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Kuzbas Indigenous Peoples

Posted on Jul 27, 2007  |   11004 views  

I live in Kuzbas and my collage is dedicated to the shortsy and their neighbours – the teleuty and other indigenous peoples of the Kemerovo, Khakas and Altai regions. Since the 19th century they had to assimilate to the Russians. But they resisted such transformations in a peaceful way, keeping their languages, mythology, religious traditions and art. Finally, nowadays with the help of different organizations their most important holidays are held again and we can see their costumes and dances, listen to their songs and epos and, of course, learn about their art (and even buy a clay owl, like me ;) Frankly speaking, the region itself was called “Kuznetskaya zemlya” (Blacksmiths’ land) because the shortsy had made their living by blacksmith’s work till the Russians brought their better pieces and made the indigenous people drop this trade. The Russian “world” fell on them very tough and soon even the lifestyle was changed according to more “comfortable” standards. However, the real “wild” indigenous culture was preserved in our museum-reserve “Tomskaya pisanitsa” where the history is animated every day and tourists can get with themselves a piece of indigenous art, a sparkle of indigenous spirit and certainty that our region has its history Moreover, the art traditions didn’t die or transform into souvenir’s producing business! They are maintained by the indigenous people themselves and even by the Russian of Siberia. Thus, living in big cities and small towns doesn’t prevent people from preserving their culture (and I think it’s also a form of resisting assimilation)


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