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"Interrelating Shamans, Politics, Ecology and Spirituality in Siberia”

New Student Center Room 230
Speaker(s) / Presenter(s):
Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer (Georgetown University)


Siberian indigenous peoples' intertwined striving for self-determination and spiritual vitality has been an impressive trend in the past twenty years, but their efforts are threatened by political, social and ecological change. This talk, based on long-term fieldwork in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) and beyond, probes the implications of indigenous peoples’ concerns. Focus is on the Sakha (Yakut), who are the farthest North of the Turkic language speakers and the majority indigenous group of their multiethnic republic in the Far East of the Russian Federation. Since the Soviet Union collapsed, they have been coping with the tensions of increased development, mixed signal federal policies and valiant attempts at cultural revitalization. How far do the ripple effects of climate change go? How do indigenous land keepers discuss the dangers and potential remedies of change? Are indigenous peoples yet again at the forefront of human rights abuses?

Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer is Research Professor at Georgetown University in the Anthropology Department and the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies (CERES).

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