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Yukaghirs from Yakutia, 1905.
|Regions with significant populations|
|Yukaghir, Russian, Yakut|
|Shamanism, Russian Orthodoxy|
The Yukaghirs, or Yukagirs (Northern Yukaghir : одул, деткиль (odul, detkil), Russian : юкаги́ры) are a people in the Russian Far East, living in the basin of the Kolyma River.
The Tundra Yukaghirs live in the Lower Kolyma region in the Sakha Republic; the Taiga Yukaghirs in the Upper Kolyma region in the Sakha Republic and in Srednekansky District of Magadan Oblast. By the time of Russian colonization in the 17th century, the Yukaghir tribal groups occupied territories from the Lena River to the mouth of the Anadyr River. The number of the Yukaghirs decreased between the 17th and 19th centuries due to epidemics, internecine wars and Tsarist colonial policy which may have included genocide against the sedentary hunter-fisher Anaouls. Some of the Yukaghirs have assimilated with the Yakuts, Evens, and Russians.
Currently, Yukaghirs live in the Sakha Republic and the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug of the Russian Federation. According to the 2002 Census, their total number was 1,509 people, up from 1,112 recorded in the 1989 Census.
According to the latest 2001 all Ukrainian census, 12 Yukaghirs are living in Ukraine. Only 2 of them indicated Yukaghir as their native language. For the remaining others (6) it is Russian and for 1 it is some other tongue.
Genetically, Yukaghirs exhibit roughly equal frequencies of the Y-DNA haplogroups N1c, Q1, and C2 (formerly C3).
According to another study, out of 11 Yukaghir males 3 turned out to belong to the Y-haplogroup N1c (different subclade from the one found in Yakuts), another 4 - to the Y-haplogroup C2 (former C3; for the most part, the same subclade that's also found in Koryaks), one more - to the Y-haplogroup O, and the rest 3 exhibit apparent Russian genetic influence (two individuals belonging to the Y-haplogroup R1a, and one more - to the Y-haplogroup I2a). The study also found no similarities between Yukaghirs and Chukchis in regards to mitochondrial DNA.
The 13 tribes that once constituted the Yukaghir group are: Vadul-Alais, Odul, Chuvan, Anaoul, Lavren, Olyuben, Omok, Penjin, Khodynts, Khoromoy, Shoromboy, Yandin, and Yandyr.
The surviving three tribes are the Odul of Nelemnoe, the Vadul of Andryushkino and the Chuvan of the Anadyr river area. Of the extinct groups, the most important were the Khodynts, the Anaoul (both of the Anadyr River area), and the Omok (north of the Chuvan). Sometimes the Chuvan are considered a separate tribe. The Chuvantsy language has been extinct since the early 20th century. In 2002, 1,087 identified themselves as Chuvan compared to more than 1,300 in 1989. The Vadul are mainly involved in reindeer herding while the Odul (Kogime) are mostly hunter-gatherers. The Vadul are also known as Tundra Yukaghir. The Odul are also known as Taiga Yukaghir or Kolyma Yukaghir. The Vadul and Odul languages are as different as German is from Dutch. Both are nearing extinction, and Odul is in a much weaker state compared to Vadul. In the 1989 census, more than 700 of the Yukaghirs identified as Vadul while fewer than 400 were Odul.
The Yukaghir are one of the oldest peoples in North-Eastern Asia. Originally they lived over a huge territory from Lake Baikal to the Arctic Ocean. By the time of the first encounter with Russians, Yukaghir were divided into twelve tribes with around 9,000 people. The Yukagir ethnonym is Odul or Vadul, which means “mighty”.
Tribal divisions among the Yukaghir are fading now, although in every census from 1926, significant number of tribesmen identified themselves with tribal divisions like Anaoul, Odul and Vadul rather than describing themselves as Yukaghir. The Soviet government actively discouraged this tendency and now only the most elderly identify this way. In the 2002 census, out of the 1,509 Yukaghirs, 51 identified themselves as Omok, 40 as Alais, 21 as Odul, 17 as Vadul, 6 as Khangait and 4 as Detkil.
The head of every clan was an elder called a Ligey Shomorokh. His was the final word in all aspects of life. Hunting leaders were Khangitche, and war leaders were Tonbaia Shomorokh ("the mighty man"). Women and teenagers had equal voices with men. The internal life of the community was under the control of the older women. Their decisions in those matters were indisputable.
