#культурное наследие, #финно-угорские народы, #finno-ugric peoples, #cultural heritage

Protection of cultural heritage - a goal for the whole modern society. Archive or life?

In mid-June the expert workshop “Protection and promotion of cultural heritage of indigenous peoples” was held in the Northern Karelia. It was organized by the Karelian regional non-governmental organization “Centre for Support of Indigenous Peoples and Civic Diplomacy “Young Karelia” and International Advisory Committee of the Finno-Ugric Peoples with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Karelia. The event was arranged in honor of historical village Voknavolok (Vuokkiniemi) known for its tradition of runes-singing (Vuokkiniemi). This year it became a cultural capital of the Finno-Ugric world.

Участники семинара побывали в рунопевческой деревни Вокнаволок, где еще можно слышать карельские народные песни в аутентичном исполнении женщин местного фольклорного коллектива «Мартат».

The representatives of the ethnocultural centers of Karelia, civil society and linguistic activists, academia and practitioners – probably the strongest representatives of the Finno-Ugric community relating to different areas of cultural interaction – were brought together at the forest farm yard “Kormilo” for two days. The local roads added a regional color to the discussions as well as an expert feeling that the philosophic attitude of indigenous peoples to the life is as eternal as a road of Northern Karelia. It was also overcome by the coordinators of the International Advisory Committee of the Finno-Ugric Peoples who also held their working meeting during the workshop.   

The participants of the workshop were welcomed by Tatyana Kleerova, Chair of the International Advisory Committee of the Finno-Ugric Peoples and Chair of the Council of Commissioners of the VIII Congress of the Karelians of the Republic of Karelia, as well as by Olga Kerezhina, Deputy Head of the Administration of Kostomuksha urban district. The Deputy Minister for National Politics, Relations with Public and Religious Associations Elena Migunova addressed the participants on the subject of the workshop.   

The UN experts on indigenous peoples Alexey Tsykarev, Karelian, and Dmitrii Kharakka-Zaitsev, Izhorian, raised the issue of more responsibility for preservation of intangible cultural wealth. The UN General Assembly proclaimed 2019 as an International Year of Indigenous Languages and asked UNESCO to lead preparation for it. The experts noted significant spread of practice of inclusion of manifestations of national heritage into the List of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. For example, the Estonians were among the first peoples who included into the List the elements of their culture: Southern Estonian tradition of smoke sauna and traditional songs «leelo» of Setos living on both sides of the border between Estonia and Russia. The Finnish cultural figure Markku Nieminen told the participants of the workshop that the tradition of runes-singing was proposed by the Fund “Juminkeko” headed by him for a nomination by Finland to apply to UNESCO. The cross-border nature of the Karelian epic runes as well as of many other masterpieces of intangible culture around the world works both ways. On one side, it enriches cultures of border area but on the other side, it has legal peculiarities: while in 2013 Finland became a party to the UNESCO Convention “About preservation of intangible cultural heritage”, Russia did not ratify it and cannot nominate items for the world list of masterpieces of intangible culture.  

Директор дома-музея имени исследователя уральских народов Антала Ренули, активистка финно-угорских культур Эстер Рутткаи-Миклиан ведет просветительскую работу в Венгрии, приглашая финно-угорские народы к совместным выставкам и мероприятиям. Одно из популярных направлений в работе – карточные игры с детьми по знаниям о финно-угорских народах.

The issue of functioning of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages is still relevant. As far as our country also did not ratify it there is no more talk about its legal force in relation to the protection of the languages of Russia. However, Zinaida Strogalschikova, Chair of the Veps Cultural Society, believes that the provisions of the Charter could be applied to not less than 40 languages of Russia peoples because these languages are developed and used in different areas. In particular, it relates to the regional languages of Karelia – Karelian and Veps. The transitional solution can be a phased mechanism of ratification of the international treaty gradually covering more and more languages. As for the Karelian language, this gap could be filled in the Republic itself by giving the language an official status. Recently, this work has become more active.   

Archive or life? The issue of transferring indigenous languages and cultures into the modern reality is now discussed more broadly. Svetlana Kolchurina, Director of the Association of Ethnocultural Centers of Karelia, held a substantive training for the specialists working in the cultural area. Among the most convincing findings, the participants emphasized that the modern projects should be contiguous, comprising regional knowledge and thinking based on the traditions and culture, local languages, applied arts, crafts, mode of life and modern employment. Cultural heritage could not remain records of past in a strict sense. It should be developed and applied drawing on identity and regional features. Studying genealogy that intersects with history of the area becomes more popular. Authentic knowledge about the area place names, information about traditional indigenous religions, numerous practical technologies of language use and development, modern museum practices and forms of cultural institutions work are of more and more interest. The society is interested in accurate and reasonable use of culture as a factor of successful development of its territory as well as physical and mental health of local communities.

The cultural heritage of the Finno-Ugric peoples is apparently a strategic resource of the Russian society. This important issue was a topic of the speech of the Doctor of Cultural Studies, Professor of the Department of culture and art of the Mari State University Galina Shkalina. Living culture familiar to everybody as a resource of national security, sustainable development of regions, their reputation and economic attractiveness are those conclusions that become more popular in the framework of the interregional and international cooperation of indigenous peoples.

Photo gallery of expert workshop

Natalia Antonova, Alexey Tsykarev, Svetlana Kolchurina