Russian Association of the Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON)
The Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) was established in 1990 at a Congress of Indigenous People in Russia. With a membership of 190,000 and 29 regional chapters, RAIPON's primary objective is to protect and promote the rights and interests of indigenous people in Siberia and the Far East of the country.
RAIPON has organized several campaigns dealing with the conservation of forests and animal species. It recently held a seminar for leaders of the 29 regional chapters on environmental problems affecting the traditional lifestyles of indigenous peoples in the Russian North. As a result of this meeting, they prepared the first assessment and action plan for the environment in Arctic Russia ever made by indigenous people.
After the seminar, the participants expressed an enormous sense of empowerment and encouragement to do something. RAIPON is a permanent member of the Arctic Council, where it has contributed to the Council's work in protecting the Arctic environment and the region's flora and fauna. Without their energy the issue of involving indigenous knowledge in protecting the environment of Arctic Russia would have been almost nonexistent.