XVII group of interns
Spring - Summer, 2001


Days of the Culture of the Republic of Altai in Moscow
21st Century: Indigenous Peoples and the Media
Revival of the Kumandin People
Find Points of Force Application
The Trust Voluntary Teetotaler Society
Where does the name come from?
Fundamental Values of the Samoyedic Group: the Selkup

Hunting and Fishing Are My Way of Life
(Notes of a Taiga Hunter)
Lower Kolyma College

Days of the Culture of the Republic of Altai in Moscow

On April 19, Moscow was receiving visitors from the Siberian Republic of Altai.  The Days of the Culture were timed to the 10-year anniversary of the republic and were jointly sponsored by the governments of Moscow and the Republic of Altai.  All the events took place in the New Opera Theater.  Also there, the participants could look at the Highland Altai photo exhibition by Leonid Kruglov.  The audience and performers heard greetings from Moscow Vice Mayor V.P. Shantsev and S.I. Zubakin, head of the Republic of Altai.  The leaders of both sides spoke in support of collaboration between the governments of Moscow and the Republic of Altai both now and in the future.

The sides exchanged gifts: in keeping with the Altai tradition, the vice mayor received a friendship belt, kur, and the Moscow city hall gave a vase painted with Russian-style designs.

Thirty-seven performers represented the republics culture, including the Altam National Dance Theater, the Burlet duo, the Yrystu Dance Ensemble, the Tala folklore group, etc.  They included Honored Performers of Russia.  The concert began with a goodwill rite, and the pleasant scent of juniper herbs pervaded the hall.  The performers represented Kazakh, Altai, and Russian culture.  The focus was on the Altai culture.  Theatrics unfolded on the stage: singing was followed by lively dances and vice versa.  The concert went in a single breath.

During the performance, slides and videos of the scenic beauties of highland Altai were shown.  The masterly throat singing by N. Shumarov and winners of international competitions B. Bayryshev and T. Morodova stunned the audience.  It was a special pleasure to see the republics culture minister, Honored Performer of Russia Karagys Yalbakova, on stage with classical opera singing of the Nightingale theme.  Some guests also performed: L. Nikolayeva with the Russian Soul Ensemble and Yulian.

Days of the Culture of the Republic of Altai will also be held in May in the city of Novosibirsk, and in July, in the republics capital, Gorno-Altaisk.  Other performers will also be included in those.  The audience will have an opportunity to feel the diversity of the culture of the Republic of Altai.

Olga Satlayeva (Kumandin)

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21st Century: Indigenous Peoples 
and the Media

On April 26, 2001, a roundtable discussion of the topic Society for All: Broader Participation of Indigenous Peoples in Civil Society and the Role of Mass Media took place in Moscow.  The roundtable was held by the UN Information Center in Moscow together with the Lauravetlan Indigenous Information Center.

Participating in it were workers of the central media, nongovernmental associations, and government agencies.  Vladimir Fyodorovich Petrovsky, UN Deputy Secretary-General and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, also took part in the roundtable discussion.  He noted that such an activity is very timely: processes of the formation of a new global civilization are operating now in the entire world.  Various business structures and governmental organizations are active participants in the international process.  Collaboration with promising partners, including those representing civil society, is growing.  Indigenous peoples are also becoming increasingly involved in the international process.

Notably, the roundtable was held in the Decade of the Worlds Indigenous People and the International Year Against Racism.  A significant development is the UN decision on the creation of the Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues.  One of the main tasks of the United Nations, Mr. Petrovsky said, is to ensure an active role of indigenous peoples.  An important role in the process is assigned to the national, including Russian, media.

Other speakers included Y.A. Reshetov, member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary; Oleg Y. Egorov, president of the Lauravetlan Information Center; A.Y. Samarina, Obshchaya Gazeta analyst; Y.I. Timokhin, consultant of the Federation Council Committee for the Affairs of the North and Indigenous Peoples; and representatives of the regional media.  All spoke about the extraordinary role of the media in covering the problems of indigenous peoples.  Mr. Timokhin stressed, in particular, that recently the Duma had passed the Law on Traditional Nature Management Territories, a third such bill lately, but the media covered the event very listlessly.

The speakers referred to the fact that central newspapers publish very few materials on the situation of the Russian indigenous peoples and that the peoples themselves should be giving grounds to the media.

The speakers representing indigenous peoples working in the ethnic media included O.S. Terletskaya, editor of the ethnic life section of the sociopolitical newspaper Naryana Vynder (Red Tundra Man); N.N. Fomin, editor of the Veps ethnic newspaper Kodima (Native Land); and Lidiya V. Pynko, own correspondent of the Evensk municipal television.  They spoke about the practical lack of linkages between the media from remote northern regions and the big media.  It is necessary to pay attention to professional training of indigenous journalists for both regional and central mass media as well as to the participation of representatives of the provincial media in major media conferences and representative forums in Moscow and other major cities.

On June 25-26, 2001, the ITAR-TASS World Congress Information: Challenge of the 21st Century will take place in Moscow and St. Petersburg, according to A.S. Gorelik, director of the UN Information Center in Moscow.  Considering the importance of mutually informed status of the regions and the federal Center, it is desirable for journalists from the regions, from backcountry, including from among indigenous peoples, to take part along with state and major mass media.

It should be noted that this was the first time that a roundtable on mass media in Russia has been held with the participation of indigenous peoples at the UN level, and it opens prospects for further collaboration.

