of indigenous people to be spent effectively if indigenous people have no say in it, due to the absence of indigenous officers in the administration.

Many complaints about discrimination come to the association from indigenous people and from January 2001 the association begins to make public those complaints on the regular basis.

Nadezhda Novik
Turukhansk Association of Indigenous Peoples

Dear Brothers and Sisters!
Dear Friends and Colleagues!

On behalf of interns and staff of L'auravetl'an Indigenous Information Center we wish you, your families, your relations and your kin a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

In the eternal circle of creation the new XXI century is coming, the new millennium begins. What will it bring to us - the indigenous peoples of Russia? That depends to a large degree on ability and willingness of each and every one of us to comprehend what was and is happening, and why, with our peoples up to now. To comprehend and understand not by mind alone but by heart and sole as well. To understand what for we, and the generations before us, loved and hated, lived and died, raised children and saw away the elders, what did we strive for and what did we achieve. But the most important are our hope and our belief in the future and prosperity of our peoples in the centuries to come. We do not doubt that our peoples will take the deserving place in the brotherly family of the peoples of the World. Because the future depends on us, those who live now.

Let the Sun always warms up your spirits, let your home always be full of guests, let your hand always be steady, the head clear and your conscience clean!

We wish Happiness, Health and Human Warmth to You and Your Families!

L'auravetl'an Indigenous Information Center.

Embassies Meetings

As an important part of the internship program, the Center organized meetings of interns with officials from the embassies of those foreign countries that are active in the fields of Human Rights, Democracy, Economic and Humanitarian Aids, Indigenous peoples, the Arctic Council and other bi and multilateral activities designed to assist the Russian Federation, its
people and its indigenous peoples.

We regret that the embassies of such important and active countries as the United States and Sweden were not a part of the program this time.

We hope that in the future the indigenous grassroots representatives will be able to take back to their respective communities and organizations in the remote regions of Russia information and understanding about governments and peoples of all countries that are a part of the international efforts to make our global village a better place to live for everyone.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation, for the highly informative and productive meetings with the interns, to the Ambassadors and the diplomats of the Moscow embassies of Finland, Denmark, Germany, Canada and Norway.


Northern MPs Unite

The formation of the Russian North Interfactional Group was announced on October 6, 2000, at the State Duma of the Russian Federation. The new group is made up of Artur Chilingarov, Yelena Mizulina, Andrey Nikolayev, Viktor Chernomyrdin, Roman Abramovich, Valeriy Dorogin, Vladimir Butkeyev, and other deputies from the northern regions of Russia, totaling more than 60. All the State Duma factions and groups are represented in the Russian North Group.

"In conditions when the executive agency responsible for state policy in the North has been dissolved, the Russian North Group will objectively become one of the powerful and authoritative associations of deputies called on to defend the interests of the voters from northern regions," Ms. Valentina Pivnenko, Russian North Group chairperson, said at a news conference.

"The state needs a comprehensive policy with respect to northern territories," Ms. Pivnenko stressed. "Today, it is lacking. The state must realize what it stands to gain from developing northern territories. Contrary to what some politicians say, the northerners, who live in very rich regions, are not and will never be a burden to federal authorities. The inhabitants of the North know how to earn money on their own. The state should not stand in their way," Ms. Pivnenko said.

Ms. Pivnenko noted that the new association of deputies intends to actively collaborate with the government and the regions in the creation of a single normative base regulating the state's policy in the North. She said that group representatives had a working meeting with Russian Government Vice Premier Aleksey Kudrin on October 5. The vice premier promised to increase the funding for the resettlement of inhabitants of the North and a number of federal programs included in draft 2001 federal budget, according to the Group's chairperson. She said that a meeting between the Russian North Group's representatives and Mr. German Gref, economic development and trade minister, also to discuss the northerners' gut issues was planned to take place a few days later.

Information from the Committee for the Problems of the North
and the Far East of the State Duma of the Russian Federation


Dear brothers and sisters,
Dear friends and colleagues,

L’auravetl’an Indigenous Information Center is proud to inform that Ms. Fenia Lekhanova (intern of the 9th group of the Center) became the winner of the award “All Russia Teacher 2000”. The competition was among the best teachers nominated by local schools from all regions of the Russian Federation, from Murmansk to Vladivostok. 75 of them reached the finals in Moscow. Ms. Fenia Lekhanova is an Evenk and a teacher of Evenk language in Iengra, Yakut-Sakha Republic. We sincerely congratulate Ms. Fenia Matveevna Lekhanova, her family, her relations and her community with such high achievement.

