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On the Run in Siberia$
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Rane Willerslev

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816676262

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816676262.001.0001

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Shalugin, Leader of the Yukaghirs

Shalugin, Leader of the Yukaghirs

(p.6) (p.7) 1 Shalugin, Leader of the Yukaghirs
On the Run in Siberia

Rane Willerslev

University of Minnesota Press

In this chapter, the author narrates his meeting with Kolya Shalugin, a Yukaghir from Siberia who served as first director of the Teki Odulok obshchina (commune), for the Danish-Yukaghir Fur Project. In Siberia, the Yukaghirs’ primary source of income is the sable (Martes zibellina). The most prized sable fur is blue-black with scattered silver hairs and is known as “black diamond.” Within the Soviet state, the indigenous hunters performed the same function as they had under the czars, providing profit for their “masters” by hunting and trapping fur-bearing animals. The situation after the collapse of Communism is no better; in fact it is much worse. The Yakutian state enterprise, Sakhabult, now controls the fur trade and takes all the profit. This chapter focuses on Shalugin’s trip to Copenhagen, Denmark to meet the author and Uffe Refslund Christensen, the latter’s friend and partner in the Danish-Yukaghir Fur Project. It also describes Shalugin’s relationship to religion, his decision to be baptized as a Christian in Denmark, and the Yukaghirs’ encounter with Christianity.

Keywords:   fur trade, Kolya Shalugin, Yukaghir, Siberia, Danish-Yukaghir Fur Project, sable, hunting, Sakhabult, Denmark, Christianity

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