Lidiya Pynko (Even)

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Revival of the Kumandin People

The Kumandin (from Lat. kumandins) are autonomous population of southern Siberia.  Their self-names are Kumand, Kuband, or Kuvand.  The West European name Cuman means swan man, and the Russian name is Cuman/Polovtsian (maybe from the Russian word polyy, yellow, or from the word polovodye, high water, meaning people who come with high water to the Agidel (Volga, Itil, Ra), or the word pole, forest-steppe, forested plain).  The Kumandin language belongs to the East Uighur group of the Turkic languages.

Today, the Kumandin form compact clusters in three components of the Russian Federation: the Altai Territory, the Republic of Altai, and Kemerovo Oblast.  In the Republic of Altai, the Kumandin live in Turochak District and the city of Gorno-Altaisk.

Operating in the republic is a nongovernmental organization, Revival of the Kumandin People, which, in turn, forms part of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of the Republic of Altai.  Its first attempts to register as an independent organization took place in 1994, but the proposal kept being rejected on the regional level until 1998.  That, however, does not mean that representatives of the Kumandin people all those years were taking no steps toward their coming into being.  Thus, V.I. Petrushova and G.L. Maksarov all those years were taking an active role in organizational processes and in attracting an ever-increasing number of people to stirring up the movement of the Kumandin people.  The Peshperovs, owners of the Chedirgen store, and members of the spearhead group have provided financial support to the organization.  For a year and a half now, the youth organization Revival of the Kumandin People, whose chairperson I am, has been operating.

The main purpose of the organization is ideological unification for stirring up social life, reviving the original culture, renewing and developing arts and crafts, attracting active population, etc.

I am very much concerned over the cultural state of our people.  Only the older generation and very few young people know the Kumandin language and folklore.  Regrettably, I belong to those people who do not speak the native language, and when I am asked whether I speak my language, it hurts to respond that I do not.  Having created the Youth Union, we, members of the Union, tried to somehow organize optional classes to study our native language, at least the everyday speech for starters.  Yet, that was not easy at all, as there are no primers in required quantity, no methodological guides, and no tutor who would teach us, or room where we could meet.  I hope that gradually we will move ahead.

Frankly, I had not realized how deplorable the situation of our people was until I found myself at the Lauravetlan Information Center and met with and talked to members of other peoples.  I sort of took an outsiders look at the situation of our people.  When at home, I had not reflected on many things and had viewed them differently.  Now I understand how important it is to know the culture of your people.  This is equivalent to knowing and understanding ones own self: where I am from and what I am.  Therefore, it is necessary now, while not everything has been lost irretrievably, to try and restore what has been lost and preserve what is remaining.

It would be remarkable if the youth interested in developing the movement of the Kumandin responded in order to solve common problems, since together, united, we will be able to do much more than single-handed.  I know that there are people whose heart aches for the future of the Kumandin people, and that means that not everything is lost yet. We need to know each other and stay in touch at all times.  Not many of us remain, and we need to stay together.

Our Youth Union Revival of the Kumandin People can be reached by mail: 33 Shishkova St., Gorno-Altaisk, Republic of Altai 649000 and by e-mail: olgasatlaeva@hotmail.ru.

Olga Satlayeva (Kumandin)

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Find Points of Force Application

I want to devote my article to the youth topic, an eternal topic always requiring public attention.

The youth of the North today, as never before, needs its interests to be protected and upheld at all government levels.  How is that to be done, for example at the level of a district and rural administrations and regional nongovernmental organizations?

I want to briefly tell you about the youth of our North Even District, Magadan Oblast, and use the example to show typical problems of the indigenous youth and options for their solution.

The North Even District can be called a district isolated from urban civilization, if not from world one, and the most remote district in Magadan Oblast, lacking a wide network of transportation communication, to where, as the song goes, you can only go by plane.  The bulk of information from the national capital, for example, the youth receives thanks to television, radio, newspapers, and magazines.  By the way, even these media are not always accessible to our youth.  By reading this article further you will understand the causes of such isolation.

As is known, all the problems emerging in society first of all negatively affect the youth.  Never in the history of humankind has it been possible to shield the young generation from defects of society.

At times, the picture is grim, especially in the backcountry.  Of course, an optimist will say, A person can always find points to apply his or her forces, but, regrettably, optimists are increasingly becoming rare species.  One should not be criticizing the youth by saying that it is so bad today, but find the causes of the passiveness of some young people and their lack of the wish to work or study.  Indeed, look how many young men and ladies in the villages are increasingly involved in parasitism, drinking, and alcoholism!  The causes of that are many, but one of them, in my opinion, is the lack of points to apply ones forces.  It is very important to help this or that young person find those points in life.  Life, as is known, is a natural process, as are natural the processes operating in society.  How shall one figure out what this irreversible life process is about?

By taking as an example a population center or a people one can follow its way of development over a certain period or from the time of its foundation or emergence.  It is natural that after some processes of reorganization, for instance, in the economy, a process of adaptation to new conditions follows.  That is a very hard process, leading to numerous problems.  Then the situation gradually stabilizes, and further development continues.  It is the same in the life of every individual.  One does not need to despair ever.  While you live, you should believe that it is always possible to live better.  Each one of us is able to do that.

Like in a movie, we see dozens and hundreds of different and somewhat similar fates.  Have you ever thought why there are different fates and why the fates of many are so similar?

Annually, the schools of our district turn out about sixty young people.  From 1997 to 2000, 236 persons received secondary education.  The Administration of the North Even District sends all the graduates desiring to obtain a profession to various learning centers.  For that, a special commission was created in 1996 that includes educators, medical doctors, Administration workers, and representatives of an indigenous NGO.  Over the past four years, the commission considered about 200 applications from the districts secondary school graduates and working youth and sent to study 155 persons: 37 persons in 1996, 16 persons in 1997, 27 persons in 1998, 38 persons in 1999, and 37 persons in 2000.

