January 2002
Arctic Anthropology;2002, Vol. 39 Issue 1/2, p134
Academic Journal
Recent field research in the Viliui regions of the Sakha Republic, Russia shows that post-Soviet survival is dependent on a household-level system the author calls cows-and-kin. Dependence on local household-based subsistence strategies in times of change is the foundational concept of Robert Netting's cultural ecology theory. One key component to the resiliency of these household systems is indigenous knowledge. Life history interviews with 54 Sakha elders reveal life experiences that bear invaluable indigenous ecological knowledge. Presently, however, local, regional, and state efforts to document elder accounts of the recent past are nonexistent. Additionally, youth are disinterested and unknowledgeable about their local history. The cows-and-kin system is dependent on indigenous knowledge. Therefore, elders' oral histories are an invaluable resource for the continuation of present-day native subsistence practices and the failure to document them is a failure to facilitate contemporary Viliui Sakha survival.


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