VESTNIK ARHEOLOGII ANTROPOLOGII I ETNOGRAFII ¹ 3 (42) (2018)
From the tribal «stones» of Altai people to the memorable signs of the Altai Republic
Tadina N.A. (Gorno-Altaisk, Russian Federation)
This article is written on the basis of fieldwork materials collected by the ethnographic methods of observation and conversation with informants from the southern Altai-Telengits and Altai-kizhi population groups. The aim of the research was to reveal a connection between the new tradition of installing generic «stones» typical for the Altai-kizhi, continued in the practice of hoisting stelae in honour of the tribal leaders of the past in the Telengits, and embodied in the creation of monuments and bas-reliefs dedicated to the memory of the Altai Republic founders. This relationship is shown to be determined by the multi-level identification of the Altai characterized by tribal, territorial and ethnic specifics. Under the conditions, when Altai people have to co-exist with Russians who currently represent the population majority, the installation of tribal «stones» and memorable stelae seems to be important for maintaining the Altai cultural continuity. The revival of old traditions and the creation of new ones is initiated by the older generation as memory bearers of the past. Among them are zaisans elected from family men and the Zaisanat Council, whose function is to deal with the village and regional administration, as well as with regional authorities on various issues, such as the protection of the Altai sacred places. The territorial identification is carried out by marking the area (frequently the roundabouts of sacred mountains), where the majority of the seok reside and where the family meetings take place. Using the examples of monuments that have been erected to the memory of G.I. Gurkin and V.I. Chaptynov in Gorno-Altaisk, this article investigates the transformation of the role of the leader among the Altai. These people are famous for realizing the idea of creating the Altai Republic. These monuments reflect the ethnic level of the Altai identification, because they are meant to recognize the contribution of Altai people into the ethno-political development of the Region — from the autonomous Oirot region to the Altai Republic.
Key words: Altaians, republic, syok-tribe, zaisanat, ancestral stone signs, patrimonial consciousness, image, levels of identification.
Gorno-Altai State University, Lenkina st., 1, Gorno-Altaisk, 649000, Russian Federation