nganasan - shamanic and narrative songs of siberian arctic (tundra)
Nganasans are one of the indigenous peoples of Siberia. They are the northernmost of the Samoyedic peoples, living on the Taymyr Peninsula in the Arctic Ocean. Their territory is part of Krasnoyarsk Krai. Their "capital" is the settlement of Ust-Avam. They speak a Samoyed language (Nganasan language).
The Avam Nganasans live in the western part of the Taymyr Peninsula, in the valleys of the rivers Pyassina, Dudypta, and Boganida. The speakers of the Vadeyev dialect live in the tundra and in the eastern parts of Taymyr, in Khatangsky District by the Kheta River, Lake Taymyr, and the Khatanga Bay. The Nganasans share their territory with the Dolgans. Their southern and southeastern neighbours are the Yakuts; in the southwest they border upon the Enets.
The Nganasans are few in number - 834 (2002 Census). Throughout most of their history they have been nomadic hunters, fishers, and herders of reindeer. They have successfully resisted attempts at conversion to foreign religions until the Soviets. The biggest change in their history occurred in the 1940s, when the Soviet authorities decided to end the shamanist beliefs of the Nganasans. Shamans were imprisoned and their holy artifacts confiscated. Since the 1960s, the nomadic life of the Nganasans has been ended and they have been settled in villages, where they live alongside Russians and Dolgans. These sudden changes caused depression for many Nganasans and alcoholism is a big problem among them.
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