English translation from the official periodical of RAIPON “Мир коренных народов - живая арктика” (Indigenous Peoples’ World - Living Arctic) No. 9-10, 2002

Traditional Subsistence Territory Ivankino

Darya Kudryashova, native of the village of Ivankino

The enactment to establish the Ivankino traditional subsistence territory was adopted by the administration of the Kolpashevskiy Rayon, Tomskaya Oblast in March 2002. The villagers awaited this enactment for a year, not passively but taking legal steps required in such a case. Ivankinoans were convinced that the issue of a traditional subsistence territory is of overriding importance, standing at the forefront of all other challenges facing indigenous peoples. They believed that the transfer of native lands to indigenous peoples would help them survive as an ethnos. The question of land transfer to the villagers of Ivankino was not solved at once. They had to sweat it out before coming up with a positive solution but the local folks stood out for their rights with ardency and persistence.

In 2000, a conflict occurred in the village in connection with the transfer of an island – the only island with valuable breeds of conifers, including Siberian cedar – to a timber extracting station for felling. That was for the first time when the local population started to write letters to all quarters appealing for help and protection of their rights. Appeals from the villagers were received by the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON), the Legal center “Rodnik” and letters sent to the President’s representative in the Siberian federal area, administration of the Tomsaya Oblast, administration of the Kolpashevskiy Rayon and so on and so forth. The lawyers of the Legal center “Rodnik” started to prepare documents required for the establishment of a traditional subsistence territory in the Kolpashevskiy Rayon.

RAIPON invited S.N. Sychin, head of the Ivankino village territorial board to participate in a workshop on the lands of traditional use of natural resources at which he would be able to prepare, jointly with scientists, concrete proposals with regard to his problem. Olga Murashko, member of the IWGIA working group was dealing with the problem throughout the workshop and produced a model document concerning the Ivankino territory of traditional use of natural resources on the basis of appeals made by the villagers and the documents brought by S.N. Sychin.

The documents prepared at the workshop were sent to the administration of the Kolpachevskiy Rayon where its lawyers and the head of the administration himself start to deal with this land issue. Somewhat later the villagers received the long-awaited positive response – the enactment of the head of the Tomskaya Oblast’s Kolpashevskiy Rayon “On the establishment of the Ivankino traditional subsistence territory in the Kolpashevskiy district”.

It was well worth seeing what joy this paper had brought to the village opening so many possibilities for the Sel’kups. Ivankinoans were so happy that seemed to have phoned every one in the district wishing to share their joyful news. The district newspaper “Sovietskiy Sever” published the Enactment about the establishment of the first traditional subsistence territory in the Tomsk region and the information about the event was added to the website of the town.

The villagers started to plan their own future activities, the development of entrepreneurship in their village, expansion of fishing and hunting. Ivankinoans have been engaged in fishing and hunting from time immemorial but, unfortunately, due to the conditions prevailing at present, the people are involved in traditional activities either individually or, at best, do it as a family business. Now, after the publication of the Enactment, the Selkups are planning to organize a community and proceed with traditional economic activity in common buying the required equipment and supplies.

The villagers are pretty sure that together they can earn well and help restore their native village. The first step has been already made on the way to develop an ethnic settlement – the next one depends on the indigenous villagers themselves, on what the people can do on their land with their own hands, on whether they would be able to revive their native traditions.

On behalf of the villagers, I would like to express our special gratefulness to RAIPON, the Association’s expert Olga Murashko, the lawyers of the Legal center “Rodnik”, and V.V. Shafrygin, head of the Kolpashevskiy Rayon (Tomskaya Oblast) administration.

It is our strong desire that everything has just started and that there are many more good and useful laws in the offing to be adopted in favor of revival and development of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation.