Научная статья на тему 'Preservation and transformation of certain aspects of the traditional way of life of the indigenous and small-numbered peoples of the North, living in the settlements (posyolki) of Turukhansk and Farkovo'

Preservation and transformation of certain aspects of the traditional way of life of the indigenous and small-numbered peoples of the North, living in the settlements (posyolki) of Turukhansk and Farkovo Текст научной статьи по специальности «Философия, этика, религиоведение»

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Аннотация научной статьи по философии, этике, религиоведению, автор научной работы — Reznikova Kseniya V.

In July, 2010 the field research was conducted on the territory of Turukhansk district of Krasnoyarsk Krai by the postgraduate and undergraduate students of Siberian Federal University within the framework of realization of the project “Krasnoyarsk Krai as multicultural space, native land of the indigenous and small-numbered peoples of the North” and “Culture of the indigenous and small-numbered peoples of the North under conditions of global transformations”. The aim of the field research was to collect the material on the traditional culture of the indigenous small numbered peoples, living in settlements Turukhansk and Farkovo, in particular – the Selkups, the Kets and the Evenks. The tasks of the research included studying the peculiarities of modern conditions of housekeeping, material and spiritual culture, customs and ceremonies. The following methods were used: interrogations, observations, interviews, photographic fixation of material things, architecture, and photographs from family archives.

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Текст научной работы на тему «Preservation and transformation of certain aspects of the traditional way of life of the indigenous and small-numbered peoples of the North, living in the settlements (posyolki) of Turukhansk and Farkovo»

Journal of Siberian Federal University. Humanities & Social Sciences 6 (2013 6) 925-939

УДК 392 (571.512)

Preservation and Transformation of Certain Aspects of the Traditional Way of Life of the Indigenous and Small-Numbered Peoples of the North, Living in the Settlements (Posyolki) of Turukhansk and Farkovo

Kseniya V. Reznikova*

Siberian Federal University 79 Svobodny, Krasnoyarsk, 660041 Russia

Received 18.11.2012, received in revised form 16.12.2012, accepted 18.02.2013

In July, 2010 the field research was conducted on the territory of Turukhansk district of Krasnoyarsk Krai by the postgraduate and undergraduate students of Siberian Federal University within the framework of realization of the project "Krasnoyarsk Krai as multicultural space, native land of the indigenous and small-numbered peoples of the North" and "Culture of the indigenous and small-numbered peoples of the North under conditions of global transformations". The aim of the field research was to collect the material on the traditional culture of the indigenous small numbered peoples, living in settlements Turukhansk and Farkovo, in particular - the Selkups, the Kets and the Evenks. The tasks of the research included studying the peculiarities of modern conditions of housekeeping, material and spiritual culture, customs and ceremonies. The following methods were used: interrogations, observations, interviews, photographic fixation of material things, architecture, and photographs from family archives.

Keywords: Turukhansky region, Indigenous peoples of the North, Evenks, Selkups, Kets, global transformations.

The work was fulfilled within the framework of the research financed by the Krasnoyarsk Regional Foundation of Research and Technology Development Support and in accordance with the course schedule of Siberian Federal University as assigned by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.

In the process of research two facts attracted the researchers' attention. Firstly, different aspects of traditional way of life of the ISPN have different degrees of resistance to transformations. For example, traditional cuisine is preserved best of all, at the same time traditional clothes are practically not used in everyday life. Secondly,

© Siberian Federal University. All rights reserved

* Corresponding author E-mail address: axu-ta@mail.ru

living in comparatively better conditions, most of the inhabitants of Turukhansk are ready to leave for another place of residence with more comfortable conditions of life. The inhabitants of Farkovo, on the contrary, do not want to leave their traditional place of living. In this connection, the present article consists of the two main parts:

the first part is the study of the components of the way of life of the indigenous and small-numbered peoples, estimation of susceptibility to change; the second part is a brief comparison of conditions of life in in settlements Turukhansk and Farkovo, on the basis of which an attempt is made to explain the reasons for the attitudes, dominating among the inhabitants of the settlements: why the inhabitants of Turukhansk are ready to leave their place of residence, while the residents of Farkovo do not want to leave their settlement.

The degree of susceptibility to change of separate components of the traditional way of life

of the indigenous and small-numbered

peoples of the North, living in settlements Turukhansk and Farkovo

Studying separate components of traditional way of life of peoples, on the basis of research conducted in Khanty-Mansiysk region, A.P. Zen'ko comes to a conclusion that language and culture are lost most of all, while traditional occupations, such as fishing, hunting etc. are very popular. V.P. Krivonogov noted in his works that national cuisine is the best preserved layer of indigenous culture. The research conducted in summer 2010 confirmed this fact. While few of the questioned representatives of the ISPN expressed their interest to national folklore, traditions and clothes, almost all of them could name one or more dishes of traditional cuisine, most of the informants shared recipes.