In addition, working young people have an opportunity to take courses by correspondence.  In 2000, 14 persons were sent to study by correspondence.  Workers of state budget-funded organizations are paid 50 percent of travel expenses when going for training.  Today, our young people study in 53 schools of the Russian Federation.  Under the program of the districts socioeconomic development for 1999-2001, 60 graduates must be sent for training (30 of them indigenes) to become physicians, teachers, cultural organizers, and other professionals.  A total of 1,029,000 rubles [$35,500] have been allocated for these purposes.  As previously cited data show, in the two preceding years alone, 75 persons were sent for training.

At the same time, the percentage of indigenes among the unemployed registered with the district employment center is very high.  A total of 233 unemployed is registered, with indigenes numbering 141, or 60.6 percent.  In the ethnic villages of Gizhiga, Garmanda, Topolovka, and Verkhniy Paren, this percentage amounts to 75 percent, 85 percent, 85 percent, and 97 percent, respectively.

The youth problem in the district is increasingly acquiring the nature of a social one, which spreads among this portion of the population that has no jobs, has no chance to find one in the district, and has no wish to go outside of the district.  How has this situation become possible?  Most of the unemployed indigenes are former reindeer herders and recent graduates who do not wish to continue their education and would like (or could) work in reindeer herding.  The problem is that the personnel of the districts reindeer herding entities has been reduced to a minimum.  As the result, unable to work in either reindeer herding, due to the lack of vacancies, or other spheres, due to the lack of education, the local young, 17-35 years old, go to different officials in search of social protection and in the hope of finding a more deserving way of life.

This topic is the subject of all sorts of discussions at the level of government agencies and of various points of view in the media.

This topic is a consequence of numerous social and economic processes operated in the district over the past few years.

This is a topic that entails such a major task as preservation of the traditional way of life and, finally, preservation of a people as an ethnos.

This topic concerns many personal fates and, what is important, the fate of young people who have lost their way in a market society and cannot and do not know how to get out of the situation.

How is it possible to help them?  What needs to be done for the youth to have faith in its forces and move at least 1 percent closer to the line beyond which there is normal, well-off life that has a future?

What response could be given to a question of the villagers from Verkhniy Paren who in 1999 wrote a letter to various offices: to the Magadan Oblast Association of Indigenous Peoples, to the Magadanskaya Pravda editorial office, to State Duma Deputy V. Butkeyev, etc.

I will not cite the entire letter as half of it concerns the relations between the villagers and fish wardens and officials from Okhotskrybvod, but will cite only the portion concerning the topic of this article (verbatim):

() The writers of this are inhabitants of the ethnic village of Verkhniy Paren, North Even Ethnic District.  Our village is home to 74 families.  Mostly, these are families with three or more kids.  Most of the villagers are pensioners and unemployed.  The working people can be counted on ones fingers.  Mostly, they are workers of the MSO [expansion unknown] 6 persons, District Consumers Cooperative 5 persons, culture workers 3 persons, housing and communal services 4 persons, social protection 1 person, post office 1 person, administration 3 persons, and dispensary 2 persons.

The unemployed are mainly former workers of the Paren Reindeer Herding State Farm, many of whom are officially registered with the district employment office.  The Paren State Farm was reorganized into a unitary municipal enterprise in 1996.  The former workers and reindeer herders never received paychecks since 1992, nor did they get severance pay due to reduction in force in 1996-1998.  The personnel of the state farm is still being reduced due to the reduction of the reindeer herd, and the people lead a totally miserable existence.

Let us cite an example: the average monthly pension amounts to 612 rubles [$21] and the unemployment allowance to a family with many children is 267-10 rubles, but the take-home amount is 150 rubles [$5].  Can you live in these difficult times when the prices of elementary goods (food) in stores are fabulous and supply is very rare.  Supplies come with helicopters, which come very rarely.  Even if food is brought, there is practically no money to buy it with.

To survive in these conditions, we in the village, like our ancestors, store up fish: make dried fish, make sour heads, in late fall prepare kamikam (frozen fish), dry caviar, salt fish, and prepare the fish bones that remain after the making of dried fish to feed dogs.  Practically no part of the caught fish is thrown away: everything is put to good use.

And further they write: At present, we cannot buy anything, as we have no money.  Most villagers have run up huge debts with the store.  If we get some caviar from fishing, we use it to pay debts to the store at 70 rubles per kilogram [$1.10 per pound], and rough caviar goes at 25 rubles a kilo [$0.39 a pound].  And the food prices are growing: a loaf of bread costs 12.50 rubles [$0.43].

The price of caviar in our district is low, and in Magadan it goes as high as 250 rubles per kilo [$3.90 a pound].  Look at the difference.

This fall, a group of Okhotskrybvod wardens visited our Paren River with an inspection.  We, the villagers, turned out to be poachers.  They arrested the caviar delivered to the store in payment of debts.

But how shall we live?  With what shall we support ourselves?  How can we be poachers?  From time immemorial, our ancestors did not throw away even the intestines.  Fish gives us food the year round it is our ethnic food.  But we, too, want to vary our diet.  But then again, there is no money, no foodstuffs.

Yes, of course, one should save his riches.  The river is our provider, but the wardens had better look at what is happening close to it instead of depriving us of our last possessions.  The wardens behave impudently, search our homes without a prosecutors order (tents are our homes).

We also want to ask: who will finally pay us for our work at the state farm?  Will the state repay its debts to us?

When we are debtors, the debts are shaken out of us even though we see no money.

