More research on Arctic health needed: Sami leader


Lars-Anders Baer, former President of the Saami Parliament. Photo: Eilís Quinn, Radio Canada International.

Today, Lars-Anders Baer, former president of the Sami Parliament, was on the Plenary Panel: Communities and Health at the 2012 International Polar Conference in Montreal.

During is talk, Baer stressed the importance of affirming indigenous rights to things like traditional medicines and health practices. He also emphasized that respecting the rights of the Arctic’s indigenous people’s to their lands and waters, especially in this era of Arctic development, will play an important role in community health.

After his talk, Baer pointed to the wave of suicides in Sami communities after mining and other business interests set up in some areas of Arctic Sapmi. Traditional reindeer migration routes were disturbed, and in some cases had a direct impact on people’s livelihoods.

Everyone from government to scientists needed to take health care into consideration when operating in the Arctic, Baer said.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is a journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic circumpolar news project. At Eye on the Arctic, Eilís has produced documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the circumpolar world. Her documentary Bridging the Divide was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards. Eilís began reporting on the North in 2001. Her work as a reporter in Canada and the United States, and as TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China" has taken her to some of the world’s coldest regions including the Tibetan mountains, Greenland and Alaska; along with the Arctic regions of Canada, Russia, Norway and Iceland.

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