National cuisine

Among the most often cooked dishes of the Kets the following were named: fish on stick, fish soup, slices of frozen fish or meat, fish pie ("isanyan'": "is'"-fish, "njan'" bread), "ug" (meat broth) and "sugudaj". The most popular, though, are fish dishes, especially after reindeer-breeding ceased to be one of the most important trades of

the Kets. That is why the Kets speak more about fish dishes than about meat dishes. Among the most wide-spread national dishes the Selkups name Sulkup bread, sun-cured Pacific salmon (jukola), horn and original sweets. The Selkup bread was made in hot sand, which was dug up, a round cake was put into the sand and then covered by sand. Originally, the dough was made of flour and water, sometimes salt was added, because it was difficult to get. In spring pike or ide caviar was added to the dough to make it more nourishing. When the stores of flour ran out, the Selkups took minced fish, which was always at hand, floured an even surface, put a flat cake from minced fish on it and left it for some time till the minced fish absorbed the flour, then turned the cake upside down and repeated the procedure. After that the cake was also roasted in hot sand, so they got fish-flour bread. When a lot of imported products appeared in the shops, the ingredients for the dough for the Selkup bread changed, so, nowadays, besides water and flour, salt and soda are the obligatory components of the bread.

Among fish dishes horn and jukola are still the most popular popular among the Selkups, it is also customary to roast fish on stick. Jukola is dried fish. Originally it was prepared without salt, because there was a shortage of salt. Nowadays, when the Selkups dry jukola, they use salt. Jukola was eaten on its own and was also used as an ingredient for other products. Well-dried jukola was ground into flour, which was mixed with jam or powdered sugar to make sweets. When there was a deficit of sugar, to preserve berries, picked in the forest, such as cloudberry, blueberry, blackberry, the Selkups put them into vessels and covered them with animal fat, most often with reindeer fat, thus, conserving the berries. Being conserved in this way the berries preserved their original freshness, but some Selkups complained that it was impossible to remove all the fat and it was unpleasant to eat berries with frozen fat.

According to the questioned Selkups, their previous name was "ostjaki-samoedy", in fact, it should have sounded as "syroedy", because they ate products which were not cooked, for example jukola, sliced frozen fish or meat, berries conserved in oil.

In general, a good degree of preservation of ethnic cuisine can be observed, manifesting itself in 100% knowledge by adult population of traditional recipes and ways of cooking of traditional dishes. But it should be noted that traditional cuisine underwent some changes, such as changes in recipes, for example, Selkup bread has now salt and soda, which simplify the process of cooking and improve the taste, salt is also added in the process of preparing jukola.


Folk medicine is preserved somewhat worse than national cuisine, but it still is used. Nowadays, mostly herbal treatment is used: people gather medicinal herbs and either make herbal potion (nastoyka) or brew them. The Kets say that if you have a cold you need to brew marsh cinquefoil and drink it with tea; stomach deceases are cured by brewed tansy. To cure a furuncle the Kets took brimstone or soft resin from a tree, put it in the boil and covered with a birch tree leaf. A potion from nettle and plantain is used to cure a headache, dandelion juice - to cure mosquito bites, birch tree shelf fungus -for strengthening of health and as diuretic etc.

Both the Kets and the Selkups used components of animal-origin as medicine. So, according to the Kets, if you have a stomach ache, you need to take a stomach of a wood-grouse, take away the film, dry it, then brew and drink. The Selkups used bile, in particular, bear bile, as medicine. One of the strongest and most effective medicines of vegetable origin is maromchanka (aconite). According to a representative of the ISPN, it helped to cure all diseases, the main

thing was to know the dosage, because it is very poisonous. This plant was used as a powerful drug, shamans also used it.

The preservation of folk medicine can be explained by the fact that public health care is not developed very well because of transport inaccessibility. So, the local population has to use traditional medicines, but if there is possibility to avoid the most doubtful and dangerous (for example, maromchanka, the dosage of which is extremely difficult to calculate) of traditional medicines, they are replaced by manufactured medicines. The trust of local people to traditional medicines is based on their attitude to nature, which is expressed by a formula: "If you are honest with nature, it is honest with you too", that is why vegetable and animal medicines, but not manufactured ones, are most trusted.

Traditional occupations

The traditional occupations of the ISPN, living in Turukhansk and Farkovo, in particular of the Selkups, the Kets and the Evenks, are hunting, fishing and reindeer breeding. While the first two are well developed nowadays, reindeer breeding ceased to exist in the named settlements several decades ago - in the 1960-1970s when the last reindeer were killed. The Kets said that they mainly hunt fur-bearing animals and sell their skins in Turukhansk, but the prices, that second hand dealers offer, are so low, that they have to live from hand to mouth. They "do not live, they survive". Besides fur-bearing animals the Kets hunt geese, ducks and other wildfowl.

The Selkups living in Farkovo told a lot more about hunting than those living in Turukhansk, which is connected with the fact that in Farkovo there are no work places (jobs), that is why many Selkups hunt and fish, spending nine months a year in the forest and on the lakes. According to their own words, their life-style differs cardinally depending on the season and type of occupation.

So, from autumn to spring, hunters practically do not leave the forest, living in winter huts and setting up tents during long passages. While hunting the hunters do not drink alcohol at all and say that they have cosy, clean forest habitations, whereas their dwellings in settlement leave much to be desired (in some houses people even do not take off their shoes). When they live in the forest, hunters have a strict schedule, they get up at 6 a.m. and return home from hunting at 1-3 a.m.; during this time they "drive sables" and have to cover up to 25 km a day by snow. Returning from the forest to settlement at the beginning of summer, hunters sell skins (they say, usually 2070 skins).

