The establishement of a Traditional Land-Use Territory

November 1999

(President of the Union of Northern indigenous communities of Kamchatka "Yayar", )

For more than 30 years, the land in the south of the Kamchatkan Oblast has been the subject of various experiments and of privatisation. Uncontrolled land-use in connection with gold mining has led to the degradation of residence areas and to the destruction of the last islands of indigenous culture. It is therefore vital for our communities to establish a Traditional Land-Use Territory. In order to get through various legal and other procedures related to the establishement of such a territory, it is necessary to provide for wide capacity building among our community members. We would like to achieve this with the help of funding. It is necessary to define the area for traditional land-use, to carry out topographical work, and to determine the optimal economic orientation for people of this area. Subsequently, it will be essential to consolidate the constitutional land rights for the communities of the territory and to protect the original residence area of the indigenous people of the Elizovsk District. The indigenous people of southern Kamchatka do not wish to oppose their interests to those of the non-indigenous population. But the conservation of these original residence areas has always been a living law for our ancestors and therefore constitutes a fulfilment of our obligations towards our descendants.