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.
- 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
- 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)