A new election to the State Duma is approaching, and again an election race will begin with their all kinds of promises, which, however, do not fill your stomach.  And we, villagers, will vote for deputies in the hope for a bright future and will continue leading a miserable existence()

Regrettably, a similar picture is seen in other villages as well.  Due to the lack of elementary residential conditions and the impossibility to find a job, population migrates from the villages to the district capital.  People, mainly the youth, go to the district center hoping for the better.  In the end, they face the same problems there.

In October 2000, the district indigenous NGO surveyed the residential conditions of indigenes who have moved to live in the village of Evensk.  All of them live in dormitories and slums anywhere.  The report submitted to district Duma deputies says: () A total of 40 families residing in slums on Mira, Gogolya, and Kooperativnaya Streets and in the dormitory on Marii Amamich Street have been surveyed.  The reason for abandoning the village, as a rule, is the lack of jobs, the lack of housing, deteriorated supply of foodstuffs and industrial goods, illness of someone in the family, which requires periodic medical examinations or lengthy treatment at an inpatient hospital.  Of the surveyed families, 12 are families of reindeer herders who have been dismissed during personnel reduction at the Paren UMSKP [Unitary Municipal Agricultural Enterprise] (11) and have quit from the Rassvet Severa UMSKP (1), including 6 families monitored by the district tuberculosis specialist, and only 2 of those families have a job, the rest being unemployed.  For the lack of registration, a portion of the families do not receive their unemployment allowances and childrens allowances.

According to obtained data, most of the out-migration occurs in the villages of Chaybukha, Verkhniy Paren, Topolovka, and Krestiki, which are divisions of the Paren UMSKP.  Some of the migrant families, having failed to obtain housing, rent housing from owners and do not register, which leads to the impossibility to land a job, receive an unemployment allowance, etc.  Some of the families live in the dormitory on Marii Amamich St., which lacks normal conditions: showers and restrooms do not work, some of the rooms are not heated, and litter and lack of sanitation are present.

To address the situation, we are suggesting the following:

Solve the question of early movement of families from slums, first of all those socially unprotected (families with many children, the unemployed, etc.);

Carry out necessary work in the dormitory at 12 Marii Amamich St. (which was suggested to the top management of the Housing and Communal Services Municipal Enterprise in April of 2000);

Request information from the districts villages on the need for housing, on the number of dismissed workers at enterprises and institutions;

Develop a procedure of privileged provision of housing to indigenes, submitting this matter for consideration by the District Duma.

In January of 2001, the North Even District Duma considered the suggestions of the NGO.  Guided by the Federal Law On guaranteeing the rights of indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation of 04.30.99 and the District Charter, the Duma decided to allocate state budget funds in the amount of 600,000 rubles [$21,000] to support the unemployed among the indigenes.  That included 200,000 rubles [$7,000] to buy housing, 300,000 rubles [$10,500] to buy food in compensation for wage arrears to former reindeer herders, and 100,000 rubles [$3,500] to secure jobs and train indigenous personnel.

That was a one-time assistance effort aimed at the most needy inhabitants of the district.  But such single efforts cannot solve all the problems relating to the youth.  Today we thus help some, and tomorrow others come for the same kind of help.  And the state budget, as is known, cannot stretch, and there are certain limits that cannot be surpassed, and there is the concept of rational use of funds, which means that funds should be used in such a way so as to produce maximum benefits for all.

To more effectively solve the problem of youth employment, provision of the young with housing, and making their life more active, we need a program defining concrete areas of stabilizing the situation of indigenous peoples.  This is huge and painstaking job for all to take part: both rural administrations and district administrations and employment centers and social protection sections and NGOs.  First of all, those in need of housing must be maximally provided with it, the indigent should be assisted in registering and for social assistance, and 100 percent of the population should be covered by medical services.  This way all the necessary conditions to increase labor and social activity of indigenous peoples, especially the young, will be created, and then everyone will have more chances to apply his or her forces.

Lidiya Pynko (Even)

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The Trust Voluntary Teetotaler Society

In 1994, a medical school was opened in the city of Anadyr, Chukchi Autonomous Okrug [district, area, territory, or region], with the assistance from the international organization Médicins du Monde, to train indigenes for nurses.  A positive result of the organizations program was the creation in 1995 of the Trust local society, which dealt with questions of alcoholism in the region and which in 1999 ceased to exist following a decision by the Chukchi Autonomous Okrug Commercial Court.

Today, the situation with alcoholism among the indigenous population is going out of control.  According to statistics, the mortality among indigenes as a result of drinking-related accidents and injuries has come to the fore.  Cancer is number two killer.  The average life expectancy among men is 38 years, and among women, 42 years (medical statistics for the Chukchi Autonomous Okrug as of 1996).  All that is directly tied to the spread of drinking and smoking.

We have reached the line beyond which there is irreversible degradation and self-destruction of the peoples populating this severe land.  We have no right to permit the extinction of such unique peoples as northern peoples.  Humankind is rich in the plurality of peoples, and the tragedy of disappearance of indigenous peoples can be averted.  We are strong enough for that.  Therefore, on January 31, 2000, the Trust Voluntary Nonprofit NGO was registered.

Trust was created to serve these purposes:

- use and improve the persuasion method (method of G.A. Shichko) to free people from alcohol and smoking addiction and switch to healthy way of life;

- advocate healthy way of life without liquors and tobacco through the media in Russian and the languages of Chukotkas native peoples; and

- request Chukotkas legislative and executive state agencies to take measures to limit the importation, production, and distribution of liquors on the territory of the Chukchi Autonomous Okrug.