Hunting as the traditional occupation has changed in the course of time. For example, before fire-arms, spears and bows with arrows were used. The Soviet authorities gave hunters free cartridges, but their cost was taken from hunters' wages, which they received in kolkhozy and sovkhozy, where they were on the staff. Serious problems started with the beginning of perestroika, nowadays, too, hunters have to be economical with cartridges. A story was told when a hunter who had missed twice was told by his workmate that he missed his dinner. Although it was just a joke, the idea of thrifty attitude to ammunition is evident.

In contrast to hunting, both the Selkups and the Kets told about fishing. It turned out that while in Turukhansk practically no one of the informants is a professional fisherman, almost all them are amateur fishermen. The indigenous people use both muzzles, which they plait from osier-bed and nets for fishing. Some Kets told that in earlier times, when they still lived in chums (tents of skins), while adults were fishing, children gathered osier-bed for the fire on which the catch was cooked. Traditionally, men were the first to eat, they ate fish heads, then women and children ate. In the past, hunters and fishermen

used to make their tools by themselves. At the present time, most representatives of the ISPN, occupied with fishing, continues to make their own tools from the special netlike cloth, which they buy, but very few can make vetki -traditional boats. The Evenks still make hunting skis - narty.

So, it was found out that, firstly, reindeer breeding was completely destroyed back in the 1960s and was not revived as, for example, in Evenkiya; secondly, the traditional occupations are more wide-spread among the inhabitants of Farkovo, which is probably connected with the fact that the settlement is isolated due to its transport inaccessibility. In Farkovo, there are jobs only in energy sphere, in school and preschool education, in administration of the settlement, at the post office department and in trade. As only a small number of the local population is engaged in these spheres, the most part continues to exercise the traditional occupations, which provide them with money and food. It should be noted that traditional occupations have undergone some changes, which are most evident in the use of non-traditional tools. For example, fishermen use nets from artificial materials, hunters use fire-arms, tourist tents and sleeping bags, which replace traditional tents from skins (chums) and fur clothes.

Customs, ceremonies

Customs and ceremonies of the indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North are primarily connected with their traditional occupations: hunting and fishing. To start with, there are ceremonies which are connected with deliberate change of weather, which were therefore used by hunters and as well as fishermen. Both the Kets and the Selkups told that to have frosty weather you should throw some salt into the fire, or you can make a hare from snow and beat it with a twig.

Among the ceremonies, customs and signs, concerning hunting those connected with sacrifices for successful hunting and hunting bears are most often told. The Evenks said that if a hunter killed a bear, its flesh should be buried so that the bear would not come to people, would not disturb them. It is believed that if a bear killed at least two people, he is no longer afraid of man. Having killed a man, a bear buries him and waits for his meat to decompose.

Before the hunt, on coming to the forest, the Kets tried to gain the favour of the spirits: for this they threw food into the fire, poured vodka. Those who had a hut in the forest did not lock it, left firewood and food for other hunters to be able to get warm, have a rest and eat. The opinions of the Kets about bears differ: one representative of this ethnic group told that you must not kill bears at all, because they are masters of the taiga. Others say that bear's meat mustn't be sold. It is thought that souls of dead people live in bears. There is a way to know if a male or female soul lived in a bear: you should throw a bear's paw behind your back. If it falls with a palm down -it was a male soul, palm up - female. The Kets say that a bear without skin looks like a human being. On man's granddaughter died, he killed a bear when he hunted, took off its skin and saw that it had a hump, like his granddaughter, that means his granddaughter's soul lived in this bear. The Kets think that you must not take from nature more than you need for your living, which is why if they find hare on a drifting block of ice, they let them go for them to be able to breed.

The Selkups said that gain the favour of the spirits of the forest and the spirits of fire you can hide matches, cigarettes a food in the hollows of tree trunks, under trees, in the water. There is a belief connected with bear hunting: if you killed 39 bears, you should take care to avoid the 40th because it will kill you; you must not give away the paws of killed bears, you must keep them.

Fishermen had specific customs and ceremonies at the beginning of spring: when ice broke up on the river they, threw bread with salt to greet the source of their food (kormilitsa). According to fishermen's customs, if a guest came to the chum and went fishing with the host, he was given the fish that he had caught as a present. The food was prepared from the fish that the host had caught. The food was cooked on the fire made from osier-bed. A pot was put on the fire, small fish and wildfowl were put into it and boiled. The broth was poured into the river to thank it for giving fish, air - for game birds, fire - for the fire and land - for the right to live on it. After that a soup for eating was cooked.

In everyday life, not connected with hunting and fishing, some ceremonies are also preserved, for example, the Selkups still put a knife or an axe under the threshold if a lot of people died the previous year. It is done to keep the spirits out, for them not to disturb the household.

Making a conclusion about the degree of preservation of customs and traditions in everyday live, it can be noted that this layer of the traditional culture is rather well preserved: all adult population of the indigenous small-numbered peoples can tell about some customs, which they might not use themselves, for example, about hunting traditions which are observed by hunters; there are some customs which are preserved in everyday life of people who are not connected with traditional occupations too. Besides, it should be noted that the layer of the traditional culture which includes customs and traditions is least of all susceptible to change.

