The “ Union of Reindeer Breeders of Yakutia” – a public organization

Yuriy Alekseevich Sleptsov
Head, Union of Reindeer Breeders of Yakutia

The organization, the Union of Reindeer Breeders of Yakutia was created on the initiative of its Chairman (Yu.I. Sleptsov) and representatives of ‘numerically-small’ indigenous peoples of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) on 29 August 1999 . The objective of the Union is the protection of primordial settlement, and preservation and development of traditional ways of life, crafts and cultures of these indigenous peoples of the North. The Union was created to strengthen the unity of representatives of the indigenous peoples in dealing with social and economic problems, and also in developing participation in local self-management of the indigenous residence areas. Expansion of inter-ethnic communications between Northern indigenous peoples and other peoples of the world was a further aim.

The basic purposes of the Union are:

Hence, the organization works directly to enhance life, traditional management and protection of rights for Northern indigenous peoples in Yakutia.

The Union organize nomadic camps such as the ethnographic camp “Neltenke” (Even: “Sun”), which has been working since 2000, where children study the Even language. Participants in the ecological camp “Raduga” (Even: “Rainbow”), created in 2001, travel on a certain route. Findings made by the participants - such as that of an entire fossil rhinoceros – have gained much interest from palaeontologists.

In 2002, in the territory of the Momsk National Nature Park , the Union organized the ethno-ecological camp “Garpanga”, which was to study Even language, culture and natural biodiversity. Geobotanists from the Institute of Cryo-Lithozone Studies at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Yakut State University became interested in the results of the field work. The Ministry of Wildlife Management of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is planning an expedition to study the radiation from the uranium deposits Sugun and Boruluolakh and in the Sasyr area of the Momsk region during the next years, based on results from the camp “Garpanga”. Participants in the camp took practical measures for the protection of the Momsk National Nature Park . Scientists also have expressed their desire to participate in the nature protection activities of our Union and to contribute to preservation of the cultural heritage of the Northern indigenous peoples.

The Union of Reindeer Breeders of Yakutia has accumulated experience in fundraising for projects:

All activities of the Union are widely reflected in the mass media of Yakutia and the Far East. The idea of nomadic camps for children of Northern indigenous peoples is also established among Evens in the Magadan area and among Saami in the Murmansk area. The experiences of our Union are communicated to other regions through RAIPON.