Cultural Survival  Special Project Annual Report

Totem Peoples Preservation Project For Fiscal Year 2003
(January 1, 2003 to December 31, 2003)

1. Purpose: The Totem Project’s mission and purpose is to insure the survival and sustainability of traditional, indigenous and nomadic cultures whose lifestyle, spirituality and culture are inextricably linked with totem animals such as reindeer, yak, horse, bactrian camel and sheep.

The primary goals of the Totem Project are:

 1. Aid in the protection of traditional, related reindeer herding peoples of Eastern Siberia and Northern Mongolia.

 2. Supporting the promotion of the proposed Lake Baikal – Sayan Mountains – Lake Hovsgol Transboundary Peace Park for cooperation on traditional cultures and their environments.

 3.Promoting awareness and empowerment sharing of totem peoples or the indigenous and traditional cultures and peoples of Eastern Siberia and Mongolia.

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2. The mission and primary goals of the Totem Project have remained consistent since its founding in 1999 and in line with last year’s (2003) work efforts in cultural survival in Eastern Siberia and northern Mongolia with colleagues of the Buryat, Tyvan, Evenk, Soyot, Dukha and Mongolian and Russian ethnic backgrounds.

2003 year actions focused strongly on the work of aiding the Dukha reindeer herders of northern Mongolia, in particular – and increasingly work has been more devoted to native rights and representation issues of goals 1, and goals 3 – while work on the peace park effort has had to be reduced due to higher native rights and traditional livelihood priorities.

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3. Totem Project work efforts in 2003 included the following primary activities, actions and results in line with our mission and goals:

Continued into 4th year spring and summer veterinary aid work and veterinary health assessment support and treatment for sick or weakened reindeer of the Dukha culture of northern Mongolia.

Herd health assessments critical to the traditional nomadic lifestyle of the Dukha reindeer herding peoples were undertaken in both May and July, 2003 with over $ 1,400 or more worth of veterinary medicines delivered and craft tools for supplemental income enhancement.

3-4 veterinary aid, and vet specialists underwent specialized veterinary training in both Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar, and in the field directly with the reindeer herders.

Preparations of over 2 years were completed and funding gained to successfully complete the first ever meetings of the ethnic minority Dukha with the Government of Mongolia in June-July 2003.  These historic meetings were the first of its kind for any ethnic minority among 18 such minorities ever held in Mongolia.

An official Appeal to the Government of Mongolia was ompleted with the leadership of the Dukha people and distributed to the Government of Mongolia, the legislature-parliament, President and executive offices, and selected key ministries and the press.

A successful 3rd Adirondack – Siberia Cultural and Ecological Exchange was undertaken bringing a team of 6 American specialists to the Republic of Buryatia during September 2003 advancing dialogue on ecological, cultural protection and native rights issues – and leading towards a newly revised protocol agreement with the republic of Buryatia and non-government organizations (NGO) now under development.

Specialist in Traditional Mongolian Healing practices, Sas Carey, RN, was enlisted to join October work in the region of the Dukha reindeer herders to initiate public meetings with Dukha elders, shamans and women to assess the state of traditional and modern health care for the Dukha nomads.

Numerous pubic speaking and promotional events were held throughout 2003 to promote the work and raise funds for the Totem Project – it was the best year yet in terms of annual fundraising and donor contributions.

Completed successfully co-editing and major funding of the Spring issue of Cultural Survival Quarterly devoted to reindeer herding cultures in Russia, Mongolia and China and our 2003 newsletters – annual report 2001-2002, and several project mailings to donors and prospects.

The project maintained and advanced collaboration with government and NGO’s in Buryatia, Russia, Mongolia and the USA to help foster realization of project goals.

The project was recognized by the ROLEX Award for Innovative Leadership and invited and successfully completed applications for award funding through this unique international program.

Impediments to project progress include: limits on fundraising ability, weakened economy making donations harder to obtain, international turmoil making overseas projects more challenging and difficult, time and expertise availability challenges, SARS impacted travel postponements for team travel, etc.

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4. The Totem Project completed its fourth and most successful year of diverse programs in cultural survival activities with the nomadic Dukha, as well as highlighting or aiding Buryat, Evenk and other native peoples in Eastern Siberia, Russia.

All of the Totem Project’s primary goals and objectives were worked on, and is on-going with major achievements highlighted in section 3 as to completed objectives and tasks of priority action for our project.

The status of the project is strong, with much anticipation for an increase in programs during 2004, and more broad-reaching and specific, concentrated assistance to the native peoples we work with in Russia and Mongolia.

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5. During 2003, the Totem Project’s development efforts included:

Totem sought new major donors and had some gains in increasing major donors – and maintaining repeat major donors – during 2003

Increased the number of foundation grants including repeat grants from the Nordlys Foundation (Saratoga Springs, NY USA), Momentum Earth Foundation (Oslo, Norway),  Chingis Khan Foundation (USA), American-Mongolian Friendship Committee Foundation (Washington, DC) and others.

Promotions via press, CSQ – especially the Spring 2003 edition devoted to the reindeer herding peoples of Russia, Mongolia and China, and other venues.

CS Craft Bazaar participation, sales and meeting donors.

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6. Totem Project will in 2004 seek funding from all of the same venues (donors, major gifts and foundations and events – and will also seek to advance speaker-paid events, craft sales of native crafts, etc.

Increasing advances in foundation support is desired and being planned for at this time.

7. Donor report provided in the revenue and expense statement for 2003 (see attached).

8. Comparison of actual expenses to original budgeted amounts and explain any variance.  Completed financial sheets, as follows for Fiscal Year 2003 (see attachment).

The Totem Project, in its fourth year sought to raise a budget of $45,000 as its original goal for 2003 program efforts in Mongolia and Russia.  Actual income revenues from donors and foundations ran approximately 8 percent below our goals due to the poor economy, difficulties in gaining major donor contributions and extensive field time overseas when fund-raising programs in the USA are not ongoing.

In terms of expenditures, funds planned to purchase veterinary medicines for reindeer herders in Tyva were reallocated to the Dukha native rights work in Mongolia due to problems in Tyva in project preparation and planning by project colleagues.  This deficit in material aid to the Tyvan side is planned to be addressed in Totem Project work during 2004 with a planned $2,500 plus contribution of veterinary medicines, aid and program work if Tyvan colleagues complete project planning and implementation requirements in proper order. 

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9. The Totem Project in 2004 anticipates raising upwards of $65,000 during 2004 to advance project work in Siberia, and Mongolia, with the Buryat, Dukha, Soyot and Evenk Peoples.  This is our project’s fundraising goals at present and economic conditions, part-time volunteer and coordinator availability will affect the final outcome of revenues raised during the year.

In terms of planned expenditures, field work expenses may be reduced in 2005 due to only one planned field season travel internationally planned for July-August 2005 – and higher costs in program education and promotion costs in the USA to increase public outreach and understanding is expected. 

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