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"People of the Lakes" project kicked off in Karelia and Minnesota

13 october 2022

These difficult times sometimes offer good news!

Today it is especially important to support people-to people contacts and develop initiatives that promote better understanding of each other. With our good friends from Duluth and Minnesota, we are starting a joint project “People of the Lakes”. The project’s main theme is cultural exchange between the native Americans of the Ojibwe tribe and the Karelians of the Olonets region.

How do indigenous people preserve their traditions from being swallowed up by modernity? What ways of organizing life and economy can be successfully applied today? What do two different peoples, separated by vast spaces, but living in similar natural and climatic conditions, have in common?

To answer these questions, the project plans to create a joint documentary film dedicated to the modern life of Ojibwe people and Karelians, teach high school students from the two countries to make their own short films about the life of people on the lakes, develop and present an educational online game on the topic “Sustainable Indigenous Practices” .

People from the Ojibwe tribe are not new to the history of sister city relations between Petrozavodsk and Duluth. In 2007, a joint youth camp for the construction of traditional boats — birch bark canoes and kizhanka boats (pictured) took place in Petrozavodsk. A large delegation of Ojibwe Native Americans came. Today some of them are working with schoolchildren themselves as teachers and mentors, and we hope that they will also take part in our project.