The Teleuts: from non-Russians to Indigenous Minority of the North   

Batyanova E.P.  (Moscow, Russian Federation)


              page 170175


This paper concerns the study of the specifics of self-consciousness and self-identity of one of the indigenous minorities of Siberia the Teleuts, in different periods of their ethnic history from the mid. 18th century until the present time. Main forms of Teleuts identity are considered: national; class; ethnic; ancestral and local. The instances of using various ethnonyms, genonymums and class attributes by Teleuts are analyzed. Identity multivariance is considered as a mechanism of minority self-preservation and adaptation to the continuous assimilative influence of the nonethnic majority. The paper is based on the archival sources and field materials of the author collected during the expeditions to Teleuts in 19782014. The field materials include samples of the folklore, written folk literature, records of biographies, family chronicles and narratives about other societies recorded by the author. It has been shown how Teleuts ideas about other societies adjusted in the course of their adaptation to the new social and cultural environment within the Russian state. The attention has been drawn to how the ethnic consolidation of the Teleuts in the 19th20th cc. transformed the local self-consciousness and self-identity. The names associated with small territorial communities often acquired derogatory sense and transferred from endo- to exo-type. It has been deduced how the legal status of the ethnic group within the state influences development of their ethnic culture. Notably, the non-Russians status of the Teleuts brought to them some rights and privileges in terms of the land tenure, taxes and exemption from the compulsory military service. On one hand, this has been helping to strengthen the national identity of the Teleuts, but on the other hand, it facilitates their ethnic self-affirmation. Teleuts have always been proud with their non-Russians status within the Russian state. The ethnic status of the Teleuts in the post-Soviet period is protected by their official recognition in 1989 as a separate ethnic group and subsequent affiliation with the indigenous minorities of the North.

Key words: Teleuts, ethnonyms, estate, identity, aliens, white Kalmyks, Tomsk province, national minorities, small peoples, Indigenous Numerically Small People of the North.


Funding. The article was supported by the RFBR grant for the project No. 18-05-60040 New technologies and social institutions of the indigenous population of the Russian Arctic: opportunities and risks.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 29.05.2020

Article is published: 28.08.2020


Batyanova E.P.

Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology RAS, Leninsky prosp., 32-A, Moscow, 119334, Russian Federation