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Encyclopedia > Yenets

The Yenets people, or Yenetses, Entsy, Entsi, Yenisei, Yenisei-Samoyed, Yenisey Samoyeds or Yeniseian people are a traditionally nomadic people who live on the east bank, near the mouth, of the Yenisei River, many in the village of Potalovo in the Taimyr Autonomous Territory, Taymyria of Krasnoyarsk Krai in western Siberia near the arctic circle. There are about 300 Yenets.

Their language is called Yeniseian, one of the Samoyedic languages. They still speak their languge, but education is in Russian so there is fear they may lose their languge.

The town of Potalovo was visited in the late 1990s by the British travel writer, Colin Thubron who found the Entsy deculturated and demoralized, beset with problems of alcoholism. The reindeer collective established in Nikita Khrushchev's day had been severely impacted by acid rain from the nickel smelters at Norilsk. A fur farm which raises fox was similarly diminished. About half the population was unemployed with a few employed in reindeer herding on the west side of the river, the remainder living by fishing in the Yenisei River. Fisherman from Potalovo sometimes catch red sturgeon and Omul a type of Salmon as well as char, gang fish and northern pike. Thubron mentions a salted fish product called muksun.

Some social services continue to be provided by the Russian government, a small hospital, with a doctor and a few nurses; schools, although older children must attend in Dudinka to the north; and small pensions. The electric plant had recently burned and electricity was provided intermittently by a generator. Life expectancy is 45 with many dying violent deaths due to family violence and fighting.

Further reading

  • The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire, ISBN 9985936922 This book may be ordered from its Estonian publisher at http://www.redbook.ee/english.html
  • Colin Thubron, In Siberia, HarperCollins, 1999, hardcover, 287 pages, ISBN 0060195436; British editions, Chatto & Williams or Sinclair Stevenson, October, 1999, hardcover, 320 pages, ISBN 1856197980; trade paperback, Penguin, September, 2000, 384 pages, ISBN 014026860X

External link

  • Article on the Enets in The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire online version (http://www.eki.ee/books/redbook/enets.shtml)


  Results from FactBites:
history of siberia (1303 words)
During the great migrations in Asia from east to west many populations were probably driven to the northern borders of the great plateau and thence compelled to descend into Siberia; succeeding waves of immigration forced them still farther towards the barren grounds of the north, where they melted away.
According to Radlov, the earliest inhabitants of Siberia were the Yeniseians, who spoke a language different from the Ural-Altaic; some few traces of them (Yenets or Yeniseians, Sayan-Ostiaks, and Kottes) exist among the Sayan Mountains.
The Yeniseians were followed by the Ugro-Samoyedes, who also came originally from the high plateau and were compelled, probably during the great migration of the Huns in the 3rd century BC, to cross the Altai and Sayan ranges and to enter Siberia.
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