In the beginning of every summer all clans gathered for the Sakhadzibe festival, where mutual Yukaghir questions were discussed.
In the Yakut-Sakha Republic there are three nomadic extended family communities. These are Tchaila in Nizhnekolymsky District, Teki Odulok in Verkhnekolymsky District and Ianugail in Ust-Yansky District. The head of Ianugail is I. I. Tomsky. The community's main activities are deer hunting and fishing. Tchaila is the biggest of the three. Its head is S. I. Kurilov. They have 4000 domesticated reindeer, 200 horses, and 20 cows. The community also hunts deer and polar foxes. There is also a shop where traditional skin and fur garments are made. The head of Teki Odulok is N. I. Shalugin. Their base is the village of Nelemnoe. This community is in the most difficult situation. Due to the “creative interpretation” of various Perestroika and privatization laws by the local and district administration and so-called businessmen, the community has lost all their reindeer, cows and even part of its land. All they have left are about 50 horses. They have no money for supplies for hunting and fishing. 80% of all adult population is de facto unemployed.
The highest forum for Yukagir is the all-people gathering Suktuul.
The main traditional activity is nomadic and semi-nomadic hunting of deer, moose, wild sheep, and sable, as well as fishing. Reindeer are bred mostly for transportation. Horses are known among the Yukaghir as "domestic reindeer of Yakuts" (Yoqod ile in Tundra Yukaghir or Yaqad āçə in Kolyma Yukaghir). A Yukaghir house is called a chum.
The decline of traditional economic activities, the unfavorable environmental situation of the Yukaghir's traditional lands and waters, and the absence of local and federal laws and executive mechanisms protecting indigenous peoples in Russia, have not aided the welfare and continuation of traditional Yukaghir communities. The average life span for men is 45 years, and 54 years for women. Child mortality is the highest in the Yakut-Sakha Republic. In addition, one expedition made to the Yukaghir found that most had no knowledge of traditional Yukaghir culture.
The Yukaghir languages are a small language family of two closely related languages, Tundra Yukaghir and Kolyma Yukaghir, although there used to be more. They are unclassified languages: their origin and relation to other languages are unknown; some scholars consider them distantly related to the Uralic languages,but this classification is not accepted by the majority of specialists in Uralic linguistics. The languages are regarded as moribund, since less than 370 people can speak either Yukaghir language. Most Yukaghirs today speak Yakut and Russian.
Alongside Russian Orthodox beliefs, Yukaghirs still practice shamanism. The dominant cults are ancestral spirits, the spirits of Fire, Sun (Pugu), Hunting, Earth, and Water, which can act as protectors or as enemies of people. The most important is the cult of Pugu, the Sun, who is the highest judge in all disputes. The spirits of the dead go to a place called Aibidzi. Every clan had a shaman called an alma. After death every alma was treated as a deity, and the body of the dead alma was dismembered and kept by the clan as relics. The Yukaghir still continue traditions stemming from their origins as nomadic reindeer-hunters: they practice dog sacrifice and have an epic poem based around crows. The animal cult was especially strong in the elk cult. There was a number of rituals and taboos connected with elk and deer hunting.
Sakha, also known as Yakutia or Yakutiya, and officially known as the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), is a federal Russian republic.
The Chukchi, or Chukchee, are an indigenous people inhabiting the Chukchi Peninsula and the shores of the Chukchi Sea and the Bering Sea region of the Arctic Ocean within the Russian Federation. They speak the Chukchi language. The Chukchi originated from the people living around the Okhotsk Sea. According to recent genomic research, the Chukchi are the closest Asiatic relatives of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
The Nenets, also known as Samoyed, are a Samoyedic ethnic group native to northern arctic Russia, Russian Far North. According to the latest census in 2010, there were 44,857 Nenets in the Russian Federation, most of them living in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Nenets Autonomous Okrug and Taymyrsky Dolgano-Nenetsky District stretching along the coastline of the Arctic Ocean near the Arctic Circle between Kola and Taymyr peninsulas. The Nenets people speak either the Tundra or Forest Nenets languages, which are mutually unintelligible. Today, the Nenets people face challenges from oil and gas companies that threaten the environment and their way of life.
Chukotka Autonomous Okrug or Chukotka (Чуко́тка) is the easternmost federal subject in Russia. It is geographically located in the Far East region of the country, and is administratively part of the Far Eastern Federal District. Chukotka is the 2nd-least-populated federal subject at 50,526 (2010) and the least densely populated.
