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Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 2.104
Human-animal relations in hybrid settler communities of Far East Russia
Across the circumpolar north, women of diverse Indigenous communities have been keepers of the hearth—in many cultural contexts a deeply symbolic center piece, in which fire represents a communicative nexus between human aims and the intentions of a sentient environment. In this context, sustainable land subsistence is unthinkable without maintaining balanced reciprocity with landscape spirits understood to govern the life and movement of all animals. Syncretic reconciliation of Indigenous and ethnic Russian cosmologies has been problematized in the literature as dvoeverie (dual faith), a phenomenon well known from Slavic settler communities dating as far back as the Ancient Rus' of the 9th century. As part of a larger research proposal, the author attempts in this paper to revisit the role of hybridized Settler-Indigenous cosmologies in the formation of ongoing and newly emerging self-defined métis identities of the Russian Far East. The aim is to suggest an alternative approach to Métis Studies at large – one in which historical and contemporary animal-human encounters are taken seriously as a basis for cultural and ethnic identity formation.