Communication between two epochs: incarnation in a festival

Stepanova .B. (St. Petersburg, Russian Federation)


                  page 148156


The article was written based on the expedition to the Northern Selkups in Krasnoselkupsky district of Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area in March 2016. The author managed to observe the Reindeer Herders' Day in three villages of the district Ratta and Tolka villages, located in the upper reaches of the Taz River, and the village of Krasnoselkup in the middle reaches of the Taz river. Krasnoselkupsky district embraces almost the entire Taz river basin with the exception of lower areas, which are an ancestral territory of residence of the Northern Selkups, one of the low-numbered peoples of the North. The size and composition of the population of the settlements, which hosted the Reindeer Herders' Day, differ significantly, so the festival in each of the villages has its own special features. Reindeer herders' days in Krasnoselkup district are an important element and a state policy instrument in respect of indigenous low-numbered peoples of the North. The festivals help the Selkups improve their financial situation, give an incentive to reindeer husbandry, contribute to the preservation of traditional culture and strengthen national self-awareness, improve Selkups' relationship with the authorities. At the same time, reindeer herders' days reflect people's mood, determine the state of Selkup reindeer herding and, more broadly, the economy, and also serve as an indicator of effectiveness of the modern state social policy in relation to the Selkups and other indigenous low-numbered peoples of the North in Krasnoselkup district. Reindeer herders' day is neither an original Selkup tradition nor an innovation. The idea of the holiday originated in the depths of the Soviet era and, being successful, moved to the next era as one of the particles of its immense heritage , where it was further developed. The article introduces into scientific circulation and analyzes field materials on a topic that until now has not been examined in detail either in national or in foreign anthropological science.


Key words: ethnography, history, the Selkups, reindeer, holidays, social policy, legacy of the socia-list era.


DOI: 10.20874/2071-0437-2018-41-2-148-156




.B. Stepanova

MAE (Kunstkamera) RAS, Universitetskaya nab., 3, St. Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation