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Anatoly Sorokin

This article analyzes the semantic structure of domestic deer herd names in Alutor, a Kamchatkan language spoken by a semisettled group of Koryaks. The structure of the lexicon shows a variety of names of herds and parts of herds according to sex and age of a deer and the relative location of a deer in the herd, and of names of harnesses and parts of harnesses. Herd names and names of parts of reindeer harnesses represent composite lexemes consisting of simple nouns. All Alutor names in the present article are explained in their contexts, as well as in the hierarchical organization of the hypero-hyponymic groups in which synonym relations and relations of variation are being observed.

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Knowledge, Travel, and Embodied Thought

Restlessness in Herder’s Journal of My Voyage in the Year 1769

John K. Noyes

In this article I examine Johann Gottfried Herder’s Journal of My Voyage in the Year 1769 as a radical experiment in travel writing. Herder understands travel as an alignment of the mobility of the mind with the mobility of the body, and the task of the travel writer (and the traveling reader) is to use language to explore this alignment. Th e experiment of 1769 was intended as a continuation of his studies on epistemology, which had been intent on finding an alternative understanding of knowledge to the dominant trends of the day, idealism and empiricism. Language and its actualization in reading and writing are the foundation upon which knowledge transfer can be built, and the Journal is an attempt to demonstrate how knowledge transfer is possible.

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Temporality of Movements in the North

Pragmatic Use of Infrastructure and Reflexive Mobility of Evenki and Dolgan Hunters, Reindeer Herders, and Fishers

Vladimir N. Davydov

This article addresses the problem of temporality and its potential use in mobility studies by providing examples from the author’s recent fieldwork among Evenkis and Dolgans. It examines the temporal dimension of hunters’, reindeer herders’, and fishers’ movements, and discusses the pragmatic use by local people, in the context of their mobility, of a variety of infrastructures and objects that were introduced to the landscape during the last century. It introduces the concept of points of constant return for ways of relating to places of intensive use beyond the binary opposition of settlements and the surrounding landscape. This article suggests analyzing movements in a broader context that includes not just their starting and final destinations but the relations of different locations in a set of movements of multiple actors and analyzes them as results of both reflexive and creative processes that lead to transformations of material objects and the landscape.

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Identifying Stone Alignments Created by Adults and Children

A Case Study from a Dukha Reindeer Herder Summer Camp, Khövsgöl Aimag, Mongolia

Madeline E. Mackie, Todd A. Surovell and Matthew O'Brien

Stone alignments are found worldwide in the archaeological record. As with many archaeological phenomena, these features are often assumed to have been constructed by adults. During ethnoarchaeological fieldwork with Dukha reindeer herders in Khövsgöl Aimag, Mongolia, we observed stone alignments, or “playhouses”, that were constructed by children alongside other stone features that had been constructed by adults. In this paper, we compare stone size and frequency within and between adult- and child-constructed rock alignments. We found that features created by children are characterized by numerous stones of comparatively low weight, while adult features typically have fewer and larger stones. Stones within features created by children also exhibit greater variation in size. We attribute these differences to physical limitations of children and the intended functions of stones in each case. This ethnographic case can serve as a guide for the identification of the authorship of stone features in archaeological contexts.

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‘Nature Has Its Own Soul and Speaks Its Own Language’

The Meaning of Local Landscape in the Pallastunturi Fells

Helena Ruotsala

Nature and environment are important for the people earning their living from natural sources of livelihood. This article concentrates on the local perspective of the landscape in the Pallastunturi Fells, which are situated in Pallas-Ylläs National Park in Finnish Lapland. The Fells are both important pastures for reindeer and an old tourism area. The Pallastunturi Tourist Hotel is situated inside the national park because the hotel was built before the park was established 1938. Until the 1960s, the relationship between tourism and reindeer herding had been harmonious because the tourism activities did not disturb the reindeer herding, but offered instead ways to earn money by transporting the tourists from the main road to the hotel, which had been previously without any road connections. During recent years, tourism has been developed as the main source of livelihood in Lapland and huge investments have been made in several parts of Lapland. One example of this type of investment is the plan to replace the old Pallas Tourist hotel, which was built in 1948, with a newer and bigger one. It means that the state will allow a private enterprise to build more infrastructures for tourism inside a national park where nature should be protected and this has sparked a heated debate. Those who oppose the project criticise this proposal as the amendment of a law designed to promote the economic interests of one private tourism enterprise. The project's supporters claim that the needs of the tourism industry and nature protection can both be promoted and that it is important to develop a tourist centre which is already situated within the national park. This article is an attempt to try to shed light on why the local people are so loudly resisting the plans by a private tourism enterprise to touch the national park. It is based on my fieldwork among reindeer herding families in the area.