Implementing this program, the society is planning to create a network of alcoholism and smoking prevention centers in all the population centers in Chukotka.  Trainers will work with the population and in schools.

STAGE ONE of the program creation of the Trust Center was carried out with the assistance from Médicins du Monde (two responsible officers from France and Switzerland).  At the initial stage of the societys operation, the Okrug Administration allocated funds in the amount of 110,000 rubles [about $5,000] (governors order # 107-rg of 05.28.98).

STAGE TWO is training of instructors for work in the districts of the Okrug and creation of prevention centers in population centers.  The centers instructors together with experts from the Teachers Continued Education Institute are preparing a program of antialcohol education (grades 1-11) for elementary and high school.  After a review at the Teachers Continued Education Institute and testing in Anadyr schools, Trust is planning to offer it to the Chukchi Autonomous Okrug Education Administration for making it a mandatory component of the curriculum at Chukotkas elementary and high schools.

STAGE THREE is creation of sobriety clubs in ethnic villages.

In its work, the Society uses the sobering method of a St. Petersburg researcher, Gennadiy Andreyevich Shichko, which is a harmonious, stage-by-stage system:

First stage: courses during 10 days at which the individual receives information about alcohol and tobacco, makes notes in a diary with an analysis of his/her past during liquor abuse, compares with the present state without drinking, independently assesses his/her condition, and programs life without drinking and smoking;

Second stage: independent consolidation of positive convictions formed at the first stage; and

Third stage: creation of a sobriety zone in the family, in the circle of friends, and among representatives of ones own people.

While this program is being implemented among the population of Chukotka, the core idea of renaissance is taking shape.  If there is the idea, then in the future the peoples will have the conscious objective to work for the good of ones own family, ones own clan, and ones own country.  And the following generation, which absorbs in school knowledge about the harm of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, destructively affecting the organism and sees the veritable tragedy of its people, will choose a totally different, sober life.

The Trust Voluntary Teetotaler Society is suggesting that this program should become a governors one, that is:

(1) Rent the Trust Voluntary Teetotaler Society office space for four years and

(2) Hire our instructors for four years with guaranteed pay.

Chukotka Governor Roman Arkadyevich Abramovich supports the program of the Trust Society, and in the future, hopefully, they will be working together.

Irina Rychim (Chukchi)

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Where does the name come from? Magadan

Do you know how and when the names of rivers, villages, and bays appeared on the map of Magadan Oblast?  For sure, you do not.  Many inhabitants of Russia know only the word Kolyma and, maybe, they have heard about the existence in the North of the city of Magadan, the capital of the Kolyma territory.  Where does the word Magadan come from?  Let us turn to history.

Magadan is a city on the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk, near Nagayeva Harbor, and the administrative center of Magadan Oblast.

The etymology of the word is explained variously, and many interpretations are simply fantasies with no grounds.  The most correct, in the opinion of Magadan inhabitants Boris Shcherbinin and Vladilen Leontyev, are the opinions of K.A. Novikova, U.G. Popova, and M.N. Amamich.

Magadan is an Even word: Monodan, Monadan, where mona means driftwood, windfallen branches and dan is a suffix, which in this case denotes dwelling made of driftwood.  Specifically, this name refers to the mouth of the Magadanka River, which flows into Gertnera Harbor with its low shores.  Driftwood alluvia are typical for apexes of shallow harbors of the Sea of Okhotsk.  Thus, the name given by the Even is reasonable.  Information by V.A. Tsaregradskiy, the first person who put the name Magadan on the map, also confirms this.

In August of 1928, V.A. Tsaregradskiy, chief of the First Kolyma Expedition and assistant of Yuriy A. Bilibin, and land surveyor D.N. Kazanli with guides and laborers, after an unsuccessful attempt to reach Nagayeva Harbor by sea, decided to go there on foot from the Ola.  They walked along Okhotskiy Bay.  In one place, they came across an unknown river flowing into Gertnera Harbor.  Several Even yurts stood there.  Much driftwood brought by the sea had filled the mouth of the river and the harbor.  The guide explained to the traveling companions that this place is called Mongo, or Mongodan in Even.  Thus, V.A. Tsaregradskiy put on his map the river with the name of Mongodan, which later transformed into Magadan.

In reality, the Even called place where the city now stands Dzyalbu.  In the beginning, it was planned to give that name to the city as well (U.G. Popov, The Magadan Oblast Even.  Manuscript, p. 175).

The Dzyalbu place, an isthmus between Nagayeva and Vesyolaya Harbors on Staritskogo Peninsula, in the old days was the place of gathering for exogamous clans of the Even, called dzyalbu.  In general, the word dzyalbu may be translated as brotherhood.  However, the name was dropped, and the city came to be known as Magadan.

In 1929, the first permanent settlement in this area appeared near Nagayeva Harbor: Eastern Even Nagayev Center.

As of 1931, the construction of an industrial community began, and in 1939 it officially became a city.


Sea of Okhotsk

In the summer of 1639, a group of Tomsk Cossacks led by Ivan Moskvitin going from Yakutsk reached with much difficulties the mouth of the Ulya and later, the mouth of Okhota.  Thus, the Russians saw for the first time the Sea of Okhotsk, or Lama, as the Tunguses (Evenk) called it, which means sea.  After the expedition of Ivan Moskvitin, this sea became known as the Lamut Sea.  Later, it was called the Kamchatka Sea and the Penzhina Sea, and only much later it acquired the name of the Sea of Okhotsk, from the Okhota River.  Still, why Okhotsk?

When the Russians asked the local Evens about the name of the river, they responded: Erek okat, which means this is a river.  Apparently, the Even themselves did not know the name of the river, which could be Koryak or Nivkh.  Thus, a common noun became a proper name and sounded in Russian adaptation as Okhota, Okhotsk, and the Sea of Okhotsk.

