This article discusses the introduction of 'ethnic subjects' to the Yukaghir national school in Nelemnoe in the late 1980s and early 1990s. School activities aim at 'reviving' traditional culture, language, customs, etc. However, even though children have been taught their native language for more than 10 years, none of them is able to use it in everyday life. What is the influence of 'traditional handcraft' or 'regional knowledge' on Nelemnoe youngsters and their identity? Will ethno-pedagogy help them to preserve and develop their culture? How are local teachers adapting traditional culture to what they perceive as young people's needs? By answering these and other questions, the author tries to uncover the role of school in small communities in Siberia. Beyond the family, the social life of teenagers is mainly connected with the school, thus we may assume that the school is one of the most important factors shaping the futures of young people.