Investment Portal of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation

"Russia's multinationality is what makes us strong"

Yamal hosts the Russian North, a forum for the youth of indigenous small-numbered peoples

2 december 2022

The forum was held in the capital of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area, Salekhard, from 21 to 25 November and brought together 100 participants from 23 regions of the country. The leaders of ethnic associations, students, young scientists, artisans, ethno-bloggers, and language activists represented 30 indigenous peoples of Russia.

This is the seventh time the Russian North forum has become a platform for inter-ethnic dialogue between the youth of the indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East. Its main task is to unite the activists' initiatives and drive the development of new projects.

"The forum's main task is to discover true young leaders interested in preserving the language and culture of their people and bring their projects to the starting line," explained the programme director of the Russian North forum Nikolay Kachin.

This year, the forum's participants developed projects within four tracks: Youth Entrepreneurship, Preserving and Promoting the Linguistic Heritage of the Indigenous Peoples of the North, Ethnic Tourism Development, and Sustainable Development Practices.


The Youth Entrepreneurship track had five business teams present and work on ideas such as teaching teenagers and retirees bone carving and manufacturing traditional wooden dishes. 

The track aimed at preserving the linguistic and cultural heritage of Russia's small-numbered peoples attracted the biggest number of participants. They created a cartoon in the Nenets language, shot a video in the Saami language, released small animations in the Ulch and Evenki languages, invented a card game for learning the Khanty language, and created a TikTok account for the Komi language. 

The participants of the language track also created an educational programme for the Nomad Children ethnic camp as well as a set of activities to promote native languages through such popular hobbies as marathon running, handicrafts and creative writing. Moreover, they suggested the concept of a trilingual Nenets, Khanty and Selkup phrasebook voiced by native speakers. The Friendship Booklet will introduce the youth of the northern peoples to the speech etiquette of their Arctic neighbours.

The Arctic Tourism Development track produced five unique tours. Three of them tell about the life of the indigenous peoples of the North — the Izhma Komi people from the Komi Republic and the reindeer herders from Yamal — and immerse tourists in the culture of Karelia's Veps through the study of their myths and legends. The forum teams also designed the Arctic Desert diving tour of the Nenets Autonomous Area and a travel itinerary covering the five top destinations in Chukotka. 


At the official closing ceremony, the organisers announced the winners of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs' grant competition aimed at supporting indigenous small-numbered peoples. The RUB 3 mn prize fund was split between 11 winners from seven regions. The winning projects involve the development of an electronic application in the Amur dialect of the Nivkh language and the creation of a distance learning system for children undergoing long-term treatment in the tuberculosis department of an infectious disease hospital.

"During the forum, we, the participants from different regions, have become friends. The forum has given us tools and knowledge we can now apply. We have everything we need to bring our ideas to life because the government is interested in preserving the culture and identity of the indigenous peoples. Russia's multinationality is what sets us apart from the others and makes us strong," said Alexandra Romakhova, who studies history and politics at Tomsk University, when asked about her impressions of the forum.

Main photo: Read more 'Many peoples, one country!' More than 4 million people from 184 countries took part in this year's Great Ethnographic Dictation


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