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Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 2.104
Métissage: The Izhma Komi of Russia and French Métis of Canada Compared
Though the Izhma Komi are not understood as being the product of métissage, they nonetheless share all the classic attributes assigned to Canada’s Métis peoples. They moved into territory that had traditionally been occupied by indigenous peoples such as the Nenets who relied on reindeer and the northern Komi shifted from hunting, trapping and farming to reindeer herding supplemented by some limited farming and keeping of livestock. Thus, like the [French-]Canadien moving north and west to pursue work and trade, they adopted the technology and skills of their indigenous neighbors and were able to develop a distinctive culture which integrated reindeer-herding, while privileging their role as free traders developing an intensive form of reindeer herding that allowed successful families to become prosperous traders in Imperial Russia. Thus, the Izhma-Komi are in many ways a product of métissage and like the Métis in that they came to see themselves as a distinct population, the Izhma-Komi are both a part of the larger Komi world, but also a distinctive population with its own culture and traditions. This presentation will touch upon issues of ethnogenesis in the context of larger colonial empires and the ways in which culture and identity is created and maintained both past and present.