News and Updates 2017

Full week of seminars and events about Indigenous languages and education, Traditional knowledge and food production and Arctic children


The week started with the first all-Russian Congress of Teachers of Native Languages, Literature and Culture of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation. For two days, some 350 participants from 25 regions of Russia as well as representatives from other Arctic countries discussed their native languages, literature and culture. The Association of Teachers of the Native language and literature of the Indigenous minorities of the North, Siberia and far East was established on Monday 20 November during the congress.

Almost 350 participants in the Indigenous Peoples teachers' Congress in the closing ceremony. Photo: Vera Sakhatina/RAIPON

Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group’s Arctic Children round table took place on Tuesday 21 November at the Herzen State University. Some of the topics that were discussed in round table were the AC Arctic Children project implementation, Development of an Arctic-tailored educational system, improvement of the quality and accessibility of education in the Arctic regions, improvement of training for teachers and educators in the Arctic, creation of a unified evaluation system for assessing the quality of education for indigenous children of the North and future development of the Arctic Children project. Round table participants were from all over Arctic states and Indigenous organizations.

Photo: Mikhail Pogodaev/Association of World Reindeer Herders

One of the main objectives of the project Children of the Arctic is to conduct joint research aimed at assessing and improving the quality of approaches applied in the field of pre-school education for children from indigenous small peoples. As an outcome of the discussion was that the project needs continuity. New ideas for the project were that the sport and healthy lifestyle should be incorporated to the project proposal for Arctic Council. Informational system and network for international agricultural sector as reindeer herding should be created. The roadmap for the Children of the Arctic project was completed.


Cultural program was included to the congress as well and on Tuesday afternoon the guests got a chance to visit Hermitage museum. The closing ceremony with Indigenous cultural program at the Institute of the Peoples of the North (IPN) under the Herzen State University ended the succesful congress.

International guests from Alaska, Canada, Finland and Norway. Photo: Vera Sakhatina.

On Wednesday the 18th International scientific-practical conference "Reality of ethnos. The role of education in preserving and developing of the languages and cultures of the indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East of the Russian Federation" started in Herzen Pedagocical university and continued on Thursday. There was a wide range of participants and speakers from North, Siberia and Far East of the Russian Federation as well as from Norway, Finland, Canada and USA (Alaska). They all brought up their best practices from the regions to include the indigenous culture to the education for example in a form of language revitalisation or culture sensitive education.

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Opening and welcoming speech of acting rector of the Herzen State Pedagogical University Sergei Igorevich Bogdanov.

International EALLU-RIEVDAN seminar on Traditional knowledge and food culture of Indigenous Peoples was the concluding seminar of the week on Thursday 23 November. The Seminar venue was at the Institute of the Peoples of the North (IPN) under the Herzen State University. EALLU is an ongoing project in Arctic Council, Sustainable Development Working Group about Arctic Indigenous Peoples food systems and traditional knowledge.

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The Consul General of Norway in St Petersburg Dag Halvorsen opened the seminar.

The students from Russian Federation, mostly from the Institute of the Peoples of the North in Herzen State University in St Petersburg, and Norway, Sámi University of Applied Science, introduced their research projects and topics of their PhD or Master thesis that all included their cultural and traditional knowledge. The best practices in practical use of the reindeer, fish and other food sources and the traditional food culture. For example the traditions in Khanty fishing.  Marta Okotetto spoke about the use of the fat of reindeer, Ravdna Biret Maria Eira introduced her PhD research topic which is slaughtering processes and quality of reindeer meat that are included in the traditional knowledge of Sámi reindeer herding.  Kia Hansen talked about her PhD research topic smoking reindeer meat traditionally in lávvu.

Traditional food presentations by the student and the staff was one of the practical concluding remark of the EALLU seminar.

One of the students Anna Chuprina, who expressed her concern about disappearing of the traditional knowledge in many parts of Indigenous socities in the Arctic because the indigenous youth are not involved in the traditional food production. Chuprina was chosen this fall as the best student of all students in St Petersburg.

The Turandot opera at Mariinsky theatre on Thursday night concluded the whole seminar week in St Petersburg.

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