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"The exchange between indigenous peoples of Siberia and the USA was fantastic a kind of vision that unfolded before us. We, the participants of the exchange program, highly appreciated the importance of the program for our further work. Every meeting left an everlasting impression in our souls; we understood that to create balance in the world it very much depended on us, indigenous representatives. I grasped that this was some-kind of covenant for my future work with our indigenous people."

"...I am still guided by my strong impressions [of the exchange] in a way I cannot quite understandit's as if someone is really helping me.. in all the things I'm working on, a kind of confidence has appeared in me, and I think it must be something I received from meeting the Native Americans"

Lyudmila Ignatenko, Yupik Nation, directs the Union of Kamchatka Aboriginal Communities and is fighting for the establishment of Territories of Traditional Nature Use in the Russian Far East.
 
 
 

"In spite of many years of isolation and informational starvation, it was very important for me to find areas of common interest, "build bridges" and try to find ways of further cooperation. I saw a brother or a sister in each native American, who live, feel, and think the way we do. Now it is very important to develop these relations at a qualitatively different level, to do our best so that all these relations and contacts are not broken after our returning home, but become the beginning of a great joint work."
Gulvaira Shermatova, Kumandin, is a founding member of the Kumandin Cultural-Ethnic Rebirth center, and a regular participant in UN Indigenous Working Group sessions
 
 
 
 
 

"Exchange trips are very important: 'Better to see once, than to hear a hundred times' I had never been to America and after the trip my knowledge of it increased and changed greatly. I heard the thoughts of Indigenous Americans, their hopes and longing to survive in the same difficult conditions as here in Russia, and their ancient wisdom. The problems we face are so numerous that perhaps only a spiritual approach to problem-solving is appropriate. The whole world is one organism and if some part of the organism is suffering then the whole also suffers. Each nation must feel the suffering of others, help each other, and heal the world," 
Lyubov Krivileva, Evenki, is the only indigenous representative in the National Hural (similar to state government in US) of
Buryatia, she is working to strengthen legislation for the rights of indigenous minorities.
 
 
 
 
 

"When it comes to development, official policy makers do not take into consideration the values of indigenous peoples or their attachment to the land. The destruction of sacred sites, places of especially significant cultural and natural importance, threaten our identity and our existence as a people. It is urgent that laws be passed now to protect such sites. A gas pipeline proposed for Buryatia will destroy many of our sacred places."

Erjen Khamaganova, Buryat, of southern Siberia is the coordinator of the NGO "Light of the Ancient Lands" which is devoted to the rebirth of indigenous culture in Siberia and the Russian Far east.
 
 
 
 


 

"I really want our Tuvan traditions to help alleviate the global ecological catastrophe that worsens daily and for my people to have the endurance and stamina of Native Americans who have survived conquest these last 500 years."

 

Milan Kynyraa, Tuvan, manages the nature reserve "Azas Zapovednik" and is establishing an Ethno-Cultural Center to support the rebirth of culture and spirituality of indigenous minorities and their traditional use of natural resources.
 
 

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