Khanty, People of the Taiga

Surviving the 20th Century

Andrew Wiget and Olga Balalaeva

Khanty, People of the Taiga

Andrew Wiget and Olga Balalaeva

Distributed for University of Alaska Press

398 pages | 80 halftones, 15 figures | 6 x 9 | © 2011
Paper $39.95 ISBN: 9781602231245 Published May 2011
E-book $7.00 to $39.95 ISBN: 9781602231252 Published May 2011
Drawing on nearly twenty years of fieldwork, as well as ethnohistory, politics, and economics, this volume takes a close look at changes in the lives of the indigenous Siberian Khanty people and draws crucial connections between those changes and the social, cultural, and political transformation that swept Russia during the transition to democracy. Delving deeply into the history of the Khanty—who were almost completely isolated prior to the Russian revolution—the authors show how the customs, traditions, and knowledge of indigenous people interact with and are threatened by events in the larger world.
List of Figures
Notes on Spelling, Pronunciation, and Usage

1. Iugra
    Before the Russians
    Vlast’ and Volost’: Russian Power from 1600 to 1917
    The Soviet Era
2. Iakh and Sir
    Kinship and Residency, History and Territoriality
    Soul, Conception, and Rebirth
    Adulthood and Social Identity 
    Courtship and Marriage
    Alcoholism, Accidents, and Violence
    Being Elderly
    Death and Transformation
    Tradition, Modernity, and “Being Khanty”
3. Traditions
    The Khanty World
    Ordinary Competence, Religious Practice, and the Family Sphere
    Spirits, Land, and Kin
    Pori and Yir: Ritual Communion
    Communal Rituals
    Other Communal Rituals
4. Transformations
    Cultural Specialists and Cultural Change
    Russian Orthodoxy
    When the Insider Becomes the Outsider
    Khanty Traditions
    The Politics of Cultural Survival
5. Kurlomkin: Taiga Hunter
    Land Use in the Iugan Basin
    The Kurlomkins of Bolshoi Iugan
    Beyond the Settlement: The Family Hunting Territory
    The Domestic Economy
    Difficult Futures
6. Kanterov: Muskeg Reindeer Herder
    Historic Land Use on the Pim River
    Kirill Kanterov and His Brothers
    The Kanterov Family Territory
    The Domestic Economy
7. Black Snow
    Post-Soviet Administration
    Defacing the Land
    Marginalization and the Press of Oil
    Making Way for Oil
    Reimagining Land and Community
    Emergent Types
8. Land, Leadership, and Community
    Oil, Ethnicity, and Perestroika
    The Obshchina Movement
    The Fight to Save the Iugan
9. Accommodation, Resistance, and Resilience
    Vectors of Change
    Revitalization, Resistance, and Revival
    Strategies of Cultural Persistence
    A Resilient People

Review Quotes
Choice, Outstanding Academic Title | 2011

"Meticulously researched, authoritatively written, and enlivened with a magnificence of ethnographic, ecological, and linguistic detail, this unique study offers a portrait of immense scholarly value that could easily serve as a model for similar social analyses of other native peoples of Siberia. . . . Essential.”

Brian Donahoe | Sibirica
"Well-written, readable, and accessible to a wide audience. The authors balance a broad range of sources in a way that creates a tightly woven, dense, and compelling narrative. . . . [A]n excellent example of how profoundly satisfying deep ethnography can be."
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