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 Council of Karelians, Vepses and Finns Discussed Issues of Preservation of Vepses

Indigenous IssuesThe meeting of the Council of representatives of Karelians, Vepses and Finns of the Karelian Republic under the Head of the Republic of Karelia took place in the village of Sheltozero, Prionezhsky Municipal Area, on 5 October. The meeting was timed to opening of the first phase of the first starting complex of the Sheltozero village secondary school including dining room, gym and workshops.
Head of Karelia, Sergey Katanandov; deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation’s Federal Assembly , Valentina Pivnenko; representatives of ministries and departments of the Republic, administration of Prionezhsky Municipal Area, Veps settlements; heads and members of national public associations of Karelians, Vepses and Finns; teachers of Sheltozero school and the community took part in the meeting of the Council.

Important issues on the use of language and ethnocultural potential of Karelian Vepses, small-numbered indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation, in development of territories of Veps settlements have been discussed during the meeting. The Minister on National Politics and Relations with Religious Associations, Andrey Manin; deputy head of administration of Prionezhsky Municipal Area on social issues, Marina Illarionova, and deputy director of Sheltozero school on educational work, Galina Pozdnyakova, presented the information on the role of cooperation between the government and the public in preservation of Vepses. They have also treated the question of assistance of the Veps Culture Society and “Kaichii” in preservation of the Vepses' ethnic identity, development of their native language and traditional culture, arts and trades of the Veps people.
Thanks to joint efforts of public authorities, local governments and the community they have managed to obtain positive results in the field of preservation of the Veps people. Thus they allocated funds from the “Economic and Social Development of Small-Numbered Indigenous Peoples of the North till 2008” federal target program and in 2009 construction subsidies for the first phase of the first starting complex of the Sheltozero village secondary school were obtained. Total amount of money spent on construction came to over124 million rubles 60% of which were assigned by the Republic and 40% - by the federal budget.
In 2008-2009 the Republic is implementing the Plan of the republic's activities for organization and carrying out of the II World Decade of Indigenous People. The inter-regional theoretical and practical conference “Vepses – Small-Numbered Indigenous People of the Russian Federation: Prospects of Preservation and Development” held last April and participation of Vepses in the international and inter-regional cooperation - V World Congress of Finno-Ugric People in Khanty-Mansiysk in June, 2008; the X International Congress of Finno-Ugric Writers in Yoshkar-Ola in September; the IV Congress of Small-Numbered Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation in Moscow in April, 2009; the IV Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples of the Russian Federation in Saransk this September - were the most significant activities of the Plan.
Meetings of collective labour bodies which are the indicator of ethnopolitical, ethnosocial and ethnocultural health of the society are frequent and help to respond to actual problems of the population.
More than 40 Veps books and Russian ones about Vepses have been published during the past 20 years. Those publications often became winners of The Best Book of the Year competition in The Best Book in Karelian, Veps and Finnish Languages nomination. “New Russian-Vepsian Dictionary” of Maria Mullonen and Nina Zaitseva and “The Vepses’ Monography” of Zinaida Strogalshchikova are among them. All novelties in Vepsian language, CDs, textbooks are endowed by the republican budget and are popular with Veps representatives of Karelia, Leningrad and Vologda Oblasts.
Within the bounds of the Agreement on cooperation and the Plans of coordinated actions between the Ministry, administration of Prionezhsky District and public associations17 ethnopolitical, ethnosocial, ethnocultural programs, projects and activities have been held during the past two years. Total amount of grants for their implementation was 340 thousand rubles. The competition of Karelian and Veps families “Ancestral Home” and the inter-regional holiday of Veps people “Tree of Life” should be especially noted. Production and installation of road signs with names of settlements in Vepsian and Karelian languages has begun in Prionezhsky region of the Republic.
Continuation of work on strengthening of regional legal base concerning protection of original habitat, traditional living, management and trades of Vepses, small-numbered indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation, living in the Republic of Karelia; development and adoption of the Plan of the Republic's activities in 2010-2011 for organization and carrying out of the II World Decade of Indigenous People on the territory of the Republic; implementation of intergovernmental cooperation agreements between the Republic and Leningrad and Vologda Oblasts in economic, social, scientific, technical and cultural spheres are the first priorities of public authorities, local governments and national public associations.
At the end of work of the collective labour body members of the Council and the invitees visited the Sheltozero Veps Ethnographic Museum, the unique keeper of large collection of monuments of material and spiritual culture of Vepses which makes the youth and adult population take interest in language, literature and history of the native land.
Republic of Karelia. The Official Site of Administrative Bodies

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