Displaying items by tag: Arctic Athabaskan Council
Thursday, 27 June 2013 11:18

Black Carbon

Black carbon is a fine particulate matter that belongs to a group of substances known as short-lived climate forcers (SLCFs).

Black carbon, or soot, is actually the most short-lived SLCF as it remains in the atmosphere only for a matter of days or weeks, whereas methane, the longest lived SLCF has an atmospheric lifetime of around a decade.

Published in Focus
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 15:36

Indigenous statements in Kiruna

In his statement at yesterday's Arctic Council Kiruna Ministerial meeting, the representative and earlier 1st Vice-President of the Russian Association of Indigeous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) spoke on behalf of 40 indigenous peoples in Russia.

Among other things, he pleaded for the establishment of joint international regime under the auspices of the Arctic Council for managing the exploitation of the natural resources of the circumpolar region in ways that maintain the ecological balance and respect the the right of indigenous peoples to traditional nature use, preservation of identity and way of life.

Published in All News
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 15:40

New black carbon initiative

During its 2011-2013 Arctic Council Chairmanship, Sweden plans to raise the profile of Arctic issues in international forums in order to achieve an effective reduction programme concerning global emissions of black carbon, or soot, one of the most potent so-called short-lived climate forcers (SLCF).

Swedish delegates made this clear during the meeting of Arctic Council Task Force on Short Lived Climate Forcers in Vienna, February 2012. Sweden will propose negotiations of global emission reductions during the next meeting of Arctic Council Senior Arctic Officials (SAO) in Stockholm, March 28-29, 2012.

Published in All News

A group of international anthropologists arrived on 7 September 2010 to the community of Baikit, Evenkiysky municipality of the Krasnoyarsky krai of Russian Federation. The ethnographic expedition comprises of scholars from Bulgaria, Sweden, Norway and the UK, as well as their Russian colleagues from the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of Russian Academy of Sciences. 

The anthropologists will study cultural, linguistic and socio-economic characteristics of Evenki and Keto people. The expedition will last until the end of September and include visits to several other communities such as Surindu, Kuyumbu, Osharovo, Miryugu and Sulomai. In addition, the scientists will stay for a few days in the Surindinsky reindeer herd to document the main traditional occupation of the Evenki people.

"There are scientists in our group specifically interested in Keto people, an ethnic group of the Siberian North. Ket language belongs to Paleo-Siberian group of languages, but its vocabulary and grammatical structure have such a special position, which prevents its inclusion to any of the language families. The origin of Keto people and their external genetic connections have not been fully elucidated, although several hypotheses were put forward. For example, very often they say about common features of the construction of Ket language and the language of North American Athabascans. There is an assumption that Athabascans originated from the Keto people. There is a researcher in our group who speaks Athabascan", Catherine Sinkevich said, a specialist within the Northern indigenous affairs who participates in the expedition.

Earlier this year a group of representatives of Arctic Athabaskan Council and the Keto people of Siberian Russia met in Moscow. The languages spoken by the Keto and Athabaskan peoples share striking similarities. Currently, linguists are researching the possible genetic relation between these languages. An absolute proof of a typological relationship would raise profound anthropological and genetic question about the ancient links and ties between Eurasia and North America.

More media coverage on the AAC-Ket people project is on the Yukon Native Language Centre website: http://ynlc.ca/ynlc/media.html

After Recording The Fishing Place in the Ket language. Zoya Vasilievna Maksunova, Ket speaker and linguist from Siberia together with Doug Hitch, linguist at the Yukon Native Language Centre. Cosmos Hotel, Moscow, April 17, 2010.

Photo Credit: Alexandra Bocharnikova



Published in All News
Sunday, 25 April 2010 11:40

Athabaskan-Ket reunion

During the 5th Arctic Leaders Summit that recently took place in Moscow, a meeting was set up between representatives of the Arctic Athabaskan Council and speakers of the Siberian Ket language. The meeting was premised on recent linguistic findings indicating a likely relationship between Ket and Athabaskan languages and, thus, aimed at possibly reuniting related indigenous peoples of North America and Siberia after a separation lasting some four thousand years.

