Snowchange Oral History: 2015-2016

Snowchange work with the Lower Kolyma communities has continued without breaks between Autumn 2014 and the end of 2016. Climate change impacts and observations, dissemination of traditional knowledge materials, and community development have proceeded well.

In November and December 2014, the Snowchange work in Kolyma was featured during the Arctic Summit held in Yakutsk. During this governmental event a proposal was put forward to establish a World Heritage Area in Khalarcha Tundra of Lower Kolyma, a territory which is of national interest to the Chukchi.

For much of 2015, the Snowchange coordinators and community focal points continued to test the solar panels placed in Chaigurginoo and international efforts were made to expand the panel programme. In September 2015, Snowchange delegates participated in the ELOKA Workshop in Boulder, Colorado, USA to share the latest from the Kolyma communities. Towards the end of 2015, a Snowchange delegate for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP) in Paris, Chief of the Yukaghir Council of Elders, Mr. Vyascheslav Shadrin, received an award by the Paul K. Feyerabend Foundation for his traditional knowledge work.

In spring 2016, after a decade of preparations, a major traditional knowledge publication featuring the Kolyma oral histories was released. “Life in the Cyclic World” has two parts. Part one of the Compendium is a much-needed overview of the traditional knowledge and biodiversity of the Indigenous peoples of the Eurasian North. It includes reflections on the socio-ecological systems of the Indigenous Nations of this region. Questions of traditional customary systems, oral histories and governance are included. Critical examination of overharvests and their historical context is analyzed.

Part two includes an extensive description of the shifts and imposed changes of the region from the late 1800s to the 2010s. Special focus includes oil and gas development, modernity, hydropower and forestry, mining, nature conservation, oceans, rivers, lakes and fisheries, and mammals and birds. In the conclusions an initiative of nomadic schools for Siberia is proposed as one of the mechanisms to preserve traditional knowledge and communities on the land. 

In April 2016, coordination meetings between Snowchange and Kolyma representatives took place in Norway. This paved the way for the Second Festival of Northern Fishing Traditions, which was held in Zhigansk, on the Lena River, in September 2016. A photo essay of the event is available. 

Last Updated: 
Wed, 11/30/2016