Religious views

According to their own words, the indigenous small-numbered peoples of Turukhansk and Farkovo profess Orthodox Christianity. A number of its peculiarities should be noted. First of all, people rarely go to

Orthodox services or make their communion, and they never fast, some people say that God is in the soul. Secondly, mostly middle-aged people are baptized, few people baptize their children -neither do children have the initiative, nor adults consider it necessary. Thirdly, Christianity is combined with some superstitions; a syncretism of the features of shamanism and Christianity can be observed.

Having an ancestor who was shaman is a reason for special pride for the representatives of the ISPN; they are sure to mention it in the conversation, telling that there are no genuine shamans left nowadays. Both the Kets and the Selkups say that genuine shamans can only be found far in the North, but nobody is sure about that because, as one Selkup woman explained, a person will never boast that he is a shaman and has the power. The indigenous small-numbered peoples claim that the people who call themselves shamans are liars. The opinions about the number of shamans before their disappearing in the 1960-1970s differ because those who had shamans in their family, whether a parent, an uncle, a grandfather or a great-grandmother, claim that he/ she was the last genuine shaman. A Selkup from Farkovo remarked that religion is by definition -shamanism, he believes in the spirits of the forest, but said that there are no shamans left nowadays. A Ket man said that shamanism is evil because spirits of dead people are summoned, which is terrible.

The Selkups from Turukhansk told that shamans lived separately, they did not let a stranger approach them, "you will wander, but you won't find", because a shaman sees and knows everything, he turns into an owl and sees everything. People's opinions about the question of how shamans appeared were different. Some Selkups say that the power was not given in a ceremony but was passed down ancestral channels to the second next generation; others say

that shaman's power was not passed. The shaman chose a person in whom he saw strength and gradually passed his knowledge, experience. To start with, an adept had to visit the lower world, for this he was given to drink maromchanka.

The longest-preserved remnants of shamanism are dolls (kukolki), which protected and fulfilled wishes. According to the stories of the indigenous small-numbered peoples, there were dolls in many families, some people call them now "dolls-idols" or "idols", they were passed down the generations on the maternal line, some specified that they were given to the youngest in the family. It is a big sin to leave such dolls when moving house. An Evenk woman told that there are idols in the sack which hang on the roof of her mother's house, she puts rags near the idols, they have been hanging there since the times when their ancestors lived in the house. According to another story, dolls which belonged to an elderly woman were buried by her grandchildren when she died. Dolls were made from different materials, for example, they could be rag-dolls with painted faces.

The Selkups tell that dolls are closely connected with offerings to the elements for success in hunting or in travelling. In the old times there were sacred clearings in the forest, where shamans brought the dolls, to which people attached their pleads for wellbeing. These places with idols are still preserved in the forests. It is forbidden to go there and moreover, to take things from these places. There are also sacred trees in the forests, where people tie up rags and leave other small objects. According to the Kets stories, there is a sacred tree on the Pakulikha River where people hang rings, ear-rings, rags. You must not take anything from this tree. A story was told about one woman who took a ring from it, her hand swelled before she reached the end of the river, as soon as she returned the ring the swelling disappeared.

So, the religious views of the population of settlements Turukhansk and Farkovo can be defined as a syncretism of Christianity and shamanism. The specific features of this syncretism are the following: Christianity is recognized as the official religion but adherence to it is formal; belonging to a shaman's family is a reason for pride; there are still survivals of shamanism in people's everyday live, though it is said that real shamans disappeared a long time ago. The phenomenon of religious syncretism was defined by A.G. Seleznev as a folk form of world religions, which appears on the border of two types of cultures "on the one hand, there is a traditional, agricultural, oral, collective culture, existing in the form of local complexes or dialects; on the other hand - a written, ideologized, ethically or super-ethnically oriented culture. This cultural phenomenon can be exemplified by the folk forms of world religions, which practically always exist within an integral religious ideology and, at the same time, as a syncretic complex of beliefs, cults and practices"1.

Attitude to death, funeral rites

It is said in Farkovo that few people die of old age. People die young; some burn in izbushka (a hut), some people drown. The ISPN's attitude to death differs from that of Russian people: on the North death is not considered global grief; it is rather a life stage. In our days the ISPN are buried according to Russian traditions on the cemeteries not far from the settlements (Farkovo) and inside the settlements (Turukhansk). There is a lot of unkempt vegetation on the cemeteries, graveyards look neglected, they are planned rather chaotically. It is explained by the fact that it is not customary with the Selkups and the Kets to look after the graves. People come to the cemeteries only during funerals. They do not come after that to clean and fix graves. The question why they do not do that even puzzles people a bit: why? They

are already dead. Some of the Selkups explained that the world of the dead and the world of living people are two different words - there is no need to connect them too often.

In the old times graves were arranged in a different way. Most respondents know how babies and shamans were buried: a big tree was found, a hollow space was made in it, where they sat a baby or a shaman and then covered them with bark. As the time went the tree grew and became higher. It is said that you can still find trees in the forest with bones at the top of it. Talking about graves of adult people the Selkups told about two types. Firstly, graves were made in the ground: the bark was torn off, the ground was dug (but not very deep), the bark was soaked in the substance from boiling fish or animals: the grave was covered with the bark and the dead person was covered with this bark too. It was some kind of a capsule. The dead people were buried with their things, including overcoats ("Why?" - "Because it is cold there".) On the grave narty were put, on which people put things. Secondly, adult people were buried in vetkakh (boats), which were bound to tops of trees. As time went, vetky decayed, the dead bodies were most probably eaten by birds and other animals. Both of these types of burying, as well as burying in the trunks of trees were made in special uninhabited places. They were called the Devil's lake, where according to some information, dead people are still buried. Another place is Dead peoples' cape, where dead people from nomad camps were brought. The fact that burial places were situated far from nomad camps also guaranteed that dead people were seldom disturbed. Besides graves outside the settlements, nowadays burial places are found inside the settlement Farkovo, notably, in the cellars of houses. Most often they are remnants of babies, but skulls and bones of grown up people were found too. It is considered that they should not be disturbed, shown, touched.

