Living with Koryak Traditions: Playing with Culture in Siberia

Living with Koryak Traditions: Playing with Culture in Siberia

Living with Koryak Traditions: Playing with Culture in Siberia

Living with Koryak Traditions: Playing with Culture in Siberia

Synopsis

What does it mean to be a traditional Koryak in the modern world? How do indigenous Siberians express a culture that entails distinctive customs and traditions? For decades these people, who live on the Kamchatka Peninsula in northeastern Siberia, have been in the middle of contradictory Soviet/Russian colonial policies that celebrate cultural and ethnic difference across Russia yet seek to erase those differences. Government institutions both impose state ideologies of culture and civilization and are sites of community revitalization for indigenous Siberians. In Living with Koryak Traditions, Alexander D. King reveals that, rather than having a single model of Koryak culture, Koryaks themselves are engaged in deep debates and conversations about what "culture" and "tradition" mean and how they are represented for native peoples, both locally and globally. To most Koryaks, tradition does not function simply as an identity marker but also helps to maintain moral communities and support vulnerable youth in dire times. Debunking an immutable view of tradition and culture, King presents a dynamic one that validates contemporary indigenous peoples' lived experience.
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