View Full Version : What is the fate of the Chukchis?

23-01-05, 21:11
The Chukchis are hopeful to rebuild its old self. Do you think there's a chance of that happening? Or do you think there's no turning back?

[excerpts from The Redbook of the Peoples of the Russian Empire]
The Chukchis live in the extreme northeastern part of Siberia, in the area between the Chukchi and Bering Seas, which extends from the vicinity of the mouth of the River Indigirka to the Bering Straits in the east, and from the Arctic Ocean to the Kamchatkan Peninsula in the south.
As late as the 1920s the Chukchis were reported to be a strong and healthy people. Nowadays, almost the whole nation is ailing. An absolute disaster for the Chukchis were the nuclear tests of the 50s and 60s which were carried out in the airspace of the far north. The radioactive residue and heavy metals have passed through the food chain (moss -- reindeer -- man) and are damaging the human organism. There is very much grippe, tuberculosis, cirrhosis of the liver, and cancer of the stomach and lungs among the Chukchis. Women are accepted into hospital one month before childbirth. The percentage of normal childbirth is just 40, and 80 to 100 newborn Chukchi children die out of every thousand (the average in Russia is 15). The tragic picture is compounded by excessive alcoholism and a considerably higher suicide rate than the all-Union average.

The preservation of Chukchi folk culture and the nation's capability for reproduction is at peril. Children are brought up at Russian boarding-schools, maintained by the state, and allowed to visit their parents only during school holidays. Parents have been deprived of a chance to take care of their children, and to pass on to them their experience and customs. The environment is favourable only to the propagation of the Russian language -- it reigns in stores, in hospitals and offices. Since the 1960s, and its boom of mixed marriages, Russian has even invaded domestic life. One of the reasons why Chukchi women so frequently married Russian men may have been that they thought their chances of bearing healthy children greater with a Russian partner.

Recently, the Chukchis have begun to revive as a nation. National issues and problems that have so far been prohibited from discussion have become topical. The Chukchis once sunk in total apathy in their polluted Russian language environment, are beginning to hope again...

Chukchi page: http://www.eki.ee/books/redbook/chukchis.shtml

26-01-05, 10:45
I probably should have been more clear about what I meant by "the Chukchis."
The Chuckchi people have been living in the Chukotka region for heaven knows how long.
Since the Russian expansion into NE Asia and Alaska, their cultural identity has been much reduced. The natural environment, the life style, and their physical health have all been affected.

For the primary indicator of their identity as a people, I chose the Chukchi language. For what is a people without its own language?

They have been intermarrying with the Russians, so without a live Chukchi language, they can be reduced to a page in Russian regional ethnography.

Rephrasing the question, what do you think are the chances that the Chukchis can revive their language and reclaim their cultural identity?

Or do you think they will become nonexixtent as a distinct cultural group within NE Siberian Russia?

26-01-05, 18:49
The determination of people to do something should never be underestimated...some people will do what needs to be done and get it done no matter what....
Then there are the other people that don't know what they are talking about, like me, trying to appear like they are an authority on information that is dubious at best..... :D