That is, speaking about attitude to death and funeral rites it can be noted that despite almost complete disappearance of the traditions which existed in old times (for example, burying in trees), the old attitude to death as an ordinary event still exists, which is expressed in the absence of great tragedy accompanying perception of death and neglect of the burial places.

Festivals, folklore

The representatives of the ISPN named three main festivals, which are celebrated in the North; different of these festivals are more important in different settlements. They are: The Day of the Reindeer Breeder, The Day of the River and the Day of the Fisherman. As reindeer farming ceased to exist in both Turukhansk and Farkovo, the Kets and the Selkups celebrate only the Day of the River and the Day of the Fisherman. According to the information from the questionnaires, the Day of the River falls on the time of break- up of ice and resembles the festival of Seeing off Winter in some cultures. At the Day of the River bread is thrown into the river for good catch; competition of self-written verses about the river is held. Children in traditional (or rather stylized as traditional) clothes perform traditional dances, which are most often stylized too, because few people remember national dances nowadays. During this festival a competition in jumping over narty is held. The day of the Fisherman is in July. On this day competitions in fishing are arranged: for the biggest catch, the biggest fish. Besides fishing competition, racing on vetki is also traditional for this festival.

As for the folklore, the Kets told that the main tellers of tales and legends were grandfathers and grandmothers, who spoke the Ket language fluently and did not understand Russian well. Among the genres of traditional folklore both the Kets and Selkups named improvised songs, where a singer was the author of the song he/she sang.

They sang about the things they saw: how the kettle was boiling on the stove or about the things that were going on behind the window or about changes in the weather. The local population said that there were some tales and legends, too, but they could not remember any of them.

Whilenowadaysthere aremigrationprocesses between Farkovo and Turukhansk, Farkovo, Turukhansk and Krasnoyarsk, one of the most important waves of migration, which influenced the life of the indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North of the Krasnoyarsk Krai, according to their own words, was the migration of the Sulkups to the North at the beginning of the 20th century. It was not a peaceful migration. Almost all representatives of the indigenous small-numbered peoples, who were questioned, told about a big battle which happened between the peoples more than a century ago. While the date and the place of the battle are the same in different stories, the participants, the victors and vanquished are different. The most part of the Selkups said that the reason for the war was that the Russians started to force out the Sulkups who lived in the South. The Selkups then moved to the North, reached Turukhansk district and started the battle, in the opinion if most Selkups, with the Evenks. That means that the local war was a war for the territory. By the way, not only the questioned Selkups agreed about that, but the Kets too. According to the Selkups, who said that the war was between the Selkups and the Evenks, the Selkups defeated the Evenks and the Evenks were forced out of their territories. One Selkup woman even said that, despite the war is dated by 1901-1902, there are still the remnants of this war: some parents, in her opinion, are against marriages between a Selkup and an Evenk.

But the respondents also gave other versions of those events. For example, one Selkup family said that the Selkups fought with the Kets, not with the Evenks: "We won, - said she - We drove

them to Kellog". In the family of the Kets it was said that the battle was between the Kets and the Evenks, with the Selkups helping the Kets. The Evenks were forced to the North, the way it was said was: "We drove the Evenks away. We didn't fight with the Selkups, the Selkups helped us". According to the words of the representatives of this family, there were some legends about the battle, but they could tell them, because, as they said, they did not remember them.

The situation with the festivals and folklore is ambiguous. On the one hand, folklore is disappearing irreversibly from everyday life, the adult population can only state the fact that tales and legends tellers were the people of older generation and the folklore is disappearing with them. Of course, there are collections of tales, where the works of the Selkups and the Kets are represented, but the ethnic peoples are not interested in them. So, there exists a situation of conservation, when the material, as far as possible, is written down and preserved, but it is not used. On the other hand, the situation with quasi-traditional festivals can be observed, when, in fact, there is modern content in the traditional shell.

The national language

In general, it can be said that the language loss is typical for all the three ISPN, which were contacted in Turukhansk and Farkovo. While parents of middle-aged respondents spoke their native language fluently, moreover, they used it at home and while hunting or fishing, the respondents themselves can be divided into three groups: some of them know only separate words (everyone knows the word "ul'"- vodka); others know the language, but practically do not use it, speaking Russian at home, with friends and at work; the third group is the people who are engaged in the traditional occupations - not only do they speak their native language fluently, they

also use it actively both during hunting or fishing and in the posyolok. The representatives of the ISPN say that it is customary to speak native languages in the forest and in the village; they say "it just comes to the tongue". Some part of the younger generation knows the words of the native language and its grammar, because it is taught at school, but school teaching does not succeed in reviving the language use among the children and teenagers. They practically do not use it (except those who are actively involved into the traditional occupations together with their parents). Besides, the Selkups complain that instead of the local dialect, their children are taught some other dialect. According to a local from Farkovo, there are three dialects of the Selkup language: Turukhamskiy, Tazovskiy and Baishinskiy. At school the children are taught not their local dialect, which is Turukhanskiy, but Tazovskiy, which is the dialect of the Selkups, living on the river Taz in other parts of Siberia. That is why many adults do not want their children to learn the native language at school because besides being very difficult because of the clusters of consonants, it is not really their native language.

