English translation from the official periodical of RAIPON “Мир коренных народов живая арктика” (Indigenous Peoples’ World Living Arctic) No. 4, 2000

RAIPON's first information centre in Kamchatka

N. Zaporotskaya

In order to expand its regional activities, the Russian Association of the Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East (RAIPON) decided to establish information centres on environmental protection and the protection of indigenous rights. Thus, bilateral information flows will be established between the central office in Moscow and RAIPON's grass roots organisations.

One information centre will be established in Kamchatka in 2001. The preparations are underway. The centre will receive and distribute information from RAIPON's central office, and will collect information locally to submit back to Moscow. For the collected information, RAIPON rented a publishing space - a page - in the newspaper Aborigen Kamchatki. The project envisages a network of local correspondents in the indigenous  villages, with three so far.

The project was proposed in discussions with Mr Pavel Sulyandziga, RAIPON's Vice-President, Mr O.N. Zaporotskiy, Vice-President of the RAIPON regional branch of the Koryak Autonomous Okrug, Ms Olga Murashko, IWGIA's representative in Moscow, and Thomas Koehler, the consultant to the Danish Environmental Protection Agency.

As a result of Mr Sulyandziga’s and Mr Koehler’s study trip to Kamchatka, the parties decided to establish RAIPON's Ethno-Ecological Centre in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, with local offices in the village of Ossora, Karaginskiy Rayon (the traditional territory  of the Koryaks), in the village of Kovran, Tigilskiy Rayon (the Council for Revival of the Itelmens "Tkhsanom"), and in the village of Palana (the administrative centre of the Koryakskiy Autonomous Okrug). 

Numerous meetings with the indigenous people, with RAIPON's local leaders, with representatives of various local authorities brought forth the understanding that the key problems of the indigenous population are rooted  in the fight for traditional territories and traditional resources. Thus, the agenda for the information centres was defined.

1. Establishment of the two-way information flow between RAIPON and the grass roots indigenous groups in the north of Kamchatka Peninsula:

1. Provision of information on the activities of RAIPON,  international organisations and indigenous organisations in other regions of the North, Siberia and the Far East to the grass roots groups of the indigenous people of the Kamchatka Peninsula: the tribal and family communities, the ethnic enterprises, the reindeer herders.

2. Establishment of a return informational flow on environmental and legal problems from the grass roots indigenous groups of Kamchatka to RAIPON.

3. Establishment of information flows amongthe grass roots non-governmental indigenous organisations of Kamchatka, both through the information centre and directly.

4. Conducting workshops on protection and preservation of traditional knowledge, as well as carrying out  environmental training.

5.  Establishment of communication with and a database on all NGOs of the peninsula.

2. Traditional use of natural resources by the indigenous peoples - model for the rational use and protection of the traditional territories, preservation of the indigenous area of inhabitation, establishment of optimal conditions for non-hindered cultural development.

1. Creation of a database on the federal and regional legislation regarding traditional use of natural resources by indigenous people.

2. Creation of a database on the ethnic enterprises and tribal communities registered in the Koryakskiy Autonomous Okrug and the Kamchatskaya Oblast.

3. Analysis of indigenous economic activities with respect to taxes, quotas on fish, sea mammals, fur-bearing animals, and bears.

4. Education and consultation on protection of indigenous rights in the North at workshops and conferences locally.

5. Implementation of a programme on small grants to preserve traditional environmental knowledge and traditional use of natural resources.

The priority for our work will be studies of positive experience in problem-solving within tribal economies of and ethnic enterprises in our region and in Russia, in order to promote:

1.  Studies of factors and preconditions for the sustainable development of  Kamchatka’s indigenous peoples , mimimizing environmental damage;

2.  Distribution of information on indigenous rights to use, control and protect territories of traditional use;

3.  Participation in the economic decision-making process on the use of resources and distribution of derived profits;

4.  Establishment of indigenous self-government structures.

A significant amount of intensive work needs to be done. We have a common cause though:  to strengthen the political and economic position of the indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East, and to consolidate the northern indigenous minorities movement. We have to bring our efforts together. Our information centre in Kamchatka is available for any kind of cooperation. We look forward to your letters (addressed to the magazine).