The words of Fenia Lekhanova in Evenk:

“ Aknil, eknil! Aiam bideckellu, goroe bideckellu. Dialdoover, girkildoover beledenel unekellu. Besl bidenel, besl bikellu, ekellu merver tikivre”.

(“Brothers and Sisters! Good and long life to all of you. Move forward by helping your relations and your friends. We were created humans and may we never loose our Human face”.)

We Want Openness

In April, 2000, L’auravetl’an Indigenous Information Center (IIC) was offered by its German partner to identify an indigenous person who could represent the indigenous peoples of the Russian North, Siberia and Far East at the international conference “The Global Dialog. Fighting Poverty: Social Innovations and New Coalitions”. The conference takes place in Hanover, Germany July 25-27, 2000.

The L’auravetl’an IIC suggested that RAIPON could be the organization selecting such person through its local chapters and advised the Germans to go directly to RAIPON leadership. IIC motivated its decision by a desire to see at the conference a person who would not only represent grassroots indigenous communities but an umbrella organization as well, a person who is dealing with everyday problems of indigenous peoples, working to find the solutions and belongs to one of indigenous peoples.

We just found out that the RAIPON leadership decided to send as such representative Ms. Tamara Y. Semenova, Deputy Coordinator of the Danish-Greenlandic Initiative.

Since Ms. Semenova is not an indigenous person, does not represent any indigenous community, not really a member of the RAIPON staff and whatever knowledge she has about our lives is theoretical at best - we do not understand why she should represent our peoples. Why could not RAIPON leaders to select a Dolgan person from Taimyr or a Koriak from Kamchatka or any other worthy indigenous person who could tell about all our lives through his or her personal experiences? And why could not the RAIPON leadership allow its regional or local chapters to make that selection?

One might ask why are we talking about all of this?

Because we are not sure that the RAIPON leaders, while making the decision, really seriously thought about the importance of the “spirit of new partnership” for our peoples, according to which, indigenous peoples must have an opportunity to speak with their own voices, through their own representatives and at all forums in all levels.
Because the decision of the RAIPON leadership was not coordinated with the regional chapters and the information about the conference was not disbursed through the local chapters.
Because we want openness and transparency regarding the decision making process from the leaders of our organizations.
Because our peoples and their representatives must have full and clear information about our organization activities and such information must not be limited only to the RAIPON leadership.
Because such actions as the one with the conference can lead to loss of trust in our communities to the RAIPON leaders.
Because if it will continue to grant such an important representative mandate to the people who have nothing to do with our peoples, RAIPON might lose its face.
Because if the RAIPON leadership will continue to disrespect our peoples it will inevitably lead to the loss of respect to our peoples, our people and our organization from our partners and other NGOs.
We write all this because we demand an answer – who, why and how selected Ms. Semenova to be the RAIPON representative at the Hanover conference?

We want that never again such decisions were made without direct participation of the regional chapters and indigenous peoples who are members of those chapters.

We do not want our own RAIPON leadership to violate indigenous peoples’ rights and to leave us without an opportunity to be heard.

We want to respect our leaders and to be respected by them.

We want to be proud of RAIPON, because RAIPON is us, and not the leaders of the Moscow office.

Oxana KOZHIKAEVA, Udege, Primorsky region.
Ailanmaa SENGI, Tyva, Tyva republic.
Liubov STOLYPINA, Dolgan, Taimyr Autonomous region.
Anatoly SPIRKIN, Keto, Krasnoyarsk region.
Nikolay FOMIN, Veps, Karelia republic.
Svetlana TUKHTENEVA, Altai, Altai republic.
Larisa SALINDER, Nenetz, Yamal-Nenetz Autonomous region.
Arat KHIDYP, Tyva-Todzh, Tyva republic.

Urgent Telegram to L'auravetl'an IIC
from Pevek, Tchaun District, Chukchi Autonomous Region
June 9, 2000

My people are on the verge of extinction. Children are sick. Almost no one has money to go away on vacation. The prices are unthinkable. Government's financial compensations for the hardships of the living in the Arctic have been canceled by the governor. The situation is a virtual genocide. I am protesting this war without bombs against my people.

Yelena Montada,
Chairperson, Pevek's RAIPON branch.

May 16, 2000, President of Association of Indigenous Peoples of Krasnoyarski krai Maimago Gennady Nikolaevitch dramatically passed away.

