Telengit


Telengit

"Not to be confused with the unrelated Tlingit people of the Pacific Northwest coast of America.

Telengits or Telengut are a Turkic people people living in Altai Republic, Russia. Telengits mainly live in a territory of Kosh-Agach District of the Altai Republic. They are part of a larger cultural group of the Southern Altaians. These other groups include: Altai, Telengut and Tolos. [Halemba, Agnieszka E. “The Altai, the Altaians, and the Telengits.” The Telengits of Southern Siberia: landscape, religion and knowledge in motion. New York: Routledge, 2006. pg. 17]

Background

Since there are many groups that live in the Altai region, it is often difficult to distinguish between the different groups. The territorial groupings are somewhat fluid. Telengits (or Telengut) live along the Chuya River in the western Altai, and call themselves Chui-kizhi (Chuya men). [ L. Krader. "A Nativistic Movement in Western Siberia." pg 284] Sometimes they are even living intermixed with other groups that live in the area around the river. With this intermixing, it is often difficult to establish boundaries and distinguish the individual groups. There are no sharp distinctions among the different subgroups of the Altaians, identified as they are by the territory they occupy. [ L. Krader. "A Nativistic Movement in Western Siberia." pg 284] This inevitably caused many problems, including how to ethnically classify themselves. It was the political leaders of the Ulagan district who first advocated that the Telengits be recognized as a separate indigenous group within Russian law. [ A. Halemba. "The Altai, the Altaians and the Telengits." pg 21] Before this point, there was often confusion because the Telengits were classified under the Altaians. Even after the Telengits were classified as a separate group, there was still discrepancies as to what sub-groups would be included under the ethnic group of the Telengits.

In 2000, Telengits were listed as part of “Small Numbered Indigenous Peoples of the Russian Federation on the Russian and Soviet censuses. [Halemba, Agnieszka E. “The Altai, the Altaians, and the Telengits.” "The Telengits of Southern Siberia: landscape, religion and knowledge in motion." New York: Routledge, 2006. pg 15]

In 2002, they were considered their own category on the censuses. In this year there were 2,398 Telengits living in the territory of the republic. However, this number may be wrong because of the context of the census questions, many Telengits, 8,000 or 9,000 would consider themselves Altaians and not Telengits. [Halemba, Agnieszka E. “The Altai, the Altaians, and the Telengits.” "The Telengits of Southern Siberia: landscape, religion and knowledge in motion." New York: Routledge, 2006. pg 15]

In 2004, the NGO ‘Development of the Telengit People’ was established. This group is an active part in the local political area in regard to issues of Telengit land rights. [ Halemba, Agnieszka E. “The Altai, the Altaians, and the Telengits.” "The Telengits of Southern Siberia: landscape, religion and knowledge in motion." New York: Routledge, 2006. pg 15 ]

Connection to the land

The Altaians and the Telengits feel a connection to the land that they live on. They are supposed to worship their special homeland that is to be considered sacred. The Telengits say that if an Altaian leaves the Altai, he or she will become ill and die. This is not because of any longing or emotional distress, but because of physical separation. [ Halemba, Agnieszka E. “The Altai, the Altaians, and the Telengits.” "The Telengits of Southern Siberia: landscape, religion and knowledge in motion." New York: Routledge, 2006. pg 18] After they have lived on the land they become one with it. That is why it is so severe when someone is separated from their homeland.

ee also

* Altay language
* Altayans
* Teleuts (is probably another possible name of this people)
* Turkic peoples

References


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