Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources: The Way of Kinship

By Elizabeth Bissell Miller
Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources

vaschenko_wayThe Way of Kinship: An Anthology of Native Siberian Literature External link is an important step in cataloging the richness of Russia’s eastern literary tradition, which is a vastly understudied genre in Russian literature generally. Indeed, The Way of Kinship External link clearly demonstrates that the simple process of collecting oral tradition is crucial. What are the tales of these people? How do they compare with tales of other indigenous peoples? What does this “Russian” literature have in common with the other “high” Russian literature? Do we see Tolstoy or Gogol? Lermontov? Is Soviet realism present? How? Where?

On second thought, perhaps the recent “emergence” of native literatures says more about us than about the “natives”. Why did it take so long to catalogue these stories? And, if these literary works appear in an anthology of Siberian literature rather than a standard anthology of Russian literature, do we risk relegating them to dusty ethnographic shelves instead of truly integrating them into our rich academic curriculum? Have we saved the stories only to forget them?