Lidiya Pynko (Even)
Based on an article by B. Shcherbinin and V. Leontyev in the

Region weekly newspaper

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Fundamental Values of the Samoyedic Group: the Selkup

The value problems have been of special interest to domestic researchers lately.  Values in the ethnic phenomenon attract special attention.  Their study is mainly of ethno-sociological and ethno-psychological nature.  The value approach has not been used with respect to the cultures of the peoples of the North.  However, significant observations have been made in the ethnography of intercourse, symbolic elements of clothing, and signs of ritual conduct.  This article reviews the practical side of the work on the topic Ethnic peculiarity of embodiment of fundamental values of Samoyedic peoples using the example of one of them: the Selkup.

We consider fundamental, generally recognized values such as truth, good, and beauty.  They give the most exact idea about the innermost, internal essence and genuine stance on the purpose of life of a people.  The application of the value approach to the study of the culture of Samoyedic peoples enables us to understand the internal mechanism of the culture and see how the values common to all mankind become apparent on a regional level.  In the course of work on this topic, we considered logical and linguistic forms of expression of the values truth, good, and beauty in the Selkup* language.  The main survey has been conducted among Selkup students of the St. Petersburg A.I. Herzen Pedagogical University.  The students represent Pur District, Tyumen Oblast, Selkup (Taz dialect).  Consultative materials of N.P. Izhenbina (Ivankino Village, Tomsk Oblast) have been used in the work.  Survey results are sufficient to make conclusions about the forms of expression of the above values in the Selkup language (Taz dialect).

The closest term to the category of truth or true in Selkup is the word "θŋ," which literally translated means correct, right: what is right is true.  By looking at the expression " θŋ ķ" (a person who lives right), we can see the ethical sense of the ideas about traditional moral norms.  Many survey respondents commented that this expression " θŋ ķ" means a person who abides by the norms and rules of behavior and laws traditionally accepted in Selkup society.  Such a person is just, honest, and does not break prescribed laws.  This expression may be interpreted as real person or right person, i. e. a true one.  The same word describes the right road chosen by a person: " θ ķŋ" literally, right side or found the right road.  The broad sense of this expression, apart from the everyday one, has philosophical sense.  Cognizing this world, man finds in his search the road that is true for him.  The man has found the right road θ ķŋ" means that he follows the behavioral patterns that are a mandatory condition of this groups social life.

With respect to everyday material objects, the word "θŋ" is applied only to those that are considered standard and have perfect forms: the chum [tepee], the dog or reindeer sled, clothes (panitsa, womens outer clothing and malitsa, mens outer clothing).  In the course of ethnogeny, they have indeed acquired ideal forms, which are not developed any further.  For example, θŋ ķ a sled made correctly (home θ; tepee ķ-θ literally, simple tepee; panitsa, malitsa , etc.  Only a correctly made panitsa, home, or sled may be distinguished by this expression as a superior form of approval and confirmation of correctness of the work done.

We have determined the value sense of the word "θŋ."  The notion of truth has these two senses: a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true (corresponding to the Russian ) and sincerity in action, character, and utterance (Russian ).  In the Selkup language, the respondents chose the word "ķ," literally, directly, straightforwardly, as corresponding to the second sense.  It is used in expressions that refer to honest statements: " ã ķ " I will be straightforward with you, i. e. I will tell you the truth.  A close synonym is "θŋÿ" indeed, really.  It is used to confirm something said or done.  For example, " θŋÿ () ķ ķ"  he has really gone there and returned.

Good, kindness in Selkup is expressed by one word "" (Taz dialect).  Its use in numerous combinations depending on the context transforms the meaning of expressions and acquires various senses.  While "θŋ" has more precisely defined boundaries, "," so to say, is applied in everyday speech to both people, animals, and all amenities and weather peculiarities. " ķ" good, kind person.  " ķ" literally translated means a person with good intestines.  This same expression was used to respond to the question: How do you say beautiful person in Selkup?  It denotes all positive human qualities and deeds.  A person doing good is a beautiful person.  As Varvara Alekseyevna Kunina (Tolka Village, Pur District, Tyumen Oblast), student of the A.I. Herzen University, explained, a person in his/her life observes the rule: do good to people, and then after death you will go to live a different, better life.  The belief in soul reincarnation thus motivates good deeds through ones self to people.  Of all the named qualities, especially stressed is mutual help.  Natalya Platonovna Izhenbina (Selkup language teacher, Ivankino Village, Kolpashevo District, Tomsk Oblast) responded: A good person will never pass by a person who is in trouble and will try to help, at least with a kind word.  In severe conditions of the North, a person will be hard put to do things on ones own, and the quality of being ready to help is valued more than any other and has been one of the main ones.  This quality used to be learned at ones mothers knees and perceived as due.

Kind, good Selkup includes not only moral qualities but also the mans abilities, skills, craftsmanship, which at times depend on luck.  Almost all the respondents stressed the latter statement as mandatory.  As for the abilities that a good hunter must possess, the respondents differed: knowledge of the territory, nature of the forest, orientation ability, i. e., what is needed by a Selkup (forest man).

The word "" is used to describe weather conditions: " " good day this word combination denotes not only the time when it is light but also any other time (morning, noon, evening, or night).  Good day means windless, sunny weather.  As for specific natural phenomena, such as rainbow, aurora borealis, blizzard, etc., they have their own names and connotations.

