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Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 2.104
Métis communities of Yakutia: Identity construction and ethno-cultural representation
Today, representatives of the métissé (or Russian old settler) communities of Yakutia, living in different parts of this region of the Russian Federation, do not see themselves as being a separate, distinctive and cohesive community. Despite a history of contact and interaction as well as markers of a shared historical past, each of these communities has its own localized identity, which prevents the formation of a “super-community” of Métis at the regional, let alone national, level. Another major feature of these groups is nonetheless a historical memory, which is largely based on the myth of their origins, which plays a more important role than perceived racial features, language, or even cultural practices. If, in the USSR, the state policy influenced the centuries old Russian legacy in Yakutia and the identity of these communities to a greater extent, in the contemporary Russian state, the process of actively constructing ethnic identities plays a more important role than was the case under Soviet rule. Most often, the engine of this process of ethnic revival are the local “activists” who model and popularize their own interpretation of the ethnicity of the community, thereby shaping the ways their existence is marked in the public space of these communities.