Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. 8-10

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Foreword

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pp. x-xii

Once, at a remote reindeer camp in western Siberia, I saw the skull of a bear fixed to a tree. In the writings of my friend Yeremei Aipin, I had read of the Khanty Bear Feast, a sacred ceremony that celebrates the ancient spiritual relationship between man and bear. ...

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Introduction: Cry of the Wild Crane: The Call of Forgotten Kinship

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pp. xiii-xxiii

The emergence of Native literatures around the globe during the second half of the twentieth century is by now a well-established cultural fact. One example of this fact is the development of Native literatures in Siberia, a striking phenomenon that requires a new set of metaphors and definitions to describe. ...

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Evenk Invocation for Good Fortune: To Nature, When the Earth Turns Green

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pp. 1-27

O Mother Earth, I have come from the expanses of the River Yana, called Mother, too, from ancient times. I have come from the valley-dwelling Yakuts, taking refuge on your warm bosom, poor me. I have come here, to where my eyes first saw the world. ...

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Yeremei Aipin (KHANTY)

The son of a hunter and fisherman, Yeremei Aipin was born in t he native village of Varyogan in West Siberia in 1948. Ethnically, he is of the Khanty people, of the Finno-Ugric language stock. As a young man he labored in the Siberian oil fields at the state depository of Samotlor, and as a carpenter before specializing in creative writing at Moscow’s State Literary University. ...

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Old Man Moon

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pp. 5-8

The copper-red face of the moon floated slowly out of the pines. Everything—the spring snows, the evening clouds, the houses and people—reflected the same purple, copper-red color. When I saw the enormous round face of the moon, I asked my mother: ...

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The Earth’s Pain

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pp. 9-12

Whenever by accident my mother touched the earth with an ax, she would quickly level the cut, covering it with woodchips and fir needles. My father would do the same, whenever his ax slipped from a tree and sliced the earth. I once asked my mother the meaning of this. ...

Puzzles of My Childhood

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pp. 13-14

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Selections from Morning Twilight: A Novel of the Khanty

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pp. 15-53

... And the Man, slowly turning toward the sun with a long glance at the earth, where he had been born and lived to this very day, pulled at the bridle. And the reindeer at the head of the pack took his first step into the sky, and the little pack train began to rise at an angle, unhurriedly, as if climbing a mountain. ...

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And So Dies My Clan

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pp. 54-65

I speak to you from the Lower World. I am a shadow, a phantom. A ghost. I am here, and yet I am not. You hear me, and yet you don’t. Why? Because this year I turned forty. And like many clansmen and relatives of the same age, I’ve already been to the Lower World. Once, twice, even three times—I have died. ...

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Nadezda Taligina (KHANTY)

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pp. 66-91

Nadezda Taligina, born in 1953, is a Khanty artist and scholar coming from the family of a reindeer breeder. After graduating from the Salekhard Cultural Studies College, she studied in Moscow at the Stroganov School of Art from 1982 to 1987, specializing in jewelry. She spent the year of 1992 in the Academic ...

A Portfolio of Ten Drawings

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pp. 67-77

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Yuri Vaella (TAIGA NENETS)

Like Yeremei Aipin, Yuri Kilevich (Aivaseda) Vaella was born in the village of Varyogan in West Siberia in 1948. He is of the taiga Nenets people, who historically lived along the Pur River. ...

At the Bus Stop

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pp. 80-105

Watching TV

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pp. 81-82

On Things Eternal

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pp. 83-108

To the Bear

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pp. 84-109

Song of the Reindeer Breeder

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pp. 85-110

Eternal Sky

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pp. 86-87

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The Little Shaman and Other Stories

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pp. 88-89

Once upon a time, two old men—one Nenets, one Khanty— were telling stories as they traveled by boat down a river. The old Nenets was called Yavunko by the Khanty people because he was as well known and respected among them as among his own clansmen. Likewise, the old Khanty was called Capitjaay ...

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Morning at the Lake

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pp. 90-115

Two mists happened to meet by the lake. One was from the lake itself—a pink one. The other—a purple one—came from the forest. ...

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Fyodor the Hunter

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pp. 91-92

... At the time of the war with Hitler the hunters and fishermen of Siberia became very important. Those who weren’t good at hunting and fishing were sent to the front. And those who came home—some armless, some legless—said how hard it was there. Pure Apocalypse! But those who stayed at home said they’d ...

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News from Vatyegan Camp

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pp. 93-118

... “He said he wasn’t worried. He knew that the lake there is breast deep for deer. So he pointed the leader toward the nearest woods, but all at once the deer were covered in black slime, and then his own boots and coat turned black. ...

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Galina Keptuke (EVENK)

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pp. 94-119

Galina Keptuke, a prose writer of the Evenk people, was born in the village of Kukushka, Amur Oblast, East Siberia, in 1951. She takes her name, which means “animal tracker,” from a clan that in ancient times migrated through the Amur region along the Jeltula River. ...

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A Discovery

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pp. 95-105

How I love you, oh clear and light Jeltula! Once again we meet, but this time I see the rushing streams at your headwaters. Big trout hide in your deep pools, salmon leap through your sparkling shallows, ducks nest in your coastal lakes. And now, on your sandy beaches—the voices of children! ...

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The Unexpected Guest

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pp. 106-125

All summer we have been migrating along the right bank of the Jeltula River. Now we must cross to the other side. But in order to do so, we have to get to the very headwaters, to cross the divide by the grave of Granddaddy Paskene. ...

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Little America

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pp. 126-154

She hadn’t been back to her native grounds for a long time. And now she was returning for good. For almost fifteen years she’d been away from home, living in the Ukraine, having married a hohol from “Hohland” as he called himself, making fun of the traditional Ukrainian haircut, the shaven head with a single lock—a hohol—left on top. ...

