Russian Influence in Present-day Ethnobotany and Ethnomedicine of Chukotka

Date and Time: 
Friday, 18 March, 2016 - 14:30
, Kevin - University of Alaska
, Olga - European University in St. Petersburg
, Valeria - Institute of Linguistic Studies in St. Petersburg
, Darlene - University of Alaska
, Maria - Institute of Linguistic Studies in St. Petersburg

The authors worked from 2014-2015 with 95 Naukan and Chukchi participants, in six villages in the Russian Far Eastern region of Chukotka, to document local plants used for food, medicine and spiritual purposes, as well as illness explanatory models. Voucher specimens of 41 useful species were collected from the local arctic tundra. The study region underwent significant acculturation in the Soviet period due to collectivization of herding brigades, establishment of schools and termination of village sites deemed unsuitable for collectivist living. This led to changes in spiritual worldview, subsistence, social structure and language proficiency. Acculturation has involved a reduction in the number of wild species gathered for food as diets shifted to include store-bought food. On the other hand, the number of local species considered to be medicinal has actually increased, as people came to view treatment of illness in more physical and less spiritual terms.