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Substance, Conduct, and History

"Altaian-ness" in the Twenty-First Century

Ludek Broz

Since the early 1990s the Altai Republic has been experiencing a dispute about its archaeological heritage. This article deals with one aspect of it—the discrepancy between a local understanding of archaeological monuments as belonging to the direct ancestors of present day Altaians, and an expert view of many historians, archaeologists and physical anthropologists who see no relation between the two. Drawing on the work of Halemba and on Ingold's distinction between relational and genealogical models of indigeneity, this article describes the controversy as feeding on different concepts of "Altaian-ness." Original data nevertheless show that Ingold's sharp distinction between the two models is better understood as complementarity in the Altaian context. Historical data furthermore suggest that such complementarity is a principle that has long been in operation, visible, for example, when we look at identity labels preceding "Altaian."

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When Good Luck Is Bad Fortune

Between Too Little and Too Much Hunting Success in Siberia

Ludek Broz and Rane Willerslev

Two indigenous Siberian groups-the Yukaghirs and the Telengits-share rather similar ideas about success in hunting as an elusive and highly precarious tension between too little and too much luck. In the catalogue of semiotics, it corresponds to the homonym whereby one sound/spelling is the manifestation of two words with different meanings. The result, as we shall show, is that any lucky hunter always inhabits the alternative possibility of his own failure. In this sense, good luck in hunting might at any point be exposed as bad fortune.