RAIPON was founded in 1990 at the First Congress of Indigenous Peoples of the North of USSR.
Now RAIPON is the Russian umbrella organization which organizes 35 regional and ethnic organizations of indigenous peoples in the regions where they live. RAIPON represents 41 groups of Indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East. The total number of people is more than 270 thousand and they live in 60 % of the whole territory of the Russian Federation from Murmansk to Kamchatka.
The purpose of RAIPON is to protect indigenous peoples’ human rights, defend their legal interests, assist in solving environmental, social, economic, cultural and educational issues, and to promote their right to self governance. RAIPON works with the State Duma and the Government of the Russian Federation regarding legislation related to indigenous peoples’ issues.
The highest body of RAIPON is the Congress of all indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East of the Russian Federation, which is held every four years. The President of RAIPON Grigoriy Ledkov is also a deputy of the State Duma of the RF. He is the Chair of the Duma Working Group for Nationality Issues which develops draft federal legislation connected with the protection of indigenous peoples' rights in the Russian Federation. Mr. Ledkov is also the Head of the Permanent Delegation of the State Duma to the Nordic Council – a regional inter-parliamentary forum for cooperation between the Nordic Countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Finland).
RAIPON participates in international structures such as the Arctic Council as a permanent participant, the United Nations Economic and Social Council with a special consultative status and the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum of the United Nations Environment Program as an observer. Members of RAIPON’s presidium are now members in the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, UN Expert Mechanism on indigenous rights, and the UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.