The Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East (RAIPON) organized the event under the motto: "Make your choice!
The future of Russian indigenous peoples is in the hands of the youth of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East!" The Congress crowned the 2010 Year of indigenous youth as it was announced by RAIPON. The initiative of holding the Congress was supported by the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs.

80 participants from 24 regions of the Russian Federation took part in the Congress. Throughout 3 working days they exchanged their views on what is necessary for activization and consolidation of youth movement of indigenous
people of the North, Siberia and the Far East.

On the very first working day the participants offered their own vision for the topics on the agenda. So, young indigenous drew a portrait of the ancestral land to be in the next 10 years and defined what should be done to make the life there better. Other group of youngsters defined a successful youth organization and what is necessary to make the youth successful. And the third group described a portrait of a young successful native and decided what should be done to make that young native competitive. The chosen format of work allowed not only to express the opinion, but also to know each other better, and to tell about the experience one has. But the first day hadn't finished yet.

It was the first time during the last years when RAIPON organised a meeting of generations. During an hour the elders and members of Coordination Council of RAIPON discussed their experience, and young natives asked questions that worried them. At the end of the meeting the youth presented to each elder souvenirs to remember - a plate with a symbol and an emblem of RAIPON.

In the evening, after the supper, the youth continued to create, discuss the joint theatrical performance that was supposed to officially open the Congress next day. And such performance - the ceremony of blessing youth - was created. Young people and Faina Matveevna Lekhanova, the director of the educational cultural and linguistic Center of indigenous peoples, who blest youth in the name of all elders, took part in this event.

And it was this performance that inaugurated the plenary session of the First Congress of RAIPON Youth in the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation on November 22nd.

Then the President of RAIPON Sergey Nikolaevich Kharyuchi took ground with a greeting, following his speech there were Andrey Aleksandrovich Rotermel, the representative of the Presidential Executive Office of the Russian Federation, Michael Wernick, Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development of Canada, Igor Innokentevich Melnichenko, Department of youth policy and public relations of the Ministry of sports, tourism and the youth policy of the Russian Federation, Irina Petrovna Gorkova, deputy head of the national affairs Committee of the State Duma, Michael Anatolevich Todyshev, deputy head of committee for Northern and indigenous affairs of the Federation Council, Dirk Hebecker, the UN Senior Human Rights Adviser in RF. In their speeches there expressed their encouragement and wishes to use available possibilities to be trained, participate in projects, to initiate new joint initiatives, and to study legislation on the rights of indigenous people of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation, to co-operate with public authorities, both at federal and regional levels.

After that the vice-president of RAIPON Anastasia Chukhman took the floor, informing about youth movement of indigenous people and development prospects. She said that one of the main goals of RAIPON had always been and is revealing and attracting young people to social movement of RAIPON. The Association has published a number of works related to youth: "Youth: with alarm and hope for the future" which is the generalised research on problems of youth, prepared by the youth, and special release of the literary miscellany "World of indigenous people" "The young native".

The youth participates in discussion of acute problems through a discussion platform - youth mailing list - kmnsyouth organised via Google. The Association pays a lot of attention to the planning of seminars, trainings, study courses, exchange programs and involvement of representatives of the youth. Considerable work in this sphere is done by the regional Associations. Such experience was presented by delegations of Chukotka autonomous area, the Kamchatka Krai and Khanty-Mansi autonomous area.

Alexandra Tevlyavie told the participants that in Chukotka the youth policy is directed mostly to students and is concentrated in towns of Anadyr, Pevek, Bilibino and a couple of district centers. To solve this issue the Department of education and youth policy of Chukotka Autonomous Area has launched a project in order to create a youth portal to inform the youngsters. Though it also has a backside -- very few of the villages around have access to the Internet. Also Alexandra shared the experience of organizing leisure and employment in local villages together with public authorities of Chukotka and NGOs.

Elena Moldanova told everybody about the establishment of nomad schools in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area where children study with their parents in the most traditional way. Such project is to be launched soon and there is a great hope connected with its success.

Galina Kravchenko, representative from Kamchatka Krai, informed about the projects being performed by the Northern youth from Petropavlovsk, about the youth distributing leaflets, booklet and other information bulletins of the rural youth, and also about the cooperation with regional authorities.

The participants of the Congress also got acquainted with the international experience: the model of self-government of the Inuit youth in Greenland. The related presentation was delivered by Stina Paningauk Wilkins-Bertelsen, head of the youth Inuit organization of Greenland who also took part in the event. The problems highlighted by Stina looked very much alike the p=
roblems of indigenous youth in Russia. What was really shocking is a scale of suicide and violence problems among the youth, so appropriate measures are taken.

Irina Petrovna Gorkova, deputy head of the national affairs Committee of the State Duma, took the floor to tell about the legislative protection of the rights of indigenous peoples in Russia. Alexey Valerievich Kalasov, member of Olympic historians International society Secretary General of the Association of multisport of Russia, intervened on the topic of cultural heritage of the Arctic civilization in the context of traditional games of Northern peoples. He suggested that young participants of the Congress could step up with an initiative for Sochi-2014 Olympics Organizing Committee in order to include national sports of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East into Olympic games list. The proposal caused heated discussion within one of the round tables dedicated to healthy lifestyle forming after the plenary session.

Unfortunately due to time limit some of the delegations who had their interventions prepared already was unable to deliver them, however they still had a possibility to share their experience at 3 round tables: Social economic development: initiatives of the youth in solving social problems and forming healthy lifestyle, Educating the youth, making a career, forming information space and communication skills, Culture, traditional ancestral knowledge and native tongue.

Participants of each of the roundtables had discussed and elaborated interesting, modern and essential projects and events which were used to form a youth action plan.

At the end of November 23 the First Youth Congress of indigenous peoples ofthe North, Siberia and the Far East had created a work group of 11 active young leaders that would finish the work on final documents of the Congress in a month by December 23, 2010. The final documents will be: draft of the Declaration of participation of the youth in conservation of cultural heritage and sustainable development of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East, that will major directions and principles of work of the youth movement of indigenous peoples of the North; draft Recommendations to the youth that includes concrete tasks planted by the youth for itself; draft action plan for 2011. These 3 documents reflect the work of 80 delegates from 24 regions throughout 3 days of the First Youth Congress of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East.

Another important result of the Congress was an impartment of structure to the youth movement within the RAIPON activities. According to a number of delegates it is too early to create a separate youth organization of indigenous peoples in Russia, it is more important to organize the work within RAIPON without forming a legal entity. Therefore the delegates elected 26 regional coordinators out of 24 regions (Kamchatskiy and Krasnoyaskiy presented the two due to merging) who will organize youth activities locally and will work in close contact with VP on youth affairs of RAIPON.

The Congress was concluded by a concert of indigenous youth where the young men were both the artists representing their culture and traditions and spectators. I would like to express my regards to the hosts of this concert, participants of the Congress Igor Yando (Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area) and Olga Khuryiun (Sakhalin region).

Generally the First Youth Congress of indigenous youth has revealed active, energetic and talented young natives who do understand their responsibility for their peoples' future and are ready to contribute to development of their regions and indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East.

Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East expresses its gratitude to the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, Ministry for Indian Affairs and Northern Development of Canada, international Work Group on Indigenous Peoples. Special thanks go to the presidents of regional Associations, regional authorities and everybody who contributed to holding and organizing the Youth Congress. We would like to thank all the delegates and participants of the Congress for their contribution to development of the youth movement and, what is very important, we wish you persistence in achieving your goals!

Anastasia Chukhman
Vice-President for youth affairs,