In a press release of 20 April 2010, AAC Executive Director and initiator of the meeting Ms. Cindy Dickson is quoted for saying: “The Kets told us this was the first time they had met representatives of North American Athabaskan peoples. They are very excited about the possibilities of working with us and want to organize cultural exchanges. They also want to promote research on the linguistic and other connections between us.”

Until recently, Ket has been thought by linguists to be an isolate, the sole surviving language of a Yeniseian language family, spoken along the middle Yenisei basin. However, new research, carried out preeminently by Western Washington University historical linguist Edward Vajda, indicates that Ket may likely be related to Athabaskan languages.

The Athabaskan languages together with Tlingit and Eyak make up the Na-Dene language family that comprises more than 40 indigenous languages spoken in a wide geographical areas stretching from Yukon and Nunavut to the Southwest of USA. In 2008, the last speaker of Eyak died, however, that same year, Edward Vajda presented his thesis about the relatedness of Na-Dene and Ket and their forming a Dene-Yenitseian language family.

The Ket people, according to the most recent census, number 1887 individuals, most of which live in an area around the eastern middle part of the Yenisey River in Sibiria. Traditionally, the Ket engaged in hunting, fishing, and reindeer breeding.

Today, only about 200 Kets still speak their mother tongue. According to Olga Peshkina of the Ket delegation to the Moscow meeting, the Kets are losing their language. Herself a linguistic scholar, Ms. Peshkina has since the 1980’s been involved in language revival activities such as publication of books in Ket and teaching children to speak it.

In the AAC press release, Deputy Chief Danny Cresswell, of the Carcross and Tagish First Nation states that “[..] the connection between the Ket and Athabaskan peoples is hugely important. Upon this base we can build cultural, economic and perhaps political links.”
Published in All News
Friday, 16 April 2010 14:38

Arctic Leaders Summit final day

The Fifth Arctic Leaders Summit organized by the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) in Moscow was brought to a successful conclusion with the attending Arctic Indigenous leaders' signing of the ALS V declaration.

Indigenous leaders representing the Arctic Athabaskan Council (AAC), the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), RAIPON, and the Saami Council signed a declaration on what had been the overarching theme of the ALS V, "Industrial development of the Arctic under climate change - new challenges for indigenous peoples."

The final of the two day summit had centered on climate change and its impacts on and challenges for Artic communities. Among others, Lars Moller, the Danish Arctic Council Chair, Vladimir Kattsov, director of a federal Russian geophysical and meteorological agency, and Mikhail Pogodaev of the Association of World Reindeer Herders gave presentations on this theme as seen from the perspective of their respective organizations.

All of the attending Permanent Participants in the Arctic Council, likewise, took the opportunity to make presentations on themes relating to climate change challenges. Among them, Cindy Dickson of the AAC, to an accompaniment of a splendid photo slide show, spoke about resilience aspects of indigenous peoples' living on the land and their right to continue to do so, to seek well-being and livelihood from doing so, as they had since time immemorial.

Civil society organizations like the WWF were also attending the summit. WWF Russia representative Victoria Elias took the floor to present a recently launched project on Rapid Assessment of Circum-Arctic Ecosystem Resilience (RACER) that aims at identifying and assessing eco-regional units and aspects of resilience as well as vulnerability with particular regard to Arctic communities.

James Stotts, International Chair of ICC, in response to the WWF presentation, asked Ms. Elias if she could provide a lead as to an official stance of her organization regarding the rights of indigenous peoples to harvest resources to sustain their livelihoods.

Ms. Elias, in response, admitted that the WWF is indeed a big organization giving many, and not necessarily aligned, messages to the world. However, she would maintain that the WWF do have an official policy with respect to indigenous peoples rights to sustainable use of nature, and that, basically, WWF considers itself to be on the same side as indigenous peoples.

