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When the North Was Red

When the North Was Red: Aboriginal Education in Soviet Siberia

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  • Book Info
    When the North Was Red
    Book Description:

    Early Soviet policy towards northern Native peoples was aimed at establishing Aboriginal nations that retained traditional languages and occupations and included Native peoples in Soviet institutions such as schools, collective farms, and the Communist Party. However, the success of these initiatives varied. While boarding schools provided new educational and occupational opportunities for Aboriginal peoples, traditional occupations and Native languages suffered.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6557-9
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. 1 Approaches to Soviet Policy towards Northern and Far Eastern Peoples
    (pp. 3-14)

    After our field-work in the USSR in 1981–82, we began to look for theoretical frameworks to organize and interpret our data and to characterize the results of Soviet policy towards northern peoples. We first considered the sociological/anthropological concepts of structural/cultural integration, assimilation, and Russification. According to a popular introductory sociology book, “Structural integration refers to the full participation of various groups in the dominant set of institutions, such as schools, banks, and churches. Cultural integration refers to the adoption by various groups of the dominant ideas, traditions, languages, life styles, values and religions. It is cultural integration that most...

  2. 2 Pre-revolutionary Conditions
    (pp. 15-28)

    In order to determine the impact of Soviet policy on northern peoples it is necessary to have some idea of what their lives were like before the Bolshevik Revolution. Pre-revolutionary conditions among certain northern peoples were described in detail by Leo Sternberg (1861–1927), Waldemar Jochelson (1855–1937), and Waldemar Bogoras (1865–1936), three prominent ethnographers who, during periods of political exile in Siberia during late Tsarist times, carried out extensive ethnographic research on the Chukchi, Koryak, Nivkhi, Yukagir, and other northern groups. Until the late 1980s most Soviet sources claimed that, in late Tsarist times, the “Small Peoples” suffered...

  3. 3 Early Soviet Policy
    (pp. 29-49)

    Immediately after the Bolshevik Revolution the new Soviet government promulgated a Declaration of the Rights of Peoples of Russia, which guaranteed the right to self-determination and the abolition of religious and ethnic discrimination. Stalin was appointed Peoples’ Commissar for Nationalities.

    But Soviet rule in the north and far east did not effectively begin until the end of the civil war, which lasted longer in Siberia than in western Russia. Japanese troops, sent to Siberia ostensibly to assist Tsarist forces in the civil war, were not driven from the far east until 1924. In some areas northern peoples assisted the Red...

  4. 4 Stalin and After
    (pp. 50-61)

    Consolidation of power by Stalin and his followers in the Communist Party in the late 1920s was followed in 1934–35 by the dissolution of the Committee of the North and the reversal of some of its policies. Other early policies apparently remained intact, or continued by inertia. The Second World War drew practically all northern people into Soviet institutions, as men were conscripted and women joined the work-force in increasing numbers, often doing jobs traditionally regarded as men’s work. The loss of life and hardship caused by the war and the difficulties of the post-war years were followed by...

  5. 5 Northern Education during the 1980s
    (pp. 62-79)

    In this chapter we focus on processes of northern consolidation, Sovietization, and consolidation in education programs for northern peoples during the 1980s. We attempt to describe these processes on the basis of our observations and interviews at the Faculty of Peoples of Northern Regions (FPNR), the Institute of National Schools (INS), Education Publishers in Leningrad, and various educational institutions in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. These processes are also reflected in the ideological content of primers in northern languages.

    After the Institute of the North was closed, training of northern teachers in Leningrad was taken over by the Herzen Pedagogical Institute...

  6. 6 Perestroika, the Association of Northern Peoples, and the End of the USSR
    (pp. 80-93)

    This chapter, focusing on the Association of northern peoples, covers the last years of the Soviet Union. Consolidation, Sovietization, and northern consolidation, their contradictions, and the new uncertainties created byperestroikaled to the formation of the Association of Northern Peoples (ANP), which sought political solutions to social and economic problems faced by northerners. Representatives of the northern peoples attended the founding congress of the ANP in early 1990. In this chapter we shall describe some of the problems addressed by the ANP and assess the association’s proposed solutions in light of the processes we have described, and in light...

  7. 7 Postscript: Some Comparisons between Soviet and Canadian Policy towards Aboriginal Peoples
    (pp. 94-98)

    Comparisons between Canadian and Soviet policy towards northern/aboriginal peoples during the 1920s and 1930s are interesting historically, and they raise issues that are still unresolved. Here we shall compare some of the major features of these policies and deal with some of the legacies of these policies that northern/aboriginal peoples currently face.

    In most (but not all) parts of Canada, state policy during the 1920s and 1930s was aimed at assimilation of indigenous peoples to Anglo-Canadian or French Canadian culture (Tobias 1976; Dickerson 1992, 37–8). Assimilation was promoted by compulsory attendance at boarding-schools, where aboriginal pupils were compelled to...

  8. APPENDIX ONE Occupational Data on Families of FPNR Students
    (pp. 101-102)
  9. APPENDIX TWO Benefits for Students at the Herzen Pedagogical Institute, 1981–1982
    (pp. 103-103)
  10. APPENDIX THREE Graduates of the Faculty of Peoples of Northern Regions, 1952–1965
    (pp. 104-104)
  11. APPENDIX FOUR Curricula and Required Work for FPNR Programs, 1981–82
    (pp. 105-114)