The Yakuts, or the Sakha, are a Turkic ethnic group who mainly live in the Republic of Sakha in the Russian Federation, with some extending to the Amur, Magadan, Sakhalin regions, and the Taymyr and Evenk Autonomous Districts. The Yakut language belongs to the Siberian branch of the Turkic languages. The Russian word yakut was taken from Evenk yokō. The Yakuts call themselves sakha or urangai sakha in some old chronicles.
The Yukaghir languages are a small family of two closely related languages—Tundra and Kolyma Yukaghir—spoken by the Yukaghir in the Russian Far East living in the basin of the Kolyma River. At the 2002 Russian census, both Yukaghir languages taken together had 604 speakers. More recent reports from the field reveal that this number is far too high: Southern Yukaghir had maximum 60 fluent speakers in 2009, while the Tundra Yukaghir language had around 60–70. The entire family is thus to be regarded as moribund.
The Nivkh are an indigenous ethnic group inhabiting the northern half of Sakhalin Island and the lower Amur River and coast on the adjacent Russian mainland and historically possibly parts of Manchuria.
The East Siberian Sea is a marginal sea in the Arctic Ocean. It is located between the Arctic Cape to the north, the coast of Siberia to the south, the New Siberian Islands to the west and Cape Billings, close to Chukotka, and Wrangel Island to the east. This sea borders on the Laptev Sea to the west and the Chukchi Sea to the east.
The Nganasans are a Uralic people of the Samoyedic branch native to the Taymyr Peninsula in north Siberia. In the Russian Federation, they are recognized as one of the indigenous peoples of the Russian North. They reside primarily in the settlements of Ust-Avam, Volochanka, and Novaya in the Taymyrsky Dolgano-Nenetsky District of Krasnoyarsk Krai, with smaller populations residing in the towns of Dudinka and Norilsk as well.
Chuvans are one of the forty or so "Indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East" recognized by the Russian government. Most Chuvans today live within Chukotka Autonomous Okrug in the far northeast of Russia. Based on first-hand field research by several ethnographers in the 1990s, people who self-identify as Chuvans seem to do so by living in small villages and in the tundra in areas that are primarily associated with reindeer herding.
The Tundra Yukaghir language is one of only two extant Yukaghir languages. Last spoken in the tundra belt extending between the lower Indigirka to the lower Kolyma basin, Tundra Yukaghir was formerly spoken in a much wider area extending west to the Lena basin.
In human mitochondrial genetics, Haplogroup Z is a human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup.
Uralic–Yukaghir, also known as Uralo-Yukaghir, is a proposed language family composed of Uralic and Yukaghir.
Tungusic peoples are an ethno-linguistic group formed by the speakers of Tungusic languages. They are native to Siberia and Northeast Asia.
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The Southern, Kolyma or Forest Yukaghir language is one of only two extant Yukaghir languages.
Yukagir is a rural locality, the only inhabited locality, and the administrative center of Yukagirsky National (Nomadic) Rural Okrug of Ust-Yansky District in the Sakha Republic, Russia, located 798 kilometers (496 mi) from Deputatsky, the administrative center of the district. Its population as of the 2010 Census was 154, of whom 84 were male and 70 female, up from 106 recorded during the 2002 Census. The village shares its name with the Yukaghir people who were indigenous to this region.
Yakut, also known as Yakutian, Sakha, Saqa or Saxa, is a Turkic language with around 450,000 native speakers spoken in Sakha (Yakutia), a federal republic in the Russian Federation, by the Yakuts.
Indigenous peoples of the Subarctic are the aboriginal peoples who live in the Subarctic regions of the Americas, Asia and Europe, located south of the true Arctic. This region includes the interior of Alaska, the Western Subarctic or western Canadian Shield and Mackenzie River drainage area, the Eastern Subarctic or Eastern Canadian Shield, Scandinavia, Western Russia and East Asia. Peoples of subarctic Siberia and Greenland are included in the subarctic; however, Greenlandic Inuit are usually classified as Indigenous peoples of the Arctic.
The Yakutian Laika is a working dog breed that originated in the Arctic seashore of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic. The major habitat is estuaries of Kolyma, Indigirka, Yana and Lena. In terms of functionality, Yakutian Laikas might serve as a reindeer herder's dog (olenegonka), hunter's dog, and a sled dog. In September 2019, the FCI officially accepted the breed.