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Galina Kharyuchi

Translator : Tatiana Argounova-Low

Nenets traditional culture has attracted the attention of travelers, missionaries, and scientists for many years. The Nenets did not have a written language until 1932 and the earliest written information about their religious beliefs, including

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Elena Liarskaya

Residential schooling has been widely blamed for destroying aboriginal cultures. This article, based on extensive fieldwork with Nenets schoolchildren in the Yamal Autonomous Okrug, argues that for Yamal Nenetses the residential school can become a part of their traditional culture. The article compares the experiences of Nenets pupils in the 1950s to those of Nenets pupils today. It argues that present-day residential school experience is different, owing to the large number of Nenetses living in settlements, the fact that Nenetses use their language in the settlement context, and the fact that elder kinsmen actively prepare tundra children for the experience of schooling.

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Tatiana Vagramenko

landscape has developed in the region, with diverse religious domains: Orthodox Christianity, various Protestant movements, Islam, and native religious practices, including shamanism. This article examines Evangelical missionary movements among the Nenets

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Native Marriage “Soviet” and “Russian” Style

The Political Economy of Desire and Competing Matrimonial Emotions

Vera Skvirskaja

This article proposes an alternative perspective on the debate on “native families,” and marriage strategies and choices, among rural Nenets on the Yamal Peninsula in Arctic Siberia. 1 It departs from the common narrative put forward by both

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Processes of Remembering and Forgetting

Tundra Nenets' Reminiscences of the 1943 Mandalada Rebellions

Roza Laptander

Each political change in the former USSR and Russian Federation has had different influences on the lives of local populations in different areas. Nenets, like many other indigenous people of the Russian North, were not tied to any political situation. The perception was that they always lived independently in the tundra using their traditional and historical knowledge. In reality, when comparing even the most recent past of the Nenets to the present, many differences and contradictions become apparent in the lives of these northern people. This article discusses the role of censorship in the transformation and performance of historical narratives concerning the development of the relationship between the state and the indigenous tundra people, here Nenets. By distorting historical facts, through exaggeration and mythologizing real-life events, people tried to shield themselves against negative emotions and memories of the past.

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Indigenous Urbanization in Russia's Arctic

The Case of Nenets Autonomous Region

Marya Rozanova

This article presents the social, economic, and political factors that contribute to the ongoing urbanization of the Nenets indigenous communities (“communities-in-transition”) in the Nenets Autonomous Region. Focusing on the preconditions for “indigenous flight” from traditional rural settlements to urban areas, the article analyzes key indicators—demographics, language proficiency, education level, and occupational sector, as well as social cohesion, interethnic relations, and political inclusion in the larger urban context—to describe the adaptation and integration processes of these new city dwellers. Based on the fieldwork in the region, the article also presents individual life strategies and career choices of indigenous youth and describes the role of gender in indigenous urbanization.

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A Working Model of a Sacred Place

Exhibits Appearing in Dreams and Other Miracles in a Small Museum at the Edge of the World

Elena V. Liarskaya and Anna Kushkova

Based on materials from expeditions to the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug during 2006 and 2007, this article discusses the role of a small museum in the local society of a district administrative center. The article focuses on a specific class of sacred Nenets objects in the museum's collection, called locally babushka (grandmother) and a “working model“ of a sacred site that is itself a sacred site for local residents, both indigenous and Russian, to explore the social relationships forged by the museum and its collection among local residents of all ethnicities. The museum and its objects are not removed from social life and rendered dead and preserved under glass. They remain alive in a network of relationships between human and non-human persons.

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Uralic Imaginations on Film

Markku Lehmuskallio and Anastasia Lapsui in Siberia and the Circumpolar World

Kathleen Osgood

Starting with instructional films about Finnish forestry in the 1970s, Markku Lehmuskallio has taken his cinematic vision progressively northward. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Leh mus kallio started intensive work among the Nenets, ultimately collaborating with Anastasia Lapsui to make remarkable “film poems“ among northern peoples at the edges of the world. Perhaps most impressive of their extensive Giron Film productions are the awardwinning Seven Songs of the Tundra (2000) and Earth Evocation (2009). This review essay focuses on their methods of representation of northern, native peoples over the course of their filmmaking career.

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Population Change in the Periphery

Changing Migration Patterns in the Russian North

Timothy Heleniak

This article examines changes in the migration system in the Russian North over the two decades since the breakup of the Soviet Union and the beginning of economic reforms using unpublished data from the Federal State Statistics Service of Russia. This is done by computing several measures of migration for selected northern regions: 1) measures of migration efficiency to determine the extent to which migration in the northern regions is redistributing the population; 2) migration transition probabilities to measure changes in the origins and destinations of migrants in the Russian North; and 3) the average distance of moves to determine the effects that increased costs of transportation have on migration. The regions examined in this article include Khanty-Mansi and Iamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrugs, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug and Magadan Oblast', and Murmansk Oblast'. The findings show that as the market has taken hold, regions of economic growth are becoming primary migration destinations for persons migrating both to and from the North.

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A Booming City in the Far North

Demographic and Migration Dynamics of Yakutsk, Russia

Svetlana Sukneva and Marlene Laruelle

Many cities of Russia’s Far North face a massive population decline, with the exception of those based on oil and gas extraction in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District. Yet, there is one more exception to that trend: the city of Yakutsk, capital of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic, whose population is booming, having grown from 186,000 in 1989 to 338,000 in 2018, This unique demographic dynamism is founded on the massive exodus of the ethnic Yakut population from rural parts of the republic to the capital city, a process that has reshaped the urban cultural landscape, making Yakutsk a genuine indigenous regional capital, the only one of its kind in the Russian Far North.