Screenshot from the video (source: Youtube)A group of Dolgan herders have released few time ago a parody of the hit  "Mark Ronson - Uptown Funk ft. Bruno Mars". The song, available on youtube with English subtitles, describes with irony and pride life " all around the Polar Circle", where "who cares if it gets below fifty in winter".

Beside being a very fun parody of the more popular pop-song, the song provides also a very good insight on the people living in the Russian Arctic. 

 

Looking at "The People of the Red Book", to undersatnd who are the Dolgans, it reads: "the self-designation is dolghan, dulghan (meaning probably 'people living on the middle reaches of the river'), but the following names have also been used: toa, pl. toalar, toakihi, pl. toakihilär 'people of the wood', toatagolar 'nomadic people', tagal or tägäl, 'a tribe, a people'. The self-designation of the Yakuts, haka or saha, has also been recorded. In 1935--59 the self-designation of the Yakuts, saha, was used as an official Russian name for the Dolgans inhabiting the Taimyr National Territory. The Dolgans themselves do not identify with the Yakuts, and they actually differ considerably from the Yakuts in their language and their ethnic culture. The variety of self-designations reflects the ethnic history of the Dolgans, and the relatively short span this history encompasses. The name Dolgan became known outside the tribe itself only as late as the 19th century".

 

Another website, Arcticphoto, adds "the Dolgans live on the Taymyr Peninsula in the central Siberian Arctic. They number about 7,000 and nowadays, they are mainly to be found living in settlements along the Dudypta, Kheta and Khatanga Rivers as well as the shores of Khatanga Bay. The Khatanga area, for example, has an average January temperature of minus 33.8° Celsius with frequent winter storms. Just to the south of their territory in Taymyr lies the port of Dudinka and the industrial town of Norilsk whose pollutants are found right across the Arctic. Their traditional economy is based on a combination of reindeer breeding, hunting wild reindeer, as well as other game, trapping and fishing. The reindeer herders follow the common system of moving north in the spring and south in the autumn following traditional migration routes. These are changed each year, so that the group returns to the original route every fourth year, depending on the condition of the pastures. Slaughtering of domestic reindeer is normally done in November, when the reindeer are closest to the herders' villages. Dolgan reindeer herders use baloks rather than tents. These are small huts, mounted on sled runners and insulated with reindeer skin. They have small stoves in them which burn coal that the herders bring form the villages. Most Dolgans nowadays live in settlements. Often these villages are small with only a few hundred people with wooden houses heated by coal. The facilities are usually very basic with no mains water or sewage system."

 

However, the reader may get a better understanding listening to the song, "So if you still question why I stay here living in winter when there's snow everywhere,

I'll tell you, my friend, the reasons for me: Just look at this sky, it's so endless and blue,the valleys are green and covered with dew, The rivers are mighty, the air's crystal clear,the lakes are as clean as a drop of a tear! We pray to the spirits of hunting and fire, Preserving our land is our greatest desire. Late souls of our ancestors are what we admire. So open your heart and take yourself higher!"

 

Whatch the video here. 

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