|BULLETIN # 39|
XVII group of interns
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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||
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
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.
performers represented the republic’s 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.
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 republic’s 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
of the Culture of the Republic of Altai will also be held in May in the city
of Novosibirsk, and in July, in the republic’s 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.
Century: Indigenous Peoples |
and the Media
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
L’auravetl’an Indigenous Information Center.
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
the roundtable was held in the Decade of the World’s 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.
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 L’auravetl’an
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
|Revival of the Kumandin People||
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
I had not realized how deplorable the situation of our people was until I
found myself at the L’auravetl’an Information Center and met with and
talked to members of other peoples. I
sort of took an outsider’s 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 one’s 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.
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.
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:
|Find Points of Force Application||
want to devote my article to the youth topic, an eternal topic always
requiring public attention.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 one’s 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?
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.
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?
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
district’s 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.
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 district’s 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
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,
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 district’s 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.
topic is the subject of all sorts of discussions at the level of government
agencies and of various points of view in the media.
topic is a consequence of numerous social and economic processes operated in
the district over the past few years.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 one’s 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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].
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.
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.
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.
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
prosecutor’s order (tents are our homes).
also want to ask: who will finally pay us for our work at the state farm?
Will the state repay its debts to us?
we are debtors, the debts are shaken out of us even though we see no money.
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(…)”
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.
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 children’s allowances.
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.
address the situation, we are suggesting the following:
the question of early movement of families from slums, first of all those
socially unprotected (families with many children, the unemployed, etc.);
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);
information from the district’s villages on the need for housing, on the
number of dismissed workers at enterprises and institutions;
a procedure of privileged provision of housing to indigenes, submitting this
matter for consideration by the District Duma.”
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
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.
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)
|The Trust Voluntary Teetotaler Society||
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 organization’s 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
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.
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.
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 Chukotka’s native peoples; and
request Chukotka’s 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.
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.
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 society’s operation, the Okrug Administration
allocated funds in the amount of 110,000 rubles [about $5,000] (governor’s
order # 107-rg of 05.28.98).
TWO is training of instructors for work in the districts of the Okrug and
creation of prevention centers in population centers.
The center’s 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 Chukotka’s elementary and high schools.
THREE is creation of sobriety clubs in ethnic villages.
its work, the Society uses the sobering method of a St. Petersburg
researcher, Gennadiy Andreyevich Shichko, which is a harmonious,
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;
stage: independent consolidation of positive
convictions formed at the first stage; and
stage: creation of a sobriety zone in the
family, in the circle of friends, and among representatives of one’s own
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 one’s own family, one’s own clan, and
one’s 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
Trust Voluntary Teetotaler Society is suggesting that this program should
become a governor’s one, that is:
Rent the Trust Voluntary Teetotaler Society office space for four years and
Hire our instructors for four years with guaranteed pay.
Governor Roman Arkadyevich Abramovich supports the program of the Trust
Society, and in the future, hopefully, they will be working together.
Irina Rychim (Chukchi)
|Where does the name come from?||
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.
is a city on the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk, near Nagayeva Harbor, and the
administrative center of Magadan Oblast.
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.
is an Even word: “Mon’odan,”
“Mon’adan,” where “mon’a” 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.
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.
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).
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
1929, the first permanent settlement in this area appeared near Nagayeva
Harbor: Eastern Even Nagayev Center.
of 1931, the construction of an industrial community began, and in 1939 it
officially became a city.
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?
the Russians asked the local Evens about the name of the river, they
responded: “Erek ok’at,” 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.
|Fundamental Values of the Samoyedic Group: the Selkup||
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.
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
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).
closest term to the category of “truth” or “true” in Selkup is the
which literally translated means “correct, right”: what is right is true.
By looking at the expression "Íà
òθòûŋ èëûòûé ķóì"
(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 – "Íà
òθòûŋ èëûòûé ķóì" – 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: "Ìàí
– 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 "ķóì òθòûê
means that he follows the behavioral patterns that
are a mandatory condition of this group’s social life.
respect to everyday material objects, the word "òθòûŋ"
is applied only to those that are considered standard and have perfect forms:
the chum [tepee], the dog or reindeer sled, clothes (panitsa,
women’s outer clothing and malitsa,
men’s outer clothing). In the
course of ethnogeny, they have indeed acquired ideal forms, which are not
developed any further. For
example, òθòûŋ ìýìïûé ķàãëû
– “a sled made correctly” (home – ìθí;
tepee – îëķà-ìθí
– literally, “simple tepee”; panitsa, malitsa – ìàë÷à,
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.
have determined the value sense of the word "òθòûŋ."
The notion of “truth” has these two senses: “a judgment,
proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true” (corresponding to
the Russian èñòèíà)
and “sincerity in action, character, and utterance” (Russian ïðàâäà).
In the Selkup language, the respondents chose the word "íóðķûê,"
literally, directly, straightforwardly, as corresponding to the second sense.
It is used in expressions that refer to honest statements: "Ìàí òãíòû íóðķûê
êýòàíòàì" – “I will be
straightforward with you,” i. e. I will tell you the truth.
A close synonym is "θŋûùÿí÷û"
– “indeed, really.” It
is used to confirm something said or done.
For example, "Òýì
à ķàé ķîíûííà"
has really gone there and returned.”
kindness” in Selkup is expressed by one word "ñîìà" (Taz
dialect). Its use in numerous
combinations depending on the context transforms the meaning of expressions
and acquires various senses. While
has more precisely defined boundaries, "ñîìà," so to say, is
applied in everyday speech to both people, animals, and all amenities and
weather peculiarities. "Ñîìà ķóì"
“good, kind person.” "Ñîìà
– 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
one’s 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 one’s
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 one’s mother’s knees and perceived as due.
good Selkup” includes not only moral qualities but also the man’s
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”).
word "ñîìà" is used to describe weather conditions: "Ñîìà
÷åëû" – “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.
next category recognized as a fundamental value of the entire humankind is
“beauty.” In the Selkup
language, it is represented by the word "ķóðàñ."
Beautiful woman – "Ñîìà ķóðàñûìûé
èìà," 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 "ķóðàñ"
is not applicable to men. If one wants to note a man’s manly features, the speaker
says "ñîìà âýíòûñûìûé ķóì,"
i. e. the man (husband, person) has a good face.” Or the speaker will
stress his handsomeness or height.
same word is used when the speakers want to attract special attention to the
quality of tailored clothes. "Ñîìà
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.
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. "Âýíòûòû ķîøòûé ķóðàñûŋ
ýññààÿ" – literally translated
means “face his bad became quickly.”
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.
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
and Fishing Are My Way of Life |
(Notes of a Taiga Hunter)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 “don’t” 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 shouldn’t
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.
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
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.
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
can’t 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.
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.
Lower Kolyma College
spring is here. Students at the
Lower Kolyma Indigenous Peoples’ College (Lower Kolyma Ulus [district],
Republic of Sakha) are preparing for exams.
Periodically, the college’s 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.
I hear some changes have lately occurred at your chair in the term of
student training. Could you
describe the situation?
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
Does that mean that the college is a link between secondary school and
Rather, it would be more correct to say that the step following the college
is the third year of a university.
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.
And the competition?
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.
Does the extension of the term of training mean an increase in the number of
the subjects taught?
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.
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.
What do you think has been the reason for changing the term of training and
introducing a curriculum of a higher level?
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 college’s potential is enormous, and it should be used to the
by Valentin Chaburkin