Initiatives of the youth organization of Buryatiya’s Evenks
Dampilon Zhargal, President, Gheyevun regional social youth organization of Buryatiya’s indigenous peoples
from Reader’s letters, “Mir Korennykh Narodov – Zhivaya Arktika” No. 9-10, 2002
Our youth organization was formed on December 5, 2001, and we convened a workshop on informing the population about the Federal Law “On Traditional Subsistence Territories …” as our first endeavor. Your journal helped us a lot in selecting the corresponding materials. In future, we are going to work along this line in conjunction with the Dzherginskiy General Nature Reserve bordering the Evenk traditional residence territory. We have prepared an article for your journal as a result of the above workshop wishing to make it known to Evenk villagers in Buryatiya.
A workshop on informing the population about the Federal Law “On Traditional Subsistence Territories …” was convened at the village of Alla, the Kurumkanskiy district, Republic of Buryatiya, on March 12.
About 50 people attended the workshop, including agricultural workers, teachers of the village school, representatives of the local administration and the village’s social organizations.
The workshop was organized by the Gheyevun regional social youth organization of Buryatiya’s indigenous peoples with the financial backing of the grant given by the MOF STsPOI (Novosibirsk).
The workshop identified the advantages of implementing the law and proved how essential it was as well as why it was vital to get down to work immediately in this direction.
During the workshop, teacher Z.N. Ochirova made a proposal about cooperation between the village organizations and the Gheyevun regional social youth organization of Buryatiya’s indigenous peoples. Touching on the problem of the lack communication facilities, she pointed out that it was important to cooperate with urban social organizations so that to exchange information about various projects and new legislation.
Right after that the problem of liaison between the village and the administrative center cropped up. T.I. Ukhinova, a resident of the village of Alla, said that due to remoteness of her village it was not always possible to get new information about projects and laws on indigenous peoples. Even such an important legislative act as the Federal Law “On Traditional Subsistence Territories …” was virtually unknown to everyone.
A.Zh. Sanzhiyev spoke about forest felling now underway on the Evenk traditional residence territory. Day by day we can see huge carriers hauling loads of timber away but can do nothing about it.
There were also many reports about poaching. A.G. Lorgoktoyev told the attendees about shooting the animals in the district forests. Poachers do not stop even at the fact that the Dzherginskiy Nature Reserve is situated inside the district territory.
In reality, the Evenks have a good deal of problems on their territory, including the remoteness of the village and bad roads blocked by the floods during the spring snow thawing and torrential rains when communication with the district center is cut off completely; the massive forest felling by timber cutting industry and private entrepreneurs as well as poaching on the traditional residence territory of the Evenk and many other people.
The law is extremely timely and essential for the defense of local inhabitants’ rights. Therefore, by the end of the workshop it was decided to set up a group of initiators and request the Gheyevun regional social youth organization of Buryatiya’s indigenous peoples to assist it in working out documents in order to start taking necessary measures.”
The Editor’s comment
We are grateful to the Gheyevun regional social youth organization of Buryatiya’s indigenous peoples for their letter. We welcome and support their efforts to convene a workshop and disseminate legal knowledge among indigenous peoples of Buryatiya. It has been a good start. The Gheyevun youth organization has chosen the right line of action. However, we would like to call on the members of the Gheyevun youth organization and inhabitants of the village of Alla not to remain “sad observers” of how laws are violated and the environment is destroyed. Every citizen of Russia and even the more so, indigenous peoples have the right to report the facts of infringement of environmental legislation, demand information about the activities thought to be detrimental and illegal. Individual citizens and indigenous peoples have the right to insist on halting the activities leading to the destruction of environment, disturbing their traditional occupations and lifestyle. The editorial board is sending relevant documents to the youth organization and hopes for cooperation in future.
We wish the Gheyevun regional social youth organization of Buryatiya’s indigenous peoples good luck and every success in its activities.