By Petra Rethmann
Koriak were defined as a nomadic humans, migrating with the reindeer via rugged terrain. Their autonomy and mobility are salient cultural good points that ethnographers and country directors have chanced on both interesting and menacing. Tundra Passages describes how this indigenous humans within the Russian a ways East have skilled, interpreted, and struggled with the altering stipulations of lifestyles at the outer edge of post-Soviet Russia. Rethmann portrays the lives of Koriak ladies within the locales of Tymlat and Ossora in northern Kamchatka, inside of a much broader framework of sexuality, nation strength, and marginalization, which she sees as crucial to the Koriak event of way of life. utilizing gender as a lens in which to envision wider problems with historical past, disempowerment, and marginalization, she explores the interpretations and methods hired by way of Koriak men and women to ameliorate the austere results of political and socioeconomic affliction. Rethmann's leading edge paintings combines old and ethnographic descriptions of Koriak lifestyles, narration, and practices of gender and history.With the dying of the Soviet Union, students have all started an energetic dialogue of the political approaches that have an effect on marginalized and indigenous peoples in Russia. This paintings contributes to this dialogue via revealing the tensions and possibly contradictory concepts of indigenous humans inside an international shaken via switch, uncertainty, and affliction.
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Extra resources for Tundra Passages : Gender and History in the Russian Far East
Only the woman at the ﬁre is busy with work. She has to take care of the water kettle; the spout may burst if the ﬁre burns too hot. Only little ice has melted into water so far; but she also has to bring iukola [dried ﬁsh] and seal fat for breakfast; bake little griddlecakes, fetch sugar, get done with the boots that she did not manage to ﬁnish yesterday, and prepare food for the dogs. (Kuz’mina 1932, 94) One concern of this book is to derail and reexamine the colonial heritage that has shaped homogenous and hackneyed modes of gender representation and ▫ ▫ ▫ Departure 9 to use analytical and textual strategies that work counter to the exoticizing techniques of earlier ethnographies.
Fish, seal fat, and whale blubber exchanged hands for reindeer fat and fur. Access to ﬁshing sites and use of land in the Koriak tundra were not regulated by juridical decree. People claimed and renewed their claims to campsites by their annual use of these places. Koriaks at the northeastern shore chose which pastures to drive the reindeer to, where to establish summer ﬁshing camps, and where to pitch their tents for the winter months. Past and concurrent use of such sites circumscribed the social context in which such choices could be made.
Some anthropologists have observed that there is no difference between native and Russian drinking. The problem with such a view, however, is that, for example, Koriak women and men as members of an indigenous (thus regionally marginalized) group are part of a prejudiced discourse in which whites easily view drinking as a serious sign of the loss of tradition and the inability of indigenous people to adapt to social change. Such a view is unproductive for understanding Koriak conditions of living at Kamchatka’s northeastern shore.