Workshop - Transitions affecting reindeer husbandry

Workshop moderator: Ida Hydle

Ida Hydle, Jan Erik Henriksen and Kari Ann Sara Turi, with:
"Restoring justice and autonomy in Sami reindeer husbandry"

Riseth J.Å. and Tømmervik, H. , with:
"May Traditional Reindeer herding knowledge help in counteracting climate sensitive infections (CSIs)?"

Jean Hatcherson, with:
"Tourism, represntation and compenastion among Dukha Reindeer Herders in Mongolia"

Riseth J.Å, Tømmervik Å, Winge N.K. and Danielsen I.E, with:
"Could the performance of EIAs for Reindeer Herding be improved?"

Session Nr.1: "Restoring justice and autonomy in Sami reindeer husbandry" 

In this paper, we link experiences and knowledge from social work and anthropology with the purpose of creating an alternative basis for questioning present and future policies in Sami reindeer husbandry. The present general policies in Sami areas involve neo-colonisation of humans, animals, lands, fjords, rivers, lakes and sea. Thus, we investigate a view upon indigeneity that extends the modern, administrative definition, by not only including, but intersect social with ecological sustainability. We use conflicts and confrontations of various kinds in the reindeer husbandry field as signposts for the need of this alternative - from the conflicts and their aftermath that arose e.g. with the forced Norwegianisation of Sami traditions and rituals in general, not least comprising reindeer herding. Their repercussions are more or less hidden  in present conflicts concerning the use of land, rivers, fjords and sea. We maintain the importance of a broad view upon these conflicts fields in order to find sustainable solutions.​ Our work for finding new ways to justice and autonomy in reindeer husbandry conflicts may serve as an empirical example.

Session nr.2: "May Traditional Reindeer herding knowledge help in counteracting climate sensitive infections (CSIs)?"

The rate and magnitude of climate change (CC) are greater in northern regions than elsewhere. CC is likely to push the geographic boundaries of climate sensitive infections (CSIs) northward, thereby increasing the potential for inhabitant humans and animals to be exposed to new and/or exis­ting CSIs. Most CSIs are zoonoses, i.e. transmitted both-ways between animals and humans, and may be car­ried by vectors and reservoir organisms such as ticks, badgers and deer, which are expanding their ranges northwards. For many northern societies depending on animal husbandry or on other nature-based activities this means to deal with complex consequences of increased exposure to CSIs, which generates a dynamically interlinked scena­rio of societal, economic, political, and cultural change.

The Nordic research project “Climate-change effects on epidemiology of infectious diseases and impacts on societies” (CLINF) addresses these chal­lenges, and aims to improve adaptive capacity, essen­tial to ensure socio-economic development and viable communities in the changing North. One aspect of the project is to put emphasis on traditional knowledge (TK) and its risk management potential. TK is culture- and experience-based, transferred across generations, and includes empirical facts, social institutions and management, as well as inherited world views; it is often focused on practical application and provides a basis for cultural and community continuity. The authors study how reindeer herders’ traditional knowledge (TK) may provide a reservoir of precaution and adaptation possibilities to counteract the threats by CSI. The methods are document studies (herder narratives) and interviews of TK-holders. Preliminary results will be presented.

Session Nr.3: "Tourism, represntation and compenastion among Dukha Reindeer Herders in Mongolia"

Increasingly, tourists visit Dukha reindeer herder camps in the east and west taiga of northern Mongolia, bolstering the local economy. However, these cross-cultural contacts may disrupt traditional socio-cultural identities and egalitarian norms.  Currently, the year-round entry of tourists to Dukha camps is unregulated. Moreover, the timing and context of these encounters, including compensation and accommodation, are not always under the herders’ control. As such, though the Dukha and their reindeer are a marketed attraction bringing tourists to the region, monetary and social benefits are not guaranteed them. In addition, ill-informed guides proliferate inaccuracies regarding their lifestyle, falsely stigmatizing the Dukha as a primitive, disappearing ethnic group, and unsettle interpersonal relations and health outcomes with suggested gifts of vodka, candy and cigarettes. This qualitative, interpretive study used guided, open-ended interviews (N=30), a modified pile sort and participant observation to examine reindeer herders’ perceptions of tourist visits and gift giving. Additional interviews with tourists (N=32) and Mongolian guides (N=5) in situ, Tsagaan Nuur and Ulaanbaatar were conducted. Results show that overall the Dukha most involved with tourists have a positive attitude toward their visits. As tourists generally stay only one to three days, negative outcomes vis a vis gifts, cultural misrepresentations and economic compensation currently appear minimized. Nevertheless, resentments among the Dukha and between the Dukha and tour operators occur when unequal benefits are perceived or when tourists egregiously violate traditional norms and values. As visits increase, aiding and creating Dukha owned and controlled economic and ethnographic initiatives could reduce adverse results.


Session Nr.4: "Could the performance of EIAs for Reindeer Herding be improved?"

Reindeer herding is a major livelihood for Indigenous peoples of Sápmi and Northern Russia. Both colonization effects and modern land-use conversion have fragmented the landscape and reduced herding flexibility, whereas climate change effects require increased flexibility for coping.  We have analyzed the practice of environmental impact analyses (EIA) for reindeer herding in Norway by legal analysis, a survey, cases studies and interviews. The legal analysis finds that the regulations provide reindeer herding some protection, but it is nevertheless to a large degree at the mercy of the relevant administration. Herder representatives mainly find the outcome of the EIAs mediocre and are not satisfied with neither inclusion of herder knowledge nor evaluation of sum effects. Most herders find the main role of the EIAs to be vehicles of getting plans confirmed. Preliminary findings from case studies and interviews are: Though many EIAs include and present herder knowledge satisfactory, some investigators lack sufficient competence while others are not sufficiently independent of their principals.  We recommend the establishment of a public register of EIA investigators and that reindeer herding districts get a formal right of prior approval of investigators. In addition law and regulation improvements should be considered