The similar problems with studying minority languages are observed not only on the territory of Krasnoyarsk Krai. V.V. Baranova remarks that "in many societies of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation teaching native languages does not help to reverse the language shift, and school-leavers do not use the title idiom or even cannot speak it. different reasons for the failure of school teaching of native languages are suggested in the literature (insufficient qualification of teachers, disperse settlement of the indigenous population or the incorrect choice of the codified variant, which is not understood or recognized in a particular society).. ..The research in the sphere of revitalization of languages connect success or failure of educational policy not only with

the effectiveness of language planning, but also with self-consciousness of the society"2. It is the certain level of self-consciousness of the society that makes the representatives of ethnic groups believe that it is more important to know Russian, English or some other foreign language, because it is perspective.

Among the reasons why middle-aged people, except those in traditional occupations, do not know the native language, the overwhelming majority of the ISPN mentioned studying in boarding schools (internats), which existed in Soviet times, where children from all the settlements were brought. Not only were the children torn out of their national language environment , they were also forbidden to speak their native languages, instead, all of them were taught Russian, because some of the children, who spent their early years in chums with their parents, did not speak it at all. According to the stories of some Selkups, who studied at the internat, the ban on the native language was accompanied by beating, so the children had to gather in the basement, under the table or went as far away from the internat as they could to speak their native language, but if it became known to the teachers, the offenders could be beaten.

Summing up the research on the language component of the lifestyle of the ISPN, some points can be made. Firstly, the degree of language preservation varies greatly; it ranges from complete disappearance of even single words in everyday life to complete knowledge of the language and its constant use. Secondly, the stableness of the language depends on the kind of occupation of its speakers, so it is best preserved among hunters and fishermen, whereas a complete disappearance of the language can be registered among the urban population. Thirdly, the language is a component of a lifestyle, which is considered to be of primary importance for ethnical renaissance, but practice shows that

nowadays studying minority languages has some problems which need to be solved in future.


According to the observations of the research group, in Turukhansk as well as in Farkovo the locals wear European- style clothes. The only difference is that comfort is more important in Farkovo, which is why in slush people wear rubber boots, entsefalitki (protective clothes), jakets and other practical clothes and footwear. In Turukhansk it is customary to wear the same clothes as in cities, even despite rains and slush. All the jewelry worn by the local people is manufactured, no traditional decorations were noticed. Whereas some Evenk respondents told that in the Settlement Severnaya Rechka (Northern River) they often wear national clothes, which they make from reindeer skins. All the inhabitants of this settlement wear such clothes, but women's clothes are a designed a bit differently.

The Selkups in the Settlement Farkovo, which is the area of their compact settlement, do not wear national clothes but can still remember them, because their parents, people of older generation, lived in chums and wore such clothes. According to Selkup stories, national clothes are very beautiful; they were made from softly dressed reindeer fur skins and decorated with fur and beads. The clothes had two layers: inside were fur skins of reindeer or sables, the outside layer was from cloth, decorated with beads. When there were no beads or they were difficult to get, clothes were decorated with pieces of fur of different colours. According to the Selkups' words, among their traditional clothes are malitsy (deerskin overcoats worn with fur inside, put on as pullover, with hood and mittens attached to it, used by people of the Far North) and parkas; notably, the parkas were so warm that if you wrapped yourself in a parka, you could sleep on

the snow in the taiga. Talking about the national footwear, the Selkups name bakary (boots from reindeer skin), unty (high fur boots), and boots. Footwear was usually made from reindeer kamus (stripes of skin from a lower part of the leg of a reindeer), which if processed correctly, did not fade and wear out with time. The Selkups made boots from skins of burbot dressed in a special way.


The houses in Turukhansk are predominantly one or two-storeyed . The most part of the houses are wooden, brick houses are rare. Block houses are wide-spread, built from wooden or metal carcass and concrete filling. The houses are actively going to ruin. Near the houses there are a lot of wooden sheds, metal trailers and garages. The houses in Farkovo are standard-type. They are either houses for 2-3 families or balki (temporary sheds on sledge), which were built in Soviet times. About their traditional dwellings the Kets said that they were chums, in summer they were from birch tree bark, in winter - from skins (but only well-off Kets could afford them), the floor was covered with silver fir branches and there was a fire in the middle of the chum. The Selkups living in Farkovo not only named chums as traditional dwellings, but also said that in the 1960s, when standard-type houses already started to be build in the settlement, there still were lots of chums in the neighborhood at the confluence of the rivers Farkovka and Turukhan, where now wooden houses and balkis are built . Nowadays the Selkups practically do not leave in chums, they even do not use them during hunting in the forest where winter huts are used as stationary dwellings and tourist tents with sleeping bags -as potable dwellings. In Soviet times, when there was a kolkhoz in Farkovo, the authorities bought balki for its workers and built standard-type houses, and gradually people ceased to leave in

chums. Nowadays the shells of balki are in a very poor state of repair.

