“We Are Not Dead Souls”

The Good Petroleum Fairies and the Spirits of the Taiga in Subarctic Siberia

in Sibirica
Author:
Dominique Samson Normand de Chambourg Associate Professor, National Institute for Oriental Languages and Cultures, Paris, France dsamsonnormanddechambourg@yahoo.fr

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Abstract

Through the example of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug–Yugra, which has become one of the country's main energy hubs (accounting for 62 percent of Russian oil production) and a pioneer in matters of native rights, this article sheds light on what is at stake in the Siberian taiga of the early twenty-first century between two worlds that, over the years, have variously clashed, assisted each other, and ignored each other. Based primarily on fieldwork carried out between 2013 and 2018, as well as on interviews with local cultural and economic actors, the article outlines a local aspect of a history in movement that is still to be written.

Contributor Notes

Dominique Samson Normand de Chambourg is associate professor at the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Cultures in Paris and a member of the Center for Research Europe-Eurasia and the Laboratory of Archeology and Ethnology of Western Siberia at Tomsk University. He has been working on Nenets, Khanty, and Mansi since 1996, with a particular focus on interactions between indigenous people and Russians. He has published widely in France and abroad, as well as translating indigenous authors. His next coedited volume, La Sibérie comme paradis, will be published in 2019. Email: dsamsonnormanddechambourg@yahoo.fr.

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