Yukaghirs today

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Yukaghirs Today (Based on Yukaghiry) V.I. Shadrin

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.

At present there are three Yukaghir nomadic clans in Yakutia: Tchaila clan in Nizhnekolymsk ulus, Teki Odulok clan in Verhnekolymsk ulus, Yanugail in Ust-Yansk ulus. Number of locals involved in production industry totals 179 (in Tchaila clan – 115, in Teki Odulok – 57, in Yanugail – 7).

Tchaila is the largest Yukaghir clan, where Evens and Yakuts work together with Yukaghirs. This clan is engaged in reindeer herding, fishing and reindeer hunting. Members of Teki Odulok clan (Nelemnoe village) hunt moose, sable and angle.

Ukaghir folk songs performer, student of ASIAC institute
Fish skin and swan neck skin finery. N. Guseva, a high-school student
Yarkhadana Folk Ensemble performance (Nelemnoe village)
Pupils of Nelemnoe village kindergarten (Verhnekolymsk ulus)

Yanugail clan is engaged in fishing and wild reindeer hunting. Economic crisis has affected Yukaghir socioeconomic status. It led to decline in production, decrease in finished craft and agriculture production delivery, decrease in output and saving of tugut, colt and calf adult stock. Polar fox hunting is derelicted, commercial fisheries and industrial wood production is cancelled. The labor discipline has decreased greatly as labor stimulation and labors responsibility had declined. One of the main problems of economy is the lack of expert managers and specialists in agriculture production. High transportation costs resulted in venison, fish etc. finding no sales and spoiling. Accordingly, craft and hunting products are used in boiler feeding.

The fourth Yukaghir conference. March 2011, Allaikhovsky ulus
Yukaghir language lesson Trainer: Dyomina L. (in the middle), trainees: Sisilia Ode (to the right) – Nethrlandish linguistician, Lukina M.- SB RAS IHRLNPN member
I. Nikolaeva-British linguistician and Dlitt and Yukaghir language specialist – L. Dyomina.

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.

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.

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

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