The next category recognized as a fundamental value of the entire humankind is beauty.  In the Selkup language, it is represented by the word "ķ."  Beautiful woman " ķ ," literally translated, woman has beauty, i. e. external signs.  To the question what a beautiful woman means, N.P. Izhenbina (see above) responded that it is a young lady, as youth is in itself beautiful.  Older women used to cover their faces with a shawl as a rule.  A man had to abstain from boasting how beautiful his wife was, as that could bring misfortune.  It was only possible to speak about the qualities of a woman as a housewife.  Her ability to sow has always stood first in naming the merits of a girl or woman.  The word "ķ" is not applicable to men.  If one wants to note a mans manly features, the speaker says "  ķ," i. e. the man (husband, person) has a good face. Or the speaker will stress his handsomeness or height.

The same word is used when the speakers want to attract special attention to the quality of tailored clothes.  " ķ ķ," translated from Selkup, means panitsa looking good.  As for natural phenomena and the environment, this word is not used with respect to them.  There are specific adjectives stressing the beauty of nature.

No antonyms of the words beautiful, beauty have been discovered in the Selkup language.  However, that does not mean that they do not exist; an additional study is needed.  Still, there was registered an expression that describes a change in facial expression.  " ķ ķŋ " literally translated means face his bad became quickly.

Unquestionably, this research is not exhaustive.  Still, it gives an idea about the general principles of values common to all mankind by which the Selkup guide themselves.  In the Selkup culture we see how closely interrelated are all three concepts: truth, good, and beauty.  They have developed into concrete forms of self-consciousness and self-substantiation of a people that are an expression of properly human adaptation to the world around.

Liliya Taybarey (Nenets)

* The Selkup are a people living in West Siberia: along the Ob and its tributaries the Tym, Ket, and Vasyugan and along the Pur, Taz, and Turukhan Rivers.  Two groups of the Selkup are distinguished: the Northern and the Southern Selkup, who speak three dialects: the Southern Selkup speak the Tym and the Ket dialects, and the Northern Selkup speak the Taz dialect.  The language belongs to the Samoyedic group, and the material culture is close to that of the Ob Ugric peoples (the Khanty and the Mansi).

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Hunting and Fishing Are My Way of Life 
(Notes of a Taiga Hunter)

The village of Bakhta stands where two rivers the Bakhta and the Yenisey meet in Turukhansk District, Krasnoyarsk Territory.  A portion of the Ket indigenous people lives here.  From time immemorial, they have been practicing traditional occupations: hunting and fishing.  My father also was a hunter, and I treaded in his footsteps.

I have been practicing hunting and fishing since 1991.  The hunted animals are, for example, such as brown bear, elk, wolverine, red fox, sable, squirrel, mink, otter, and muskrat; forest game: wood grouse (male and female), black grouse (male and female), hazel grouse, and partridge; and waterfowl:  goose and duck in the spring and fall seasons.

My hunting grounds are on the territory of the Turukhanskiy Reserve and have five log cabins.  The base cabin, named Raskolina, is located at the place where two streams the Bolshaya Varlamovka and the Malaya Varlamovka meet.  Three cabins are upstream on the Bolshaya Varlamovka.  Their names are Sapogovskaya, Ostrov, and Dalnyaya.  The fifth cabin, Vaskina, is on the ridge; it is a staging post.  Usually, I drive there, leave my Buran snowmobile, and walk on to other cabins.  The hunting season lasts from October 15 until January 15.  Sometimes, I go to the hunting grounds by boat on the Bolshaya Varlamovka, when the water level is high after rains.  But mainly I use the snowmobile when the first abundant snow falls.  I carry a full sledge, and the dogs run by my side or ahead of me, sometimes running down squirrels or a sable.

I always shoot birds as I go.  But I do not shoot fur animals as the skins of some may be unfit for sale.  I begin hunting fur animals on October 20 or 21.  The first days after the arrival, I do repair work on the cabin, caulk, and patch up.  I may have a bath day or go ice fishing for grayling, lenok salmon (Brachymystax lenok), pike, salmon trout, and whitefish.

I practically never use nets to fish during hunting seasons, as there simply is no time for that.  It is much more interesting to use spoon bait while the ice is thin.  I make a hole with an ax or an ice pick and lower usual small spoon bait under the ice.  The Varlamovka is a shallow, rocky, rapid, winding stream good for fishing.  Usually, you look into the hole and see how a grayling or lenok salmon rushes up and avidly snatches the meat on the hook.  When you feel that the fish is on the hook, you take it out with pleasure and throw far from the hole.  Immediately, you think about a savory fish soup or fried fish for lunch.  The dogs will also have enough.  Sometimes, fishing turns out unsuccessful.  You stand there, and there is no bite, or you catch only one or two little fishes, and you think: why did I go fishing?  I had better gone to shoot wood grouses or hazel grouses for meals and bait for traps to catch sables, squirrels, and minks.

In the morning, after I wake up and have a solid breakfast, I go out to hunt with dogs.  I am just as happy to go hunting as they are, because hunting is my element.  The dogs, as usual, run away, happy to be in their element: the taiga.  They find pleasure in finding prey, and they do it quickly, bark at it, and are anxiously waiting for me to come.  On hearing them bark, I accelerate my pace and, stumbling and sometimes falling in soft snow, hurry toward them.  When I see a sable or a squirrel on the tree, I choose a place convenient for shooting to hit the little animal in the head and keep the skin intact.  The dog, as usual, waits after the shot for the animal to fall from the tree, snatches it, and squeezes without biting through the skin.  I will say dont to the dog, and it will immediately relinquish the prey, but most often it lets the prey off of its own accord and only licks the blood.  I take the sable, put it in my backpack, and go on.  On hearing barks close by, I again hurry toward my dogs.  Approaching slowly, I look to see in what direction the dogs are barking: up a tree or along the ground, and on seeing that it is a bird, I begin to move closer cautiously.  If it is a bird on a tree, I move only when the dogs are barking, because snow and frozen moss crunch loudly.  You see a haughty black wood grouse perch on a tree and think, I shouldnt miss.  I try to shoot to kill on the spot, but sometimes it so happens that a wounded bird darts off from the tree, flies some distance and falls down.  The dogs rush after it with lightning speed, find it in the snow, press it down, and wait until I pick it up.