The ALS V is scheduled back-to-back with the 20th anniversary of RAIPON as well as the opening of the EXPO 2010 headlined "Treasure of the North" in the All-Russia Exhibition Centre. A report on the RAIPON anniversary as well as a link to the ALS V declaration to be published on this site shortly.
Published in All News
Canada has announced that it will host a high-level meeting to discuss the future of economic development and environmental protection in nations bordering the Arctic Ocean in Chelsea, Quebec on March 29, 2010.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Laurence Cannon described the upcoming gathering as a means to “provide an opportunity for Arctic Ocean coastal states to prepare for and encourage development that has positive benefits, including economical and environmental. It will reinforce ongoing collaboration in the region, including in the Arctic Council .

Minister Cannon has invited his counterparts from the five countries bordering the Arctic Ocean to the summit, but has received harsh criticism for excluding representatives from Arctic Indigenous organizations, particularly the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) and the Arctic Athabaskan Council (AAC).

AAC International Chair Bill Erasmus responded to Minister Cannon’s exclusion saying: “We don’t see how the minister can discuss ‘responsible development’ in the Arctic with his counterparts from the United States, Russia, Denmark/Greenland and Norway without representatives of northern Canada.”

Pointing out that AAC and five other Arctic Indigenous Peoples organizations are permanent participants to the eight nation Arctic Council Mr. Erasmus said “It makes no sense for us to be included in the Arctic Council but excluded in meetings of the five Arctic Ocean states”.


Erasmus commented that Minister Cannon has billed the summit as a chance to “reinforce ongoing collaboration in the region, including in the Arctic Council ,” to which Erasmus added: “We invite the Minister to tell us how this will be achieved when we are not even in the room.”

ICC Canada Chair Duane Smith

ICC Canada president Duane Smith also released a statement urging Cannon to include indigenous representatives at the summit “because Inuit are a coastal people, because the summit is about the Arctic Ocean coast, because Mr. Cannon underlined the importance of our involvement in multilateral meetings outside the Arctic Council .”

Some have raised concerns that this so-called A-5 meeting, paired with the May, 2008 Illulissat meeting signals a disturbing trend that could weaken the Arctic Council as a high-level forum dealing with Circumpolar issues.

Gunn-Britt Retter of the Saami Parliament in Norway said: “It’s our concern that we see some of the states involved in the Arctic Council now … move the discussions out of the Arctic Council and to create kind of separate bodies.”


Link: Canadian Chair's summary

Published in News
Thursday, 16 October 2008 18:42

Adaptation Workshop, September 20-21

Copenhagen - Representatives of Indigenous Peoples from across the Arctic are calling on Governments to work with them in tackling the “catastrophic” effects of Climate Change. Bill Erasmus, representing the Arctic Athabaskan Council in Canada, called the situation a “crisis” at a meeting of circumpolar Arctic Indigenous Peoples over the weekend (September 20 & 21).

“The permafrost is melting, homes are destroyed, rivers are rising, lakes are disappearing, migratory patterns are changing, seasons are not the same anymore,” said Erasmus.

“Reindeer herders face the loss of herds, hunters face starvation, trappers are dying because they cannot read ice conditions anymore. People are losing their homes and their lives. Entire communities of Indigenous Peoples are at risk across the Arctic. I think use of the word ‘crisis’ is appropriate.”

The Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples Secretariat organized the meeting. This was the first of several planned meetings for Arctic Indigenous Peoples to compile information and develop recommendations to forward to the eight Nation States within the Arctic Council .

Indigenous Peoples hope their work will lead to international initiatives that will deal with the human dimensions of Climate Change leading up to the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change to be held in Anchorage, Alaska, in April 2009.

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Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat
Fram Centre, Postboks 6606 Langnes, NO-9296 Tromsø, Norway