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Preserving the Ethnocultural Heritage of Northern Peoples Discussed at the EEF Creative Business Forum

6 September 2022
Сохранение этнокультурного наследия народов Севера обсудили на Форуме Креативного Бизнеса в рамках ВЭФ

Participants of the Creative Business Forum session ‘North-South: Using Ethnocultural Heritage as a Resource for Sustainable Development’, which was held on the opening day of EEF 2022, talked about preserving the traditions and lifestyles of the Indigenous Peoples of the Russian North. The event was a part of the plan of Russia’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, and the Roscongress Foundation is operating chairmanship events.

During the session, experts from Russian companies, organizations, and agencies also considered issues related to cultural interaction between residents of northern and southern regions and how to build a relationship between Indigenous Peoples and businesses, discussing opportunities for drawing public attention to the problem of preserving traditional occupations and assisting Indigenous Peoples as they strive to safeguard their culture, and prospects for integrating the cultural heritage of these peoples into everyday modern life. The session was organized by the Innosocium Foundation, the social platform of the Roscongress Foundation.

“The human dimension, issues facing Indigenous Peoples and the preservation of their cultural heritage, traditional occupations, and ways of life – all of these remain vitally important to the Russian Federation. In this regard, our attention is constantly focussed on the development of the creative industries in the North,” Ambassador-at-Large for Arctic Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials at the Arctic Council Nikolay Korchunov said.

Participating in the discussion were President of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North Gregory Ledkov, Member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous People Phoolman Chaudhary (Nepal), Vice President for Federal and Regional Programs at Norilsk Nickel Andrey Grachev, Deputy Minister for Arctic Development and Northern Affairs of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and Special Representative of the Russian Chairmanship in the Arctic Council on Indigenous Peoples Issues and Regional Cooperation Mikhail Pogodaev, Head of “Osikat” Aleksei Sokolov (online), Head of the Public Organization of Culture of the Indigenous Peoples of the North “Ma Mykham” Vera Kondratyeva, Deputy General Director – Secretary of State at the Center for Arctic Initiatives Rustam Romanenkov, Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Kamchatka Territory Aleksandra Lebedeva, Director of the Beringia Park (Chukotka) Vladimir Bychkov, and Director of the Department for the Development of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation and the Implementation of Infrastructure Projects at the Ministry of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic Soslan Abisalov.

“We are faced with the task of developing the region sustainably. It would be wrong for our country not to take advantage of the riches of the Arctic zone, but we must do so with the utmost care, preserving the Arctic’s unique nature in such a way that is mindful of the rights of the peoples who have inhabited this land for thousands of years. This year, we launched the Indigenous Peoples Support Plan for the very first time. We’re building transshipment bases for reindeer herders and a unique ethno-park recreating historical settlements. This will promote tourism and help preserve the culture and traditional way of life of the Indigenous Peoples of the North,” Director of the Department for the Development of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation and the implementation of infrastructure projects at the Ministry of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic Soslan Abisalov said.

“The Indigenous Peoples, who represent a significant part of Russia’s cultural diversity, are losing their traditions to the pressures of modern civilization. At the same time, a number of creative industries have already acquired experience with successful business projects, turning to folklore, history, and the traditions of Indigenous Peoples, providing support, reviving, and preserving their socio-cultural identities,” Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Roscongress Foundation and Director of the Innosocium Foundation Elena Marinina said.

In turn, “Osikat” Head Alexei Sokolov spoke about his experience introducing technology into traditional occupations.

“I am a reindeer herder, and I hope that my children will preserve the tribe’s traditions. We try to keep up with the times and are very happy to have satellite internet in our camp. Modern technology creates new opportunities to preserve and develop traditional occupations. This year I signed my first futures contract for deer antlers. Issues related to preserving the North’s natural environment have aroused great interest at the forum, and we appreciate the attention,” he said.

The Creative Business Forum ‘Sociocultural Development of Northern Regions’ business programme is dedicated to the social and cultural development of northern regions and focuses on promising areas in the creative industries and the development of the social sector in the northern territories.

One of the main priorities of Russia’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023 is the development of human capital in the region, including that of the Indigenous Peoples of the North. Russia pays special attention to maintaining the sustainability and viability of the peoples of the North, promoting adaptation to climate change, improving people’s well-being, health, education, and quality of life, and ensuring progressive socio-economic development throughout the region. Russia has initiated projects to digitalize the cultural and linguistic heritage of the Indigenous Peoples of the North, develop renewable energy sources, and create an international Arctic research station on carbon-free energy, in the sphere of Arctic biosafety. In addition, Russia is preparing project proposals related to the traditional medicine of Indigenous Peoples and the development of creative industries in the Arctic and is working on an initiative to create “Digital Museums of the Arctic”.