Seminar on Legislation in the Field of Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Petrozavodsk
: 17/11/2009

An interregional seminar Basic Principles of Indigenous Legislation. A Modern Approach to the Training of Experts in the Field of Preservation, Development and Use of the Veps Language took place in Petrozavodsk on 11 November, 2009. The Karelian regional public organization Youth Legal Information Center of Indigenous Peoples Nevond and public educational organization of Karelian Republic Institute of Further Educationalists Training organized the seminar with the assistance of the Ministry of the Republic of Karelia on National Politics and Relations with Religious Associations. Participants from Kondopoga, Prionezhsky, Prjazha, Kalevala and Olonets Districts of Karelia were at the seminar. Laura Syratusa, linguist and ethnographer from Italia, who came to Karelia to get acquainted with Veps culture and history and to learn Veps language, also took part in the seminar. Zinaida I. Strogalshchikova, chairman of the Karelian regional public organization Society of Veps Culture; Elizaveta E. Kharitonova, head of the Indigenous Peoples State Support Programs Department of the Ministry of the Republic of Karelia on National Politics and Relations with Religious Associations; Nina G. Zaitseva, head of the Linguistics Department of the Institute of Language, Literature and History of Karelian Scientific Center of Russian Academy of Science, scientist; Irina A. Bondarenko, coordinator of the Karelian regional public organization Defence and Future, lawyer; Elena A. Leontyeva, deputy director of the Karelian regional public organization Youth Legal The seminar participants received information on the United Nations' mechanisms for protecting rights of indigenous peoples; principal federal legislation passed in accordance with constitutional regulations of rights of small-numbered indigenous peoples; last government decisions in the field of protection of indigenous peoples' rights; implementation of state support programs of Baltic-Finnish peoples of the Karelian Republic aiming to exercise the rights of Karelians, Vepses and Finns of the Karelian Republic to preservation, development, study and use of native languages and cultures.

There was an exhibition of books where they represented legal brochures and new learning aids and fiction for use in learning native languages.
At the end of the seminar they carried out a poll and most of the participants rated the organization of the seminar very high, made special mention of high qualification of visiting specialists, currency and interest of their reports and expressed their wishes to the organizers.
Elena Leontyeva,
Director of Karelian Center