Indigenous Peoples of Primorsky Region: Ethnicity and Identity

Ermak Galina (Vladivostok, Russia)

Indigenous Peoples of Primorsky Region: Ethnicity and Identity

(57th Annual Meeting of the PIAC Vladivostok, 2014)

The population of Primorsky region includes the Russian majority and such ethnic minority groups as indigenous peoples, Russian-speaking community of Korean descent, immigrants from Mountainous Region of Caucasus, guest – workers from Central Asian states, Moslem families, and Chinese migrants. This situation gives to a researcher a good opportunity for better understanding the phenomenon of ethnicity.

The Indigenous peoples are considered to be a special group. The total number of Primorye natives is 1876. (Udihe – 793 persons, Nani -383 persons, Taz – 253 persons and other, by Population Census of 2010). My report contains the results from the analysis of interplay between ethnicity and identity of the native-speaking peoples who inhabited the land long before the Russians arrived. Interviewing was our method to collect data. To interpret the data, we used the methodological approach developed by current social anthropology. The modern societies entail such qualities as dynamism, variability, and instability. Identity concepts also advocate the idea of continuity of social changes, survivability of a particular society or individual directly depending on their ability to adapt to changes, either locally or globally.

Today there exist Ethno-Cultural Associations (ECO) – the institutionally formalized structures intended to reproduce the sense of self-esteem within the native small-numbered peoples. There are 20 Native “Small Numbered” Peoples’ ECOs in Primorski Krai. Ethnicity is the number one priority in the system of social identities among the following social strata of indigenous peoples: active members of ethnically concerned associations, aged people, creative professionals, and those who depend on traditional economy (hunting, fishery). Our research has shown that Indigenous peoples demonstrate multiple identity, their social identity includes deeply rooted in the abyss of consciousness the culturally determined constants of aboriginal microcosm combined with the Russian tradition.