#Гренландия, #коренные народы, #Северо-Запад России, #Северные страны, #финно-угорские народы, #инуиты, #Greenland, #indigenous peoples, #Nortwest Russia, #Finno-Ugric Peopels, #Inuits, #Nordic Countries

Young Karelia visited indigenous partners in Greenland

project delegation from Young Karelia was hosted by Inuit Circumpolar Council Greenland in Nook. A study trip to the self-governing territory of the Kingdom of Denmark was undertaken within the project "Cooperation of the indigenous peoples of the North-West of Russia and the Nordic countries" supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Participants represented project partners from Karelia, Leningrad and Murmansk regions and St. Petersburg. The study visit was aimed at learning the experience of local organizations, authorities and institutions in promoting sustainable development and preserving the culture and identity of the indigenous people. The partners also devoted time to planning further joint activities.


ICC Greenland prepared for the Russian guests a rich and diverse program that included such aspects as sustainable development, work of the non-profit sector, development of handicrafts and promotion of employment, preservation of language and culture, and education. Also delegates visited remote settlements to get acquainted with the living conditions of indigenous communities.


The first day in Nuuk began with an official meeting in the office of ICC Greenland. Welcoming words of the President of ICC Greenland Hjalmar Dahl followed by a presentation of the executive director Mads Fagterborg on the situation with human rights and sustainable development. The former Prime Minister of Greenland Kuupik Kleist continued with a presentation about autonomy and current political and economic trends on the world's biggest island. The hosts also demonstrated a short movie dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the participation of the Inuit of Russian Chukotka in the work of the Inuit Circumpolar Council International, a permanent participants of the Arctic Council.


In response, Russian project participants told about the work of their organizations and shared ideas about further joint activities in the project. The head of the delegation, Chair of the Center "Young Karelia" Alexey Tsykarev introduced the history and priorities of the Finno-Ugric movement. Svetlana Kolchurina, director of the Association of Ethnocultural Centers and Heritage Organizations "ECHO", spoke about projects in the field of ethno-design, support of indigenous arts and crafts. The director of the Fund of Socio-Cultural Programs "Resources" Alina Nechaeva presented the state programs of support of the indigenous peoples in Leningrad region and the experience of interaction between indigenous NGO's and indigenous communities and regional authorities. In his turn, Vladimir Efimov, responsible for public relations of the Izhora community of Shoykula, elaborated on the main difficulties that small-numbered indigenous communities are facing today.


The delegation also included two experts. Galina Lukyanova, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Institutions and Applied Political Studies at the St. Petersburg State University, will prepare a comparative review of best practices supporting indigenous peoples in the Nordic countries and North-West Russia. International expert, a member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in 2014 - 2016, Oliver Loode looked into  the autonomy of indigenous peoples and the consequences of climate change. The result of his work is an interview with Kuupik Kleist, published in the podcast "Indigenous Hour with Oliver Loode". This podcast episode is part of the project's communication plan.


The partners agreed that they will look at the possibilities of holding a joint event at one of the global indigenous peoples' forums. The pilot event in the framework of the project was already held in July 2017 in Geneva, in the margins of the 10th session of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Issues. This event was about the employment and entrepreneurial activities of indigenous peoples. This topic is relevant both for Russia and for other Arctic territories and countries.


The program of the first day ended with the opening of a photo exhibition about the indigenous peoples of the North-West of Russia. ICC members and Greenlandic capital's public were introduced to pictures from the collection "Karelian Faces" of a Karelian photographer Margarita Kemppaynen, images from the Mobile School of the indigenous peoples of Leningrad region and photos from the archive of the Association of Kola Sami. 

The most impressive part of the study trip was visiting some remote Inuit settlements - the villages of Kapisillit and Qoornoq. The participants got acquainted with the way of life, traditional economic activities and the current situation of the indigenous people of largest island of the world. The sea tour gave an idea of the fascinating nature of fjords, glaciers, icebergs and Arctic waterfalls, flora and fauna of Greenland. The Russian delegation was accompanied by the director of ICC Greenland, so discussions on shared topics continued during the day.


The two remaining days were spent visiting social, educational and cultural institutions. Acting rector of the planet's smallest university Suzanne Moller spoke about the conditions of study, research, programs and international cooperation of the university. Since the topic of health is of great interest to the university, Alexey Tsykarev gave to the university's library materials of an expert seminar on the health of indigenous peoples of Russia and the study on the right of indigenous peoples to health prepared in 2016 by the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


The Language Secretariat plays the same role as Term and Orthography Task Forces in the Russian regions - it systematizes and standardizes the grammar, introduces new vocabulary, monitors the correct translation of terms and toponyms, maintains a catalog of permitted names. Lately, the language secretariat has been doing a great job of using information and communication technologies. Members of the delegation received a pocket version of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Greenlandic language. Translation of the Declaration into the KarelianLivvi and Vepsian languages was carried out by Center "Young Karelia" several years ago.


In a multipurpose center Russian guests learned about the forms of employment in Nuuk that young people are offered: sewing classes, cooking, carpentry, bone carving. The Center practices a sustainable model of interaction with the local community, buying fish and meat from fishermen and hunters of Nuuk. At the same time, the management already plans to organize for the pupils a separate class on hunting and fishing. The center has a small souvenir shop where its customers' products are sold. With the teacher of the center Kim Eriksson, there was a long discussion about how the employees work with the marginalized youth, how they get the youth rid of alcohol and drug addiction, and how they help the youngsters to open up emotionally and professionally.


At the end of the study trip, the delegation also visited local museums and had an official meeting with the Vice-Mayor of Nuuk and an excursion to the Greenland Parliament building. Issues of municipal development, international cooperation, sister-city ties and democratic organization of Nuuk, the largest municipality of Greenland, were raised.

Delegation members shared their thoughts on what they learned in Greenland and how this new knowledge can by used in their organization's work.

Svetlana Kolchurina: "As a director of the Association of Ethnocultural Centers of Karelia, I was very keen to learn about the modern life of the Inuits of Greenland. The events and visits made it possible to deepen ourselves in the social and cultural environment not only of the city of Nuuk, but also of small remote sites. It was useful to get acquainted with approaches to the preservation of cultural heritage. It was especially pleasant to observe that the majority of the inhabitants of Greenland support a traditional way of life. It is worthy to note, that the cooperation of Russian and Greenlandic counterparts towards this study visit was very well-coordinated and implemented. The four-day program had a busy schedule of meetings, negotiations, presentations, discussions, and it was built in a very professional way and reflected the interests of both Russian delegates and the hosts."

Oliver Loode: "As a former member of UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, I had read and heard a lot about the unique experience of Greenland with respect to implementing indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination via political autonomy, however this was an opportunity to witness Greenland’s experience first-hand. We were exposed to both Greenland's accomplishments but also numerous challenges - such as low education levels of the indigenous population - on its path to greater autonomy and self-determination. The study trip significantly raised my understanding of the practicalities associated with implementing UNDRIP, and securing indigenous peoples’ rights worldwide, and as such, was an important milestone in my professional development in the field of indigenous peoples’ issues and rights."

More pictures are available in the Gallery.