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Konstantin Klokov

In recent decades the number of domestic reindeer stock across indigenous communities in the Siberian taiga have fallen dramatically. While this has been viewed as a crisis, this paper discusses how reindeer herders are adjusting their traditional herding strategies to modern conditions. A methodology of contextualization is used to evaluate five reindeer herders’ communities situated in different regions of Eastern Siberia. Changes in Siberian reindeer herding are analyzed according to three main types of contexts differing as to the period of their formation: a) traditional contexts that pre-existed the Soviet system, b) contexts formed in the Soviet time; and c) contexts created by post-Soviet reforms. Under modern conditions reindeer stock reduction is important relative to the economic context, but the role of reindeer herding in cultural and political contexts is increasing. The slow formation of “buffer” social contexts makes the taiga reindeer herding communities’ condition vulnerable.

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Karl Mertens

Mobility is an aspect of human activity that is highly contextual but also in need of a framework for comparative analysis through time and space. This article examines Evenki mobility patterns and their relationship to economic practices of hunting, fishing, and reindeer herding, and utilizes a framework for considering mobility cross-culturally. The Evenkis are an indigenous minority living throughout central and eastern Siberia in the Russian Federation. In the fall and winter of 2011/2012, fieldwork among two groups of Evenkis documented patterns of mobility for reindeer pasturage, foraging and logistical purposes. Mobility related to these activities is connected to specific ecological, social, and economic factors.

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Who Owns the Taiga?

Inclusive vs. Exclusive Senses of Property among the Tozhu and Tofa of Southern Siberia

Brian Donahoe

The Tofa and Tozhu peoples of southern Siberia are closely related ethnically, linguistically, geographically, and in their traditional economic activities of reindeer herding, hunting, and gathering. However, they have long been divided by administrative boundaries, leading to different historical trajectories and drastic differences in their sense of property rights. The Tofa have a much longer history of interaction with Russians and other incomers than the Tozhu. Many Tofa now find themselves without official hunting grounds, while those who have rights to hunting grounds guard them jealously. This situation is striking in contrast to the sense of property just across the border in the Tozhu district of the Republic of Tyva, where non-exclusivity is still the salient feature of Tozhus' sense of property today. This article discusses changes in the distribution of hunting grounds among the Tofa, and compares the Tofa's sense of exclusive rights of access to the remarkably inclusive approach among the Tozhu.

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Freedom and loss in a human landscape

Multinational oil exploitation and the survival of reindeer herding in north-eastern Sakhalin, the Russian Far East

Emma Wilson

Sakhalin's multinational offshore oil and gas projects signify hope for the region's economic regeneration. They also pose an environmental threat to the livelihoods of local natural resource-users, including Sakhalin's few remaining reindeer herders. For the herders over the past century, industrial development, particularly in relation to the domestic onshore oil and gas industry, has been associated with environmental degradation and loss of pastures, family cohesion, language and culture. The herders contrast the physical and mental freedom they enjoy living on the land to the constraint of village life. Their survival strategies are based on a certain freedom from authority and the formal law. Their desire for freedom is also manifested in a reluctance to engage with outsiders who could have a significant influence on their future. This paper explores the survival strategies of reindeer herding households and enterprises and the ways that they engage with outsiders such as state officials, NGOs and oil companies. The offshore oil and gas projects could result in further loss of important pastures and pollution of water sources, while project benefits may not reach some of Sakhalin's communities that are more isolated. However, the projects have catalysed global interest in the fate of Sakhalin's native peoples, oil company consultations have enabled herders to voice their concerns about the projects, and oil company-sponsored programmes may provide opportunities for the revival of herding and the reinforcement of native identity. This article considers some of the tensions between economic independence and security, between the democratic right to participate in planning processes and the desire to be free from state regulation, authority and outside intervention.

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The Suslov legacy

The story of one family's struggle with Shamanism

David G. Anderson and Nataliia A. Orekhova

This contribution consists of excerpts from the diary of a missionary-priest, preceded by an introduction to him and his descendants. Mikhail Suslov was a central figure in the Enisei Missionary Society in the late nineteenth century. He had a deep sympathy for the peoples with whom he came in contact, attempting to understand the shamanic world-view as well as to spread Orthodoxy. His son, also Mikhail, served a six-year apprenticeship with Evenki reindeer-herders before following in his father's footsteps. The third in the line, Innokentii Mikhailovich, became an early Bolshevik administrator, adopting an approach, recalling that of his grandfather to an earlier stage of modernisation. The excerpts from the diary evocatively describe the harsh conditions of the natural setting, the way of life of the native peoples, and aspects of their reception of Russian culture.