Sometimes I hear the dogs bark ferociously and realize at once that it is either an elk or a bear.  I approach cautiously and see an elk outline among the trees I feel relieved that it is not the master of taiga: bear.  I move closer and try to hit under the shoulder blade.  It sometimes happens that the elk does not fall to the ground immediately after my shot.  That means that it is only wounded, and I have to finish it off with a second shot, which almost always kills it on the spot.  I approach to the carcass with joy and say to myself, What a good and happy day is today.  I dress the carcass and store the meat.  I feel secure for my family and myself there will be enough meat for a long time.

When they sniff and see a bear in the taiga, the dogs try to stop it with their ferocious bark.  Usually, one dog is in front and the other is behind the bear, snatching at its hind paw or skin but at the same time knowing that it needs to jump away from the infuriated bear, or else the bear will count its own coup on the dog.  I try to pass by the bear and go on.  It has its own road, and I have my own road to tread.  In a while, the dogs will leave it alone and will catch up with me, breathing hard and still excited.  After having enough of walking in the taiga, I come to a cabin, and the first thing I do is light the fire in the stove.  When the cabin warms up, I take off outer clothing and reheat my and the dogs meals.

After having eaten much, I go to feed the dogs and praise them highly.  They like my kindness very much, and I give it to them, for I cant do without them.  Then, I take care of the skins, skin the sables, and stretch them on frames.  I also skin the squirrels and hang the skins on a rope to dry.  Each good one I spread out carefully.

After that and after having late tea, I go to bed with the thought that tomorrow will be another successful hunting day for me.  And I hope that the abundance of the animal world will not disappear in the future and will not lead to the disappearance of hunting and fishing.  Otherwise, how will our people live in the future without all this?  It might also disappear from the face of the earth, because this is our life and our main way of life on this earth.

Sergey Baglich (Ket)

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Lower Kolyma College


The spring is here.  Students at the Lower Kolyma Indigenous Peoples College (Lower Kolyma Ulus [district], Republic of Sakha) are preparing for exams.  Periodically, the colleges accustomed life goes through notable changes.  We are offering you an interview with Antonina Afanasyevna Vinokurova, head of the chair of pedagogy and methodology of elementary education.

Q.: I hear some changes have lately occurred at your chair in the term of student training.  Could you describe the situation?

A.: To begin, our college has switched to medium professional education (previously it was elementary professional) and is now moving to a new level of medium professional education.  The college itself is considered a higher institution than a pedagogical school or a specialized trade school and is supposed to prepare students for universities.

Q.: Does that mean that the college is a link between secondary school and university?

A.: Rather, it would be more correct to say that the step following the college is the third year of a university.

Q.: Any university?

A.: In principle, yes.  But the students have more chances to enter those universities with which the college has contracts.  We have an agreement, for example, with the St. Petersburg Herzen State Pedagogical University.  Also, there is an opportunity for our students to go to the Yakutsk State University.

Q.: And the competition?

A.: The competition is held within the college, and as a result we select the best students to go to a university (according to our agreement, we should be sending to St. Petersburg no more than two or three students).  But that is not the most important thing.  I have before me a document arrived from the Department for Elementary and Secondary Education of the Republic of Sakha, namely: the curriculum of the college for the next school year.  This coming fall, we will be enrolling students who will be trained by the chair of pedagogy and methodology of elementary education, not for a year and 10 months, but for two years and 10 months, or three school years.  The two-year training at the chair was introduced two years ago (before that, it had been a tree-year one), and this year the first two-year students will receive certificates of elementary school teachers and organizer teachers.  Next year, the second group of two-year students will graduate.

Q.: Does the extension of the term of training mean an increase in the number of the subjects taught?

A.: Apart form the general subjects, the curriculum includes such ethnically and regionally specific subjects as ethnic culture, history of indigenous peoples, etc.  Additional subjects are also included in the curriculum: pedagogical culture, ethnopedagogy, creative team organization methodology, etc.  These subjects are an important addition to the standard curriculum.  We will add such subjects as the world artistic culture, pedagogical psychology, and correctional and specialized pedagogy.

Q.: Holy cow!

A.: We keep up with the times.  And, of course, there is the study of ethnic languages: the Even, Evenk, Chukchi, and Yukaghir languages are taught at the college.  The Yakut language is studied mandatorily, as it is the second state language of the republic.  The five languages are taught because we train teachers for rural schools in Yakutia as well.  The Vilyuysk Pedagogical School also trains teachers of the same level.  By the way, the Chukchi language is taught only at the Indigenous Peoples College and at the Herzen State University in St. Petersburg.

Q.: What do you think has been the reason for changing the term of training and introducing a curriculum of a higher level?

A.: The Lower Kolyma Indigenous Peoples College is unique in Russia.  It plays a significant role in the training of teachers for ethnic schools in the republic, and in the future, if the situation is favorable, for the Chukchi Autonomous District and Magadan Oblast.  The colleges potential is enormous, and it should be used to the fullest.

Interviewed by Valentin Chaburkin
From the Kolymskaya Pravda newspaper

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