The comparative analysis

of living conditions in the settlements

Turukhansk and Farkovo

The comparison of the geographical position and transport accessibility of Turukhansk and Farkovo shows that although both settlements are rather difficult of access, which limits the possibilities of the local population to get out to the "big land" and results in high prices for products and goods, which are higher than average both in the Krai and in the country. Farkovo is more difficult to reach. The main, and practically, the only means of connection with the outside world is the helicopter, which the help of which passenger and goods transportation is conducted, medical help and information are provided, because most part of news gets into posyolok with the arriving people.

The goods - money relations in the settlement can be characterized as trust-based, which is not characteristic of market economy in general and can be accounted for by the territorial closeness of the posyolok. The goods can be given on one's word of honor (pod chestnoe slovo). It should be mentioned that in Farkovo imported goods are not in such demand as they are in Turukhansk. This tendency is directly proportional to eating dishes of national cuisine, which are more popular in Farkovo that in Turukhansk.

Demographic characteristics are the following. Firstly, comparison of the demographic situations in Turukhansk and Farkovo shows the tendency of dissolution of ethnic groups, in the first place, because of marriages between representatives of different ethnic groups, in the second place, because of endogamy, which, on the one hand, helps to preserve the ethnic group, but on the other hand, might cause genetic problems. Secondly, the studied territories differ

in the quantity characteristics of families: while in Turukhansk a family consists of 3-5 people, registered at the same address, in Farkovo a family consists of 3 -4 of the registered people and children of relatives, who are engaged in hunting and permanently live in the forest, which explains the absence of registration, so a family in Farkovo consists of 10-12 people. Thirdly, migration is more active in Turukhansk than in Farkovo, both real (when people either move to Turukhansk from remote settlements, or go to the mainland) and potential (the locals of Turukhansk are actively talking about their desire to leave Turukhansk, while the inhabitants of Farkovo not only lack the desire to leave, but also say that their attempts to change the place of residence were unsuccessful and they had to come back).

Comparing living conditions in Turukhansk and Farkovo, it can be noted that despite their being worse than that in cities, the living conditions in Farkovo are even worse than in Turukhansk: from the centralized community facilities there is only electricity, while heating of houses, supply of water and waste water disposal is provided by the people themselves, based on the traditional use of environment. In many houses there are no household appliances; often there is only the minimum of necessary furniture in the house.

Both settlements suffer from alcoholism, beside in Turukhansk there is also the problem of drug abuse, which, according to the locals of Farkovo, does not exist in their comparatively remote and difficult of access settlement. Difficulty of access has a negative influence on public health care: there is no hospital first aid -obstetric station, doctors get to the posyolok with air medical service, which is not conducted regularly because of, for example, weather conditions. A part of women in labour who fail to get to the regional centre in time lose their newly-born babies or their own life.

The social problems that exist in both settlements are different. While in Turukhansk they are connected with big financial expenditure on housing and community amenities, in Farkovo, where the only community amenity is electricity, they are problems of social subsidies, given by the government. Social security allowances to the ISPN divide the posyolok into two camps: despite the fact that almost the whole population belongs to the title ethnic group, which is registered as indigenous small-numbered. The gist of the problem is that only the representatives of the ISPN who engage in traditional occupations are entitled to the allowance, while the settled population, who are engaged in upbringing not only their children but also the children of their relatives, have to pay for communal services, coal or wood for heating their houses and buying products, do not get any subsidies.


In the present article on the basis of the field research carried out in Turukhank district, firstly, the different components of the traditional way of life of the indigenous small numbered peoples were studied with the aim of estimating the degree of resistance to transformation. Secondly, a comparison of the settlements Turukhansk and Farkovo was carried out by different criteria to find out the reasons for the willingness of the population of Turukhans to move to another place of residence and the absence of desire of the inhabitant of Farkovo to leave their posyolok; and also the reasons why traditional life-style is better preserved in Farkovo than in Turkhansk.

The components of the traditional lifestyle were divided into several groups according to the degree of their resistance to transformations. The first group consists of the traditional clothes and dwellings, which ceased to exist completely both in Turukhansk and in Farkovo and were replaced by more convenient analogues, which came from

the sphere of mass consumption. The folklore, which has practically disappeared on the territory of the studied posyolki, can also be placed in this group. The attitude to death and funeral rites can be included into the second group, because, on the one hand, the traditional attitude to death as an ordinary event is preserved, but on the other hand, funeral rites have disappeared completely. The third group is the religious views of the local population of Turukhansk and Farkovo, which is a syncretism of shamanism and Christianity, a symbiosis of archaic and modern forms. The forth group is the traditional cuisine and folk medicine, the traditional occupations and everyday traditions - which are preserved in their maximum purity. It can be described as partial modification with the preservation of the "core" component. The national language was put into a separate, fifth group, because in different concretes cases it has different degree of preservation: alongside the complete loss of the national language there are examples of its constant use in everyday life.

