[Press release from the UArctic EALÁT Institute]

In many of reindeer herders' spring pastures in the Arctic, temperatures have already increased with almost four degrees Celsius since the 1930s. These climate changes and furthermore the biodiversity are changing dramatically in the Arctic, challenging traditional ways of life, well-being of indigenous peoples and their food security.

Arctic indigenous food production is part of a complex social-ecological system coupled with traditional knowledge. Indigenous reindeer herders' food knowledge system is broken and has to be fixed. The new Arctic academic food book demonstrates that the diversity of traditional food production systems are nested within their indigenous cultures. Removing even a few of the traditional subsistence products from Arctic peoples' diets may cause significant damage to human health, because there is nothing that can replace them.

The food knowledge production systems of Nenets, Hanty, Chukchi, Yukagir, Dolgan, Selkup, Even, Evenki and Nivkh in Russia and Saami in Norway are diverse and rich. These systems face an erosion of the traditional indigenous knowledge upon which they are based. Saami reindeer herders are struggling to find their way back to a sustainable economy based on traditional knowledge and indigenous worldview.

Disconnection between people, animal, pastures and environment can affect the sustainable food production. With these perspectives, we are concerned about the currently limited adaptive capacity of Arctic indigenous communities to preserve their food culture and use their local natural food resources for sustainable development. We hope these 14 articles in Dieđut will be a first step in the direction to preserve this unique knowledge and cultural heritage. We call for urgent cooperation to protect the Arctic indigenous peoples' food knowledge and innovations.

By focusing on traditional food culture and scientific knowledge in reindeer husbandry, there might be new ways of developing the economy of reindeer herders using traditional knowledge and navigating towards future sustainability. Adaptations to future climate change have to include the knowledge and economic potential of the food production system in the Arctic indigenous societies.

Edouard Cointreau, a visionary-missionary of authentic food literature is the Founder and President of the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Since its founding in 1995, the Gourmand Awards has increasingly garnered global, enthusiastic participation from over 216 countries. The book Dieđut: Arctic Indigenous Peoples Food System – The role of traditional knowledge for sustainable development is nominated in Category C22 Arctic and in category B22 University and Academic Press at the Gourmand Awards ceremony in Macao on July 4. 

The book comprised of 14 chapters is about indigenous peoples' food systems and it is written by indigenous students and researchers in the UArctic EALÁT Institute in Russia. The book is a part of the RIEVDAN research project "Rapid change - challenges and/or opportunities for sustainable reindeer husbandry?”. It is funded by Research Council of Norway and made in cooperation with Sámi University of Applied Sciences (SUAC), International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR), UArctic Institute for Circumpolar Reindeer Husbandry (UArctic EALÁT Institute, UEI) in Norway; Institute of the Peoples of the North, Herzen State Pedagogical University and North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU) in Russia, and UNESCO International Department on Adaptation of Society and Man in the Arctic Regions in the Context of Climate Change and Globalization, Yakutsk.

Book chapters:

Svein D. Mathiesen, Liudmila Gashilova, Svetlana Chernyshova, Alena Gerasimova: Arctic Indigenous Peoples Food Systems – the Role of Traditional Knowledge for Sustainable Development 

Nechej Serotetto, Marina Lublinskaya: The Nomenclature of Reindeer Slaughtering and the following Splitting in Nenets and Saami

Anna Chuprina, Svetlana Chernyshova: Seasonality of traditional food culture of the Dolgan people 

Marta Okotetto, Maria Barmich: Traditional knowledge about reindeer fat in the Nenets food culture 

Alena Gerasimova: Taboo in food culture of reindeer herders of the North, Siberia and Arctic (case study of reindeer tongue’s tip) 

Svetlana Avelova: National Specificity Of The "Food" Concept In Evenki Language (Linguoculturological Aspect)

Elvira Okotetto: Traditional knowledge of Nenets about herbs and berries 

Ludmila Gashilova: Fish as the main component of the traditional cuisine of the Nivkhi people

Angelina Terletskaia, Svetlana Chernyshova: Traditional knowledge in culinary culture of indigenous peoples of Chukotka (production, processing and storage of food products) 

Arkady Gashilov, Dmitry Turks: The Traditional Food of the Selkups as an Element of Ethnic Identity

Zoya Ryabchikova, Elizaveta Pershina: The somatic lexical system as a unique source of traditional knowledge of the Khanty people

Anna Spiryakova, Zoya Ryabchikova: The Role of Traditional Knowledge in Fisheries of Khanty

Ragtyna Tymkyl, Vera Cheboksarova: Fish and Fish Dishes in Language and Culture of Yukaghirs

Olesya Bolotaeva, Ganna Shestopalova: Linguistic and cultural features of the vocabulary of the Koryak language (on the material of the names of fish and fishery products)

The UArctic EALÁT Institute seeks to strengthen the resilience of herding societies through capacity building of indigenous youth – the Arctic leaders of tomorrow – using both reindeer herders traditional knowledge and western science in research and education. The UArctic EALÁT Institute was founded by Association of World Reindeer Herders, International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR) and Sámi University of Applied Sciences, and it is coordinated by ICR. was established as a legacy after International Polar Year IPY 2007 and endorsed by the Board of UArctic in 2009. The institute can be seen as a special type of cross-boundary institution, bridging the gaps between academia and society, between science and traditional knowledge, and between different ways of knowing. The UArctic EALÁT Institute is nested with the reindeer herders’ communities in the circumpolar north. Reindeer herding is the primary livelihood for over 24 indigenous peoples in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic, involving close to 2.5 million semi-domesticated reindeer and 100,000 herders, including about 20,000 youth. The purpose of the institute is to increase the public understanding about changes occurring in the Arctic and their effect on indigenous livelihoods and cultures; and increase the educational and research capacity of Arctic peoples, especially indigenous and reindeer herding peoples.

[original press release]