Yukaghirs Today

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Yukaghirs at Present

In Soviet period Yukaghirs from the distant tributaries of Kolyma were rehoused in large villages: Tustakh-Sen, Nelemnoe, Balygychan, Andryushkino, Olenegorsk, Yukaghir. Multinational collective farms (Tchailarud Vaduhl (“Reindeer-breeder”), Sutanya-Uderan, Potchohodol modol (“Cheerful life”), Pioner, n.a. Stalin etc.) were organized in these villages. Collective farms were later redeployed into state owned farms. Though these measures have positive social effect, the ethnic situation of this nation worsened greatly. These measures led to assimilation processes, ancestor’s way of life disregarding, death of Yukaghir language, culture elements loss and total ideology change. Paternalism policy also led to the loss of confidence and responsibility for people’s destiny. People adopted psychology of dependency and consumerism.

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Ukaghir folk songs performer, student of ASIAC institute

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Fish skin and swan neck skin finery. N. Guseva, a high-school student

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Yarkhadana Folk Ensemble performance (Nelemnoe village)

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Pupils of Nelemnoe village kindergarten (Verhnekolymsk ulus)

Resource base is the main weakness of hunting and fisheries: Yukaghirs face unsatisfactory technology support (lack of field-engines, off-road vehicles, snowmobiles, outboard engines, petroleum, drifters, rifles, cartridges, service parts). This may affect not only industry, but even agriculture revenue. Rendered places, hunting grounds, commercial sites are now abandoned due to sites remoteness, low status value of hunting, low purchase prices and sales failure.

Some fishing sites fell into disrepair state due to ecostandard violation by state organizations. State owned farms failed in controlling the ecological cleanness of farm-out sites; that resulted in site contamination with petroleum, cooperage and frozen drifters left in water together with dead fish. Moreover, robbery fishing led to fishery balance disruption.

All this led to locals’ social status declination. People faced payment arrears in municipal services, electric energy and telecom. In some cases payment arrears reach 2 or 3 years. The main income is usually represented by social services salaries, welfares and pension money. Youth unemployment, lack of opportunities, industry unprofitability and inefficiency leads to drunkenness, crime wave and suicide decrease.

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The fourth Yukaghir conference. March 2011, Allaikhovsky ulus

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Yukaghir language lesson Trainer: Dyomina L. (in the middle), trainees: Sisilia Ode (to the right) – Nethrlandish linguistician, Lukina M.- SB RAS IHRLNPN member

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Nikolaeva-British linguistician and Dlitt and Yukaghir language specialist – L. Dyomina.

There is one possible way out of this situation. It is the Yukaghir Suntul, a law that was adopted by Il Tumen of the Sakha Republic and signed by President V.A. Shtyrov. The law came into force in January 2006. It enhances people’s responsibility in local issues solution, and gives more rights in solving problems of education, health service, language and culture.

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P.I. Sentyakova. Recording text in tundra Yukaghir language in NEFU Center of New Information Technologies

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Director of division of Paleo-Syberian languages SB RAS IHRLNPN P.E. Prokopieva, division member M. Lukina with foreign guest Dlitt I. Nikolaeva and D. Matich

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Paleo-Syberian languages division of SB RAS IHRLNPN


Nikolay I. Spiridonov was a famous public figure of the North. He tried to draw attention to his people that was nearly extinct in the beginning of the 20th century. Indigenous people of Yukaghir has brought up many famous public figures and republic leaders: deputies to the Supreme Soviet Nikolay K. Kurilov and Innokentyi Y. Gorulin; deputies to the Supreme Soviet of Yakutia Egor I. Shadrin, Akulina A. Vinokurova, Grigory I. Velvin; Minister of Industry of Yakutia Evgeny F. Malikov; deputy minister for Indigenous peoples of the North Dora A. Vinokurova; district executive committee chairman of Nizhnekolymsk region Vasiliy N. Yaglovsky and many other famous persons.

V.I. Shadrin

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