The conducted comparison of settlements Turukhansk and Farkovo allowed to point out several criteria, differentiating the ways of life of the local population and their word outlooks. First of all, the closeness of settlement Farkovo cannot but be mentioned, in which practically the only means of connection with the outer world is the helicopter, which conducts goods and passenger transportation, provides information and medical service. Secondly, in both settlements there are few jobs (work places). In Turukhansk it resulted in unemployment, but in Farkovo -in the engagement of the most part of population in traditional occupations. It turned out that the traditional way of life was best preserved among the people engaged in traditional occupations: they are the Selkups-hunters in Farkovo, who preserve the national language, the traditional cuisine, use traditional tools, have traditional beliefs, combining them with the features of Orthodox

Christianity. Thirdly, territorial closeness of Farkovo, resulting from its difficult transport accessibility, influences goods-money relations, which are characterized by trust, which is not typical for market economy. The bigger degree of adherence of local population to the national cuisine resulted in less demand for imported products in Farkovo than in Turukhansk.

Fourthly, in the studied poselki there are opposite tendencies in the sphere of preservation of ethnic groups. For example, in Turukhansk there is a danger of dissolution of ethnic groups by means of mixed marriages, metisation. In Farkovo the model of existence of the ethnic group is the opposite one, using monogam marriages for its preservation, but this model might lead to genetic problems. Fifthly, the studied territories differ in such demographic characteristics as the number of people in the family and migration processes. While in Turukhansk a family consists of 3-5 people, registered at one address, in Farkovo there are 10-12 people in the family, they include not only closely related people , but also children of relatives, who are engaged in traditional occupations and permanently live in the forest. Migration in Turukhansk are more active, than in Farkovo: the population of Turukhansk leaves for the mainland, comes from more remote settlements and expresses the desire to leave it. The inhabitants of Farkovo not only have no desire to move to another place, but say that their attempts to move to another place fail and they have to come back.

Sixthly, living conditions in Farkovo, which are worse that in Turukhansk, with the only communal amenity being electricity, and the rest are being provided by the inhabitant themselves, does not result in the desire of the inhabitants of Farkovo to leave. On the other hand, the housing and communal amenities provided in Turukhansk besides being very expensive for the population, are of insufficient quality too,

which makes the problems connected with housing and communal services to be among the most important social- economic problems of Turukhansk. Although the inhabitants of Farkhovo do not have to pay a lot of money for communal services, they have problems with social allowances for the ISPN, which are irrelevant for the inhabitants of Turukhansk, who are practically not engaged in traditional occupations, which is the necessary condition for state subsidies. In Farkovo, despite the fact that almost the whole population belongs to

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the title ethnic group which is registered as the ISPN, the payment of social allowances divide the settlement into two camps: in one camp there are representatives of the ISPN who are involved in traditional occupations and spend nine months a year in the forest, who receive state subsidies, in the other - the settled population, engaged in upbringing not only their own children but also the children of relatives-hunters, who have to pay for communal services, buy coal or firewood for heating their houses, spend money for buying products and who receive no subsidies.

1 Seleznev A.G. (2005). The special issue to the VI Congress of ethnologists and anthropologists. Anthropological forum, special release, 131.

2 Baranova V.V. (2009) "It should go on like this forever." (About the functions of school teaching of the native language).

Anthropological forum, 9, 186-187..


1. Baranova V.V. (2009). "It should go on like this forever." (About the functions of school teaching of the native language). Anthropological forum. 9, 186-187.

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3. Ivanova-Unarova Z.I. Traditsionnoe iskusstvo narodov Severo-Vostoka Sibiri (evenki, eveny, yukagiry, dolgany, chukchi, koryaki) [ The traditional art of the peoples of the North-West of Siberia (the Evenks, the Evens, the Yukahirs, the Dolgans, the Chukchis, the Koryaks)]. Yakutsk, Publishing House of Yakutsk University, 2005. 192 p.

4. Krivonogov V.P. (2005). Etnicheskaya situatsia u korennykh malochuslennykh narodov Krasnoyarskogo kraya [The ethnic situation with the indigenous small-numbered peoples of Krasnoyarsk Krai]. The Yenisseyprovince, 1. Krasnoyarsk, KSPU named after V.P. Astafyev, 34-41.

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Сохранение и трансформация некоторых аспектов традиционного образа жизни коренных и малочисленных народов Севера, проживающих в населенных пунктах (поселках) Туруханск и Фарково

К.В. Резникова

Сибирский федеральный университет Россия 660014, Красноярск, пр. Свободный, 79

Настоящая статья написана по материалам экспедиции, осуществленной в 2010 году в Туруханскийрайон Красноярского края с целью исследования традиционной культуры коренных малочисленных народов, проживающих в Туруханске и Фарково. Экспедиция показала, что разные составляющие традиционного жизненного уклада КМНС обладают разной степенью стойкости к трансформациям. Также при сравнительно более хороших для жизни условиях в Туруханске население этого поселка большей частью не против переехать на другое место жительства, где условия были бы более комфортными. Жители Фарково, напротив, не хотят покидать исконное место обитания. В настоящей статье приводится как оценка степени их подверженности/устойчивости к изменениям различных составляющих жизненного уклада коренных малочисленных народов, так и делается попытка объяснить причины доминирующих среди населения поселков настроений: остаться или сменить место жительства.

Ключевые слова: Туруханский район, коренные малочисленные народы Севера (КМНС), эвенки, селькупы, кеты, глобальные трансформации.

Работа выполнена в рамках исследований, финансируемых Красноярским краевым фондом поддержки научной и научно-технической деятельности, а также в рамках тематического плана СФУ по заданию Министерства образования и науки Российской Федерации.

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