VIII group of interns


We Are Young - We Must Be United
An Average Life of an Average Indigenous Student
Round Table on Reindeer Herding at the Federal Parliament of the Russian Federation
Food Situation in the Chukchi Villages

We Are Young - We Must Be United

During one conference at RAIPON (Russian Association Of Indigenous Peoples Of the North) it was decided by the coordinating body to created the Youth Organization within RAIPON. It was stressed that uniting the Indigenous young people of Russia is long overdue. Everybody supported the idea but unfortunately the young people themselves did not show any interest nor made any steps.

Let’s think about it. If we ourselves are not interested in solving our own problems then how can we expect anybody else to be interested in it? There are 30 indigenous peoples in the Russian North and the Far East but we never hear anything positive about indigenous young people. It is like we do not exist at all.

So we, young people of Selkoop nation, who are studying in Tomsk, and of Evenk nation studying in Yakutsk, propose to our young indigenous brothers and sisters of Russia to wake up and get organized and united. The first step could be just get to know each other. Here is our “plan of action”. Hear it and do not stay indifferent :

  1. We are calling for the meeting of our young representatives in March 1999, in Moscow;
  2. You must select your representative who, in your opinion, can promote and protect your interests on all levels;
  3. The meeting in Moscow will not only discuss the structure and the by-laws of our organization but also will talk over an idea of the annual international summer camp for indigenous youth. The camp will be taken place on the traditional territory of one of the indigenous nations of the Russian Federation beginning 1999;
  4. The camp will be one week long;
  5. The life at the camp will be in the traditional way and by the rules and customs of that Indigenous nation on who’s territory is the camp;
  6. During that week all further questions regarding the Indigenous Youth Organization will be discuss.

Let’s talk and meet each other. Let’s develop and keep the contacts. Together we will not sunk into depression and apathy. Please, don’t be indifferent! Please don’t be passive! All your ideas are welcome. You can contact us at the L’auravetl’an IIC or (if it is easier) at the following e-mail addresses : Dasha Kudriashova and Irina Shafrannik - dasha@tspu.edu.ru and/or to Andrew Isakov - evedy@saha.ru

 Dasha Kudriashova and Irina Shafrannik (Sekoop, Tomsk)
Andrew Isakov (Evenk, Yakutsk)

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An Average Life of an Average Indigenous Students


Students are students all over the world and they are ready to tackle all kind of problems and nobody expects them to live particularly comfortable. But everything must have its limits.

In Russia, as everywhere else in the world, indigenous people are among the poorest parts of population. By law the regional authorities must cover the costs for the studying and living for those young indigenous people who passed exams and accepted into universities. As the rule the funds come from the Federal budget.

Sometimes those obligations are not met in full and living in big city, away from your family and friends in totally alien social environment can become a total hell.

At the Russian State University named after A.I. Hertzen in St. Petersburg all students (as all people) who came from other parts of Russia must get “propiska” (an offical permit to live in the city). The university sometimes drags the process for months. During that time the students have no place to live. Without the “propiska” the dormitory will take a student only if he/she pays in cash daily out of his/her own pocket.

The rooms at the dormitory are unfurnished and more often than not are in dire need of repair. Students must to obtain the furniture and do the repairs for their own money.

There are no bath or shower facility anywhere in the dormitory. Students are forced to wash in the same sink where they are doing dishes in the common kitchens. But considering that there are only two sinks per floor it makes the washing and doing dishes yet another “adventure in hell”. In the evening the lines to cook and wash stretch out to the ends of the corridors.

There are problems with discipline and security as well. Practically anyone can get into the dormitory. Fights, robberies and breaking in are almost daily occurrences.

Gradually young people get used to living like that. But such life undoubtedly leaves its marks on his or her personality. But we live like that because we have no other choice if we want an education. Help us!

V. Taleeva,

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Round Table on Reindeer Herding at the Federal Parliament of the Russian Federation


On December 3, 1998 the Council of Federation (the upper chamber) of the Federal Parliament of the Russian Federation organized a round-table hearings on “Reindeer Herding in Russia”.

In the hearings participated representatives of Federal and Regional executive and legislative authorities, various research institutes, NGOs and “YamalAgroInvest” region-owned enterprises that processes and sells the reindeer meat.

The interests of the herders (who are all indigenous) were represented by Mr. Khariutchi, President of RAIPON and Mr. Khorolia, President of Union of Reindeer Herders of Russia.

The central themes of the discussion were the preservation and stabilization of the reindeer herding in Russia and possible role of the state.

After review of the general state of the reindeer herding the discussion focussed on the steps and measures to preserve for the future generations and develop further that vitaly important for many indigenous peoples of Russia activity.

There was a general consent that the present awful situation is due to the inability of the regional authorities to support the reindeer herding and absent of coherent policy on behalf of the federal center to promote and protect the traditional agriculture in the regions. The situation is getting worse every year also because of the rapidly increasing activities of the oil and gas companies on the traditional reindeer herding territories.

The focal argument was that reindeer herding is not just one of many professions to make money. Reindeer herding is precisely what makes indigenous peoples who live of it the peoples. The fundamental idea was “First there is a reindeer. Because of the reindeer there is a man. Men make a people. The people preserve the reindeer. If there is no people - there is no reindeer. If there is no reindeer - there is no people.”.

The conclusion was that without protection and support from the federal government the traditional reindeer herding is in real danger of vanishing forever. That will the most definitely resulted in vanishing of the reindeer herding indigenous peoples such as Chukchi, Nenetz, Evenk, Even, Koriak, Hanty, Yukagir, Dolgan, Tyva-Todzhin and Sami.

Arat Khaidyp,

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Food situation in the Chukchi villages


Probably no where in the developed world the food situation is as bad as in the ethnic villages of the Chukchi Autonomous Region of Russia.

Since nobody is getting paid from 1976, the administration is “paying” by produce from the local stores. For instance in the village of Rytkutchi the following is the allotment per family per month (regardless the number of people in the family) : 1 kg of salt, 1 kg of sugar, 2 kg of wheat flour, 2 kg of grain (rice or oats) and 3 kg of meat.

Nothing else! How a family of 4 or 6 people can survive on that? We constantly hear the federal government is putting some money to remedy the situation? Where are the money?

Natalia Vukvukay,

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