This article investigates people's relationships to the natural environment, or ecological ethics, in two closely related minority ethnic groups—Evenki and Eveny in Siberia. It is based on the oral histories and the experience of people living "traditionally" on the land, and also those who have settled permanently in villages and towns. The article explains what role nature plays in their lives, the cultural rules of interrelation with it, and their transformations in the contemporary world. Indigenous moral laws have not been able to protect the land and nature from destruction common in wider Russian society. Therefore, appropriate state policy is needed to protect the rights of the minority indigenous peoples of the Russian North for use of natural resources.
Ecological Ethics of the Evenks and Evens
Evenki Concerns Regarding the Proposed Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean Pipeline
Gail Fondahl and Anna Sirina
Indigenous peoples' rights to a healthy environment and to be able to participate in decisions affecting their environment are increasingly recognized in Russian law. In this article we explore the case of the Evenki living at the north end of Lake Baikal, who are faced with the construction of an oil pipeline through their home-land. The Evenki perceive significant potential risks to their livelihoods and lifeways due to potential environmental degradation from the pipeline, risks that destabilize their substantive rights. They also express frustration over their inability to participate in the pipeline planning—their procedural rights to decision making are not being realized. While the pipeline project is currently stymied over environmental concerns, environmental and cultural justice concerns of indigenous peoples could pose considerable de jure obstacles to its future progress, given the pipeline construction company's disregard of indigenous rights.