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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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Out of Range

Out of Range

(p.60) (p.61) 4 Out of Range
On the Run in Siberia

Rane Willerslev

University of Minnesota Press

In this chapter, the author describes his travel to a remote log cabin near the Omulevka River, close to the Kolyma mountain range, about 100 miles south of the Siberian village of Nelemnoye. There, the author was trying to elude possible arrest by the police in Zyryanka for alleged illegal trade and poaching. With help from friends such as Ivan Danilov and Yura and Slava Sinitskiy, he rode on a snowmobile with a heavily packed sled on the way to the cabin. It is a wretched, neglected log cabin. Among the Yukaghirs who lived in the area, the bear is regarded as a powerful shaman who functions as an intermediary between the spirit of the forest and the prey animals, just like the indigenous peoples’ own shamans. The bear’s special, elevated status among the Yukaghirs, as among many other northern hunting peoples, probably has less to do with its size and strength than with its special, anthropomorphic qualities. The author talks about his “bear paranoia” and the Yukaghirs’ bear-hunting ritual.

Keywords:   log cabin, Omulevka River, Kolyma mountain range, Siberia, Nelemnoye, Zyryanka, Yukaghir, bear, hunting, Ivan Danilov

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