Human Ecology pp 213-223 | Cite as

Following Netting: The Cultural Ecology of Viliui Sakha Households in Post-Soviet Siberia

  • Susan Crate


The transition from a communist infrastructure to a market economy presents a great challenge to indigenous agropastoralists of the former Soviet Union. Sakha (Yakut) are a Turkic-speaking people, today numbering approximately 360,000, who inhabit the Sakha Republic of northeastern Siberia, Russia. Rural Sakha practice horse and cattle breeding, a subsistence strategy brought to the northern latitudes by their southern Turkic ancestors in the fifteenth century (Ksenofontov 1992; Gogolov 1980, 1993; Forsyth 1992). Tungus, most notably Evenk, and nonagropastoralist Sakha were the reindeer-herding inhabitants of the Viliui Regions prior to colonization by Sakha agropastoralists. Today rural Evenk, Even, Yukagir, and Dolgan ethnic groups also inhabit the Sakha Republic, where they herd reindeer, hunt, fish, and forage. Viliui Sakha are located in the Viliui River watershed areas of the western Sakha Republic. Along with Sakha of the central regions, they make up the two ethnic enclaves of horse and cattle breeding Sakha, the highest latitude practicing agropastoralists in the world today. Sakha constitute the majority in the Viliui watershed, where one-third of the total Sakha population lives.


Household Type Ethnic Enclave Soviet Period Subsistence Strategy Herd Reindeer 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science and PolicyGeorge Mason UniversityManassasUSA

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