English translation from the official periodical of RAIPON “Мир коренных народов - живая арктика” (Indigenous Peoples’ World - Living Arctic) No. 15, 2004

A workshop in Chukotka: “Survey of Living Conditions in the Arctic : The Inuit, Saami and Numerically Small Indigenous Peoples of Chukotka”

Compiled by L. Abryutina, Vice-President of RAIPON

The Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) along with an international group of researchers conducted an interviewers’ training workshop within the framework of the project “Survey of Living Conditions in the Arctic: The Inuit, Saami and Numerically Small Indigenous Peoples of Chukotka” (SLICA) in Anadyr, Chukotkan Autonomous Okrug, on 15-19 April 2004.

The workshop was organized with financial support from the University of Alaska , while prerequisites for the workshop were provided by the so-called non-commercial partnership “Chukotkan Group of Support for Scientific Research”.

The major objective of the workshop was to prepare interviewers who would be entrusted with the task of carrying out survey interviews of the population and filling in the survey sheets in their districts. All the interviewers were representatives of indigenous numerically small peoples of Chukotka, thus reflecting concrete realization of the principle of partnership between researchers and indigenous peoples.

Fifteen participants from various districts of Chukotka, two from Moscow and two foreign visitors, Jack and Margaret Cruise, scientists from the Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska , Anchorage attended the workshop.

Representatives of the following institutions were invited to attend: the Okrug’s and Anadyr associations of Chukotkan Indigenous Peoples, the Elders’ Council, the Chukotkan section of ICC, the Department of Affairs of Numerically Small Indigenous Peoples of Chukotka, the Chief Directorate of Health, and the Research Center “Chukotka”.

Dr. Larissa Ivanovna Abryutina, vice-president of RAIPON and Candidate of Political Sciences, was responsible for organizing the workshop.

The project’s prehistory

 The Arctic Leaders’ Summit was held in Moscow on 15-16 September 1999 to deal with problems of health of the aboriginal population in the Arctic region.

At the same time, an international scientific conference was held in Moscow focusing on the discussion of priority guidelines of scientific research aimed at the solution of key problems of indigenous peoples of the Russian North. The International Arctic Science Committee, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and RAIPON initiated this conference with the support and active participation of the RF State Committee for the North.

The summit and conference participants devoted great attention to the problems of worsening health and demographic indicators of the Northern aboriginal population, which is, to a considerable degree, caused by unfavorable socio-economic conditions for vital activity.

In this connection, the workshop participants considered it necessary to carry out international research into the conditions of life of indigenous peoples in the Arctic region. In particular, an international project called “Survey of Living Conditions in the Arctic : The Inuit, Saami and Numerically Small Indigenous Peoples of Chukotka” was approved.

The summit of leaders of indigenous peoples of the Arctic also approved this project. It was decided that the project would cover the Murmansk region and the Chukotkan Autonomous Okrug in the territory of Russia .

The SLICA project commenced in the Western regions of the Arctic : in Denmark ( Greenland ), Norway , Sweden , Finland , Canada , U.S.A. ( Alaska ) and is close to completion. At present, the project is to be carried out in the territory of the Chukotkan Autonomous Okrug. RAIPON holds that the project is a timely undertaking. The project will, without doubt, facilitate making the existing problems more precise, correlate them with corresponding problems in the Arctic across the border and identify ways to overcome problems of health and ecology, thus creating favorable demographic prospects.

The establishment and development of partnership relations between indigenous peoples of the North, scientists and authorities to foster the creation of a new spirit of harmonious development of the Arctic in the 21st century are among the project’s most significant aspects.