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Welcome to Arctic multilingual website arctic-megapedia.ru!

This website provides all the necessary information about the language and culture of the indigenous peoples
of the North living in the North-East part of the Russian Federation

About the project

Due to the fast developing globalization processes and the creation of an informational society, the world today presents an entire mechanism joined together. Informational and communicational technologies (ICT) give an opportunity to develop the globalization processes; they play a major role in integrating a new world order. They also open up new ways to preserve the languages and cultures of the peoples living all around the world, including the indigenous peoples of the North.

There are many factors that may cause a language to disappear: natural disasters in which an entire group of peoples dies; the educational system expenses that don’t allow children to study the subjects in their native language; the fact that there is no literacy in some of the regions, etc. A new factor occurred over the past few decades – the fast development of information and communication technologies along with the Internet. Internet gives users large opportunities to express themselves freely, to get educated, to save and develop languages and cultures as well as spirituality.

Despite that fact, there is a major problem, when the required information and service on the web are only available in the dominating languages. For example, the peoples, whose language is not available on the web (considering that the Internet uses only about 400 languages out of the existing 6,700 languages), can’t fully participate in the information exchange. They are forced to live in the shadows of the dominant countries that impose their language, worldview and customs upon others.

There are over 160 ethnos on the territory of the Russian Federation, 45 of them are the indigenous peoples. 40 out of 45 ethnos are the indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East. On April 17th 2010 the Russian Federation government issued a decree #536-p that approved a list of the indigenous peoples of the North with the following 40 ethnos:the Aleutians, the Alutorians, the Veps, the Dolgans, the Itelmens,Kamchadals , Kereks, the Kets, the Koryaks, Kumandints, Mansy, the Nanais, Nganasans, Negidals, Nenets, the Nivkhs, Oroks (the Ulta), the Orochis, Saami, Selkups, Soyots, Tazes, telengits, teleuts, Tofalars, Tubalars, Tuvins-Todgints, Udihes, the Ulchis, Khants, Tchelkants, Tchuvants, the Chukchi Chulymts, Shortsy, the Evenks, the Evens, the Ents, the Eskimos, Yukaghirs.

12 out 40 languages of the peoples of the North are on the last stage of extinction. The Russian national census in 2002 showed that there are 11 groups of indigenous peoples of the North living in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) with a total amount of 26,490 people; the population within one group is 100 people. Overall there are 248,983 indigenous peoples in the Russian Federation.

Analysis of the materials about the indigenous peoples of the North available today showed that there are no systematic Internet resources on this topic and that the existing materials are scattered all over and are not so informative.

Burikin A. A. made a thorough analysis of these resources in his article Internet resources about the languages of the indigenous peoples of the Far North, Siberia and Far East Russia. An overview of the existing material and users’ requests [1]. As a result, the problem of multilingualism in the web and in the regions as well as in Russia was included in a collected volume. The edition was published by the Russian Committee of the UNESCO program “Information for all” and by the Multiregional Center for Library Co-operation [2, 3]. Despite that fact, the problem still hasn’t been solved.

That’s how we came up with an idea to create one website on the indigenous people of the North, living in the North-Eastern part of the Russian Federation.

The idea to create this site reflects the following goals:

1. To present lingual and cultural variety of the indigenous peoples of the North on the Web and to create a virtual environment for communicating in native languages.

2. To give full information about the indigenous peoples of the North, living in the North-Eastern part of the Russian Federation. This group of indigenous peoples was chosen because the North-Eastern Federal University of M. K. Ammosov is running this project and it accounts for the specific region mention above.

3. To add new fonts into the keyboard layout into the operational systems, since not all fonts of the indigenous peoples’ alphabets are included in the operational systems. It is planned to release special keyboards, so that the indigenous peoples could work using their native languages. Including the fonts of the indigenous peoples into the operational systems will increase the indigenous peoples’ opportunities to participate in the informational space and to communicate in different forums using their native languages. This will allow the peoples both save and develop the languages by participating in the Web.

4. To provide information in the Russian, the English and the native languages of the people of the North. There will be a separate section for each group of people on the website providing with sufficient information about the language and culture of a given group. There will also be a forum for the different people to talk in their native languages.

This project is implemented within the North-Eastern Federal University development program in the area 4.1: “The North-East Russia’s peoples’ language and culture preservation and development”. The Institute of Languages and Culture of the people of the North-Eastern Russian Federation of the North-Eastern Federal University carries out this project. The New Informational Technologies Center of NEFU together with the Institute of Humanitarian Studies and Problems of the Indigenous People of the North is the executive organizer of the “Preservation and development of Yukaghir language and culture in digital format in the cyberspace program” 2011-2014. We chose Yukaghirs, because they are in a category of disappearing peoples and there are very few people among them that carry the knowledge about the Yukaghir language and culture.

Today the basic information about Yukaghirs is published on our website arctic-megapedia.ru.

An English version of the website is also available, as well as brief information in the Yukaghir language. In the future we plan to create a forum, where people can talk in their native language.

The Yukaghirs section is the first one on the website. In the future we will post information about the rest of the indigenous peoples of the North in the same way as the information about Yukaghirs.

References:

1. Language Variety and Cyberspace: Russian and international experience. A collection of analytical materials/ E. I. Kuzmin, E. V. Plis, Moscow, 2008. pp. 111-129.

2. Multilingualism in Russia: regional aspects. Moscow, 2008. 136 p.

3.3Development of Multilingualism in cyberspace: Kuzmin E. I., Parshakova A. V., 2011. 128 p.

Project manager, the director of New Informational Technologies Center of NEFU, PhD Zhozhikov Anatoly.