Snowchange Oral History: 2008-2011

Between 2008-2011 the Nutendli community has developed another herding brigade and participates in the solar panel pilot project too. A member of the Nutendli, Mr. Kemlil received a major social recognition "Hero of the Russian Federation" in 2010. Nutendli works closely with the Snowchange Cooperative on issues of nomadic schooling, traditional knowledge and reindeer herding in the context of climate change.

In the period 2008-2011 the Turvaurgin community, following the initiatives and energy deriving from the solar panel project and other developments has embarked on a road of self-determination and rebuilding which has no close parallels in the contemporary Russian Arctic. This process owes much to the leadership of Mrs. Yelena Antipina, the head of village of Kolymskaya as well as the current head of Turvaurgin, Mr. Vladimir Andreevich Romanovskii and vice-head Mr. Pyotr Kaurgin. We should also recognize the role of President of Northern Forum Academy Mr. Vladimir Vasiliev and the Head of the Yukaghir People Mr. Vyacheslav Shadrin in this process as coordinators.

In 2010 the village and community of Kolymskaya (Turvaurgin) held the first ever National Assembly of Chukchi Peoples in the Republic of Sakha-Yakutia. International guests from England and Finland participated. Senior politicians from Yakutsk and Moscow flew to the tundra for the first time and saw the situation and positive development which is under way in the community. Following the charter and the declaration of the National Assembly the municipality was declared "National Chukchi Territory" in late 2010.

Dance photoYa-RaR 2010: The girls of the Chukchi dance and song assembly Ya-Rar of Turvaurgin perform in tundra camp during the 2010 National Chukchi Assembly. Photo credit: © Mika Nieminen, Snowchange Co-op, 2010. Used with permission.

Additionally the community received land use rights under the Indigenous legislation in early 2011 where their areas were declared "traditional nature use territories" of Indigenous peoples. It means the Indigenous culture, ways of life and nomadic economy will survive.

In order to celebrate these events the Snowchange Cooperative released a break-through publication "At the Gates of the Sun—A Snowchange Book of Images from Indigenous Nomadic Communities of the Republic of Sakha-Yakutia, Russia" in early 2010 in English and Russian to document the life of the region for the international audiences. This book can be ordered for 25 USD plus shipping from

In Spring 2011 the Turvaurgin community released the first Lower Kolyma Chukchi ABC Book ever for the schools of Kolyma. Language nests following the Maori models from Aoteoroa / New Zealand will be implemented too. Summer 2011 the community has organized traditional knowledge camps for the young women and girls of the community to learn skin sewing and many other reindeer skills. Nomadic education will be developed too in cooperation with the Snowchange Co-op and the United Nations.

Kindergarden visitKindergarden 2010: The international delegates from Snowchange Co-op and from the Arkleton Trust Uk visited the kinderdargen of Kolymskaya where the future leaders of Turvaurgin grow up. Traditional games and language is taught in the kindergarden. Photo credit: © Mika Nieminen, Snowchange Co-op, 2010. Used with permission.

In November 2011 delegates from the Snowchange Cooperative and Turvaurgin will participate in the international workshop “ELOKA” to be held in Colorado, USA devoted to the themes of traditional knowledge and community healing.