Gennady Maimago was foundation father of Arctic Indigenous movement in Russian Federation. We all remember his inestimable contribution to the movement not only of his Dolgan people, but of all Indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East of Russia. He dedicated all his live to revival, preservation and further development of Indigenous culture.

On behalf of the staff and interns of the L'auravetl'an Indigenous Information Center and "Severnye prostory" magazine let us express our deep condolence to all relatives, colleagues and friends of Gennady Maimago. This is too great loss for all who knew him and worked together.

Letter from Anadyr, Capital of Chukchi Autonomous Region

So, this is the 5th day I am sitting in Anadyr airport with no possibility of flying to the Chukchi District (my home) in sight. And I am not alone. The airport is crammed with people who are trying for days to get a flight to all parts of the Chukchi region or mainland Russia. There are no flights - because there is no fuel.

While I was at L’auravetl’an IIC in Moscow, we participated in TV show “Tema”. The show was about the supplies, food and fuel deliveries to the North. The minister for GOSKOMSEVER (Federal ministry responsible for the deliveries) and our governor Alexander Nazarov assured the entire country that everything is either delivered already or about to be delivered. That is as far away from the reality as Anadyr is from Moscow. Nothing has been delivered, the ice is already here and only way to get anything to us is by air. That means that the prices will skyrocket.

Anadyr airport refuses to sell tickets to those who do not have them yet. That was the decision of the airport’s Director General. His reasoning is simple: no tickets – no free beds in the airport’s hotel. When passengers asked who gave him the right to brake the law, the DG answered: “I do not need anybody’s permission. I am the boss here, I am the law”. A bed in 3 person’s room cost 163 Rubles per night. If I had one, I’d pay for my 5 days 595 Rubles (almost a month salary). I have a chair in the airport’s lounge, which I share on rotating basis with some other passengers.

No coal was delivered to the Chukchi district.

In comparison with the Chukchi communities, Anadyr is a town of plenty. The governor and his people often come to our villages, make a lot of promises and proclaim how much money they spend on our communities. We still have nothing. Below are some samples of prices for groceries in our stores:

Sugar – 25 Rubles per kilo;
Flour – 15 Rubles per kilo;
Salt – 15 Rubles per kilo;
Rice – do not have it;
Other grains – do not have it;
Loaf of bread – 17 Rubles;
Potatoes – 30 Rubles;
Onion – 65 Rubles;
Sauerkraut – 85 Rubles.

And all of the above are brought in such small quantities that the very wealthy will buy it at once and the rest of us will have nothing. So, such I found life in my homeland coming back from the three months internship at the Center. What kind of elections the guys in Anadyr and Moscow are talking about when people lost all trust in the authorities, the very same people we voted for in the last elections?

Alyona Aliapaak,
November 16, 1999

Umbrella Organization of Youth of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East of the Russian Federation

Greetings from the Young People of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East of the Russian Federation. We, the young generation of our nations, understand our responsibility for the future of our peoples. We also understand that only in our unity is our strength.

And so we took the first step in assuming that responsibility - on July 10, 1999, in Moscow, we united in umbrella organization, representing young people of 25 indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East of the Russian Federation. These peoples are: Yukagir, Even, Evenk, Shors, Chukchi, Khanty, Ultchi, Udege, Tyva-Todzha, Teleut, Selkoop, Sami, Nivkh, Nenetz, Negidal, Nganasan, Nanai, Mansi, Kumandin, Koriak, Keto, Itelmen, Dolgan, Veps and Altai. The governing body of the organization is the Council of Equals where every nation is represented by one voice. The Chairman of the Council is Mr. Andrey Isakov (Evenk), the Executive Secretary is Mr. Arat Khaidyp (Tyva-Todzhin). We appeal to all who hold sacred the right to self-determination and Human Rights, who shares our belief that it is the high time for young indigenous people to have their own voices, to make their own decisions for themselves and by themselves - work with us. The future of our peoples is what we, the young, will make of it! The next millennium is ours and we are ready to enter it together with you as one human family.

Mr. Andrey Isakov, Chairman
677013, Republic of Saha (Yakutia), Yakutsk, Kalandarashvili street, 27 - 8
Tel +7 (4112) 25 43 52, E-mail:
Mr. Arat Khaidyp, Executive Secretary,
129110, Moscow, Giliarovskogo street, 56
Tel +7 (095) 284 82 48, Fax +7 (095) 288 47 51, 284 80 45, E-mail: