Despite their small numbers, the Sakhalin aborigines are standing up to multinational energy companies that are developing oil and gas deposits on the island. On March 25-26, representatives of the Nivkh, Orok, Evenk, and Nanai peoples of Sakhalin held a congress in the town of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Roughly 3,000 indigenous people make up about 0.5 percent of the island’s total population.
The indigenous congress created a council which will represent the island’s indigenous population in negotiations with the oil companies and Russian government authorities. The council will advocate for an ethnographic study to assess the cultural impact of the oil and gas projects on indigenous peoples.
The new Shell pipeline is being constructed over a sacred Nivkh burial ground. The noise from the construction has impacted the caribou population and driven herders away from their traditional grazing grounds. The new Shell drilling platform and the pipeline connecting it to the shore is due to be constructed near the key feeding area of the endangered western pacific gray whale. >> continue