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Gennady Dyachkov (YUKAGIR)

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pp. 155-180

Gennady Dyachkov (1945–1983) was born among the Yukagir (Odul) people of Siberia. The Yukagirs, who number fewer than twelve thousand, are considered to be among the oldest ethnic natives of East Siberia. Their traditional economy was based on hunting wild deer and moose, catching fish, and ...

The Hunter’s Son: A One-Act Play

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pp. 156-164

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Vladimir Sangi (NIVKH)

Vladimir Sangi, born in 1935, is a Nivkh writer, folklorist, and p olitical activist from the Pacific Coast region near Sakhalin Island, where his ancestors have lived for centuries. He was born in the Nabil camp, on the east coast of Sakhalin Island and grew up during World War II. ...

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My First Shot

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pp. 167-174

It was very long ago, but I will remember that day forever. I had just turned eight. I remember the date not because my birthday was celebrated in any special way. In my childhood the Nivkh people didn’t celebrate birthdays. That was a custom my kinsmen adopted from the Russians much later. All other holidays ...

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Maria Vagatova (KHANTY)

A Native Siberian of the Khanty people, Maria Vagatova is a poet and storyteller. The oldest of twelve children in the family of a reindeer breeder, she was born in 1936 in a taiga forest village near the Kazym River, a tributary of the Ob, and spoke only Khanty until the age of seven. She called her grandfather her first teacher of literature and later took his family name as her ...

My Word, My Tongue

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pp. 177-202

River Mosum, My Water

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pp. 178-203

Dirge for the Land of the Khanty

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pp. 179-180

The People of Tuk’yakang Village

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pp. 181-182

Stone Soldier

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pp. 183-184

An Old Anthill

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pp. 185-187

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Gennady Raishev (KHANTY)

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pp. 188-189

... In 1954, Raishev began his studies at Hertzen University in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), specializing in literature. After his second year he began classes at the evening art school, ultimately graduating with dual certificates. Although he pursued his art in Surgut, in West Siberia, in the Ural Mountains, and elsewhere, his first important solo exhibition did not occur ...

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Jansi Kimonko (UDEGEH)

Jansi Kimonko (1905–1949) was the first writer to emerge among the Udegeh, a native people numbering about two thousand who live in the woodlands in the Far South of Eastern Siberia, near the Sea of Okhotsk. Their territory is close to the Amur River and the present city of Khabarovsk. Kimonko represents the older generation of emerging authors among the Native Siberian peoples. ...

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From Where the Sukpai Rushes Along

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pp. 197-199

Oh, Sukpai River—native land of my father and grandfathers! My forefathers discovered you. Following the tracks of the otter, they came to you from the Samarga River. They came to your very headwaters, first ascending ...

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Anna Nerkagi (TUNDRA NENETS)

Born in 1952, Anna Nerkagi is a Nenets writer from the Yamal Peninsula in the Far North of West Siberia. After graduating from Tyumen Industrial University, she published her first autobiographical story, “Aniko of the Nogo Clan,” in 1977. Then she faced a life crisis. Influenced by the American author Jack London and his writings of the Alaskan North, Nerkagi was torn between ...

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From The Horde

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pp. 202-209

I am afraid of my own prophecies because my presentiments come true. This requires caution with the Word, especially with the one that comes from the spirit at the peak of elation, like a strange illness. When the mind is hot, the inner vision sees things that go unnoticed in a normal state. Then it is possible to see all, ...

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Leonty Taragupta (KHANTY)

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pp. 210-235

A Khanty poet and folklorist, Leonty Taragupta was born in 1945 in the village of Poslovy in the Yamal-Nenets autonomous region. Educated at the Teacher’s College of Salekhard and the Chelyabinsk Cultural Institute, he has been recording Khanty folklore since 1975. He is a member of the Academic Institute of the Yugra-Obs people in Salekhard, where ...

Son of the Sky

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pp. 211-212

The Prayer of the Bear

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pp. 213-217

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Yuri Rytkheu (CHUKCHEE)

Yuri Rytkheu (1930–2008), a Chukchee writer, was born in t he small village of Uelen on the Chukotka Peninsula, the easternmost extremity of the Siberian Russian Arctic. His heritage was that of a coastal big-sea game-hunting and warrior culture. His name—rit-geu—which he received from his grandfather, means the Unknown One. ...

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Kakot’s Numbers

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pp. 220-237

Kakot himself stood aside, keeping silent, his face full of deliberation and suffering. His eyes traced the wandering shoreline of Stoneheart Point, beyond the harbor where the Maud, locked in ice, was spending the winter. The mere idea that he would leave this gray ship was unbearable to him. ...

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Evenk Invocation for Good Fortune: To Nature, When the Green Recedes

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pp. 239-265

Dear Mother, your golden ears have heard my words resound like the cawing of the crows. You have seen me from beneath your dense brows. Don’t worry, dear Mother. Please don’t think that I’ve come with bad news. Your little children, the birds, who have found refuge on your warm bosom, depart now happy, ...

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A Note on Translation

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pp. 241-245

Alexander Vaschenko once told a reporter that contemporary Siberia represents a “Wild East” similar to America’s “Wild West.” Archaeologists and Native American scholars have long believed that the “Indians” migrated to North America from Siberian regions, across a land bridge through the Bering Strait to Alaska; settlement by way of sea travel has ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 246-247

This book is the culmination of twenty years of collaboration between its editors, a personal and professional association that began with mutual respect for the late Aurelius Piper, Chief Big Eagle of Connecticut’s Paugussett Indians, whose dream to create a dialogue between Native Americans ...

Suggestions for Further Reading

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pp. 248-250