Selling walruses. Marine Hunters of Chukotka in market conditions

Lead Author Anastasia, Yarzutkina
Institution Contact Chukotka branch of North-Eastern Federal University. Russia, Anadyr, Studencheskaya st. 3. Tel. +79246663677
Co-Authors Nikolay Kulik, Chukotka branch of North-Eastern Federal University, Russia
Theme Theme 3: Local and Traditional Knowledge
Session Name 3.2 Local and traditional knowledge in supporting business and community development in indigenous regions of the North
Datetime Thu, Sep 15, 2016 11:15 AM - Wed, Jun 08, 2016 11:30 AM
Presentation Type Oral
Abstract text Indigenous residents of the Asian part of Bering Strait coast have been nourished by the very ancient marine mammal hunting for centuries. The 20th century has brought tremendous political and economic changes in Russia, which entailed the transformation of this customary activity of indigenous peoples of Chukotka. Marine mammal hunting has experienced both comprehensive government assistance during Soviet times and the absolute indifference of the State in post-Soviet nineties. In the early 21th century the preservation of this extincting traditional activity has become a political slogan of the regional authorities of Chukotka. The financial assistance of the State and public efforts made the functioning sea fishery along the coast of the Chukchi Peninsula possible. Currently it exists as activities of eight Indigenous communities. About 230 sea hunters – members of these communities – procure about 2 500 tons of marine mammals a year.
These people are paid from the State, but this support stipulates that meat, skins and tusks of marine mammals are to be sold under the specified tariffs. The business model proposed by the regional government is not always consonant with traditional attitudes and economic stereotypes of indigenous people. For example, selling the meat for money to the villagers, many of whom are related to the hunters, contravenes the tradition of free sharing and distribution of the catch. However, new economic conditions and financial needs focus the sea hunters on search of the additional sources of income. Tourist hunting shows and walrus tusk souvenirs are the most common ways of earnings conforming to the traditional value system of indigenous people. The cultural products, but not gifts of nature are for sale in this case.
The report will consider the organization of daily activities of marine mammal hunters’ community, corporate culture and informal rules governing the activities of hunters in the context of traditional Chukchi and Eskimo ethical norms of human interaction with nature and society.
 Download to your calendar