Arctic Challenge for Sustainability Project

ArCS Blog

Research on Indigenous Movement of Siberian Peoples in the Russian Federation

I am doing research in Novosibirsk State University (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography) from February 2018. Let me introduce my life and my research briefly.

  1. Life in Novosibirsk

Novosibirsk, the so called ‘third most populous city in the Russian federation’, is a small town surrounded by beautiful nature where you can have often encounters with squirrels and hedgehogs. I stayed in this small town and did research on indigenous movements of Siberian peoples. Though there is a large temperature gap between summer and winter, it is a comfortable town to live in. In addition to this town, I carried out research in several cities – Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novokuznetsk and so on.


2.Research on Siberian Peoples

I am interested in the key aspects of the mechanism of indigenous movements of Siberian peoples in the Russian federation.

For the past few decades, the social concern with indigenous peoples has been growing all over the world. Similarly, many countries (ex. Canada, Australia) started to introduce multicultural policy for indigenous peoples. The Russian federation which is one of the leading countries having multicultural communities, many federal districts started to introduce or revise a system for indigenous peoples in many of its federal districts. Under these circumstances, the way of decision-making by indigenous peoples varies depending on political system of federal districts where they belong. In this connection, the Russian federation has two characteristics: (1) the original definition of indigenous peoples is provided in writing with using their own term: “the indigenous small-numbered peoples”. (2) there is an internationally well-known indigenous organization (RAIPON) which represents all 41 indigenous groups in the Russian federation.

I conducted this research with the purpose of revealing the mechanism of indigenous movements by focusing on the peoples’ decision-making process and by visualizing the relationship between this system and indigenous groups who either use or not use it.

I did the following things to address this matter: (1) collected examples of decision-making, focusing on the indigenous organizations of Siberian peoples (RAIPON and their branches); (2) examined the connections between cultural representation of Siberian peoples and their indigenous movements. In addition, for further direction of this study, I will seek the way to provide the practical perspectives for comparing situations of different countries and rethinking Arctic policy.


  1. What I have done and what I will do

Half a year has passed since the beginning of my stay in Novosibirsk. I have already finished collecting several cases in some cities. From now on, I am going to analyze these cases, put these information together and get feedback from indigenous peoples and researchers. I especially would like to be well-informed about the reality of indigenous peoples and their allies: recognizing gaps between the important problems for the parties concerned including that among researchers and trying to bridge the rift or to seek mutual grounds. I believe that such kind of work is important for long-term qualitative research.

Sakurako Koresawa (Tohoku University)

Novosibirsk State University

In Tashtagol (Novokuznetsk)

In the train heading for Novokuznetsk