A delegation of six indigenous leaders from the Russian Far East visited the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe at Akwesasne Territory in February to discuss issues concerning the environment, retaining culture, self-governance and journalism.
“It’s clear that these indigenous people face many of the same issues as we do in North America,” Tribal Chief Randy Hart said in a press release. “Sharing information will hopefully let them better face them.”
They are having trouble holding onto their traditional way of life as outsiders move onto their ancestral lands in an effort to development them. They are losing language, culture and traditional activities like hunting, reindeer herding and fishing.
According to the tribe, 19 minority ethnic groups inhabit the Russian Far East with a population of about 100,000. The largest of those are the Evenk with a population of about 30,000. Many live in small villages close to traditional subsistence areas where they can herd, hunt, raise stock, fish and harvest wild plants.
The delegates’ visit to Akwesasne wasn’t their only stop in the United States. They also went to Seattle, Washington and Albuquerque, New Mexico to meet with other tribes to discuss education, hunting and fishing rights, health care and youth programming. The visit was hosted through the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
“We are happy and proud that they chose to visit our Mohawk community here in Akwesasne,” Tribal Chief Ron LaFrance said in the release. “We can all learn from each other and find ways to preserve our cultural heritages, languages and way of life.”