Ket people

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Kets (Кеты in Russian) are a Siberian people who speak the Ket language. In Imperial Russia they were called ostyaks, without differentiating them from several other Siberian peoples. Later they became known as Yenisey ostyaks, because they live in the middle and lower basin of the Yenisei River, in the Krasnoyarsk Krai district of Russia.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

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[edit] History

The Ket are thought to be the only survivors of an ancient nomadic people believed to have originally lived throughout central southern Siberia. In the 1960's the Yugh people were distinguished as a separate though similar group. Today's Kets are the descendants of the tribes of fishermen and hunters of the Yenisey taiga, who adopted some of the cultural ways of those original Ket-speaking tribes of South Siberia. The earlier tribes engaged in hunting, fishing, and even reindeer breeding in the northern areas.<ref name="vajda">Template:Cite web</ref>

The Ket were incorporated into the Russian state in the 17th century. Their efforts to resist were futile as the Russians deported them to different places to break up their resistance. This also broke up their strictly organized patriarchal social system and their way of life disintegrated. The Ket people ran up huge debts with the Russians. Some died of famine, other of diseases imported from Europe. By the 19th century the Kets could no longer survive without food support from the Russian state.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

In the 20th century, the Soviets forced collectivization upon the Ket. They were officially recognized as Kets in 1930s when the Soviet Union started to implement the self-definition policy with respect to indigenous peoples. However, Ket traditions continued to be suppressed and self-initiative discouraged. Collectivization was completed by the 1950s and the Russian lifestyle and language forced upon the Ket people.

The population of Kets has been relatively stable since 1923. According to the 2002 census, there were 1494 Kets in Russia. This compares with 1200 in the 1970 census. Today the Ket live in small villages along the riverside and are no longer nomadic.

[edit] Language

The Ket language is a language isolate like Basque in Spain, completely unrelated to neighboring languages, and contains many typologically rare linguistic features.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Ket means "man" (plural deng "men, people"). The Kets of the Kas, Sym and Dubches rivers use jugun as a self-designation. In 1788 P.S. Pallas published the earliest observations about the Ket language in a travel diary.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

In 1926, there were 1,428 Kets, of which 1225 (85.8%) were native speakers of the Ket language. The 1989 census counted 1,113 ethnic Kets with only 537 (48.3%) native speakers left.

Today the Ket language is still spoken by about 600 of the Ket. It is entirely different from any other language in Siberia.<ref name="vajda"/>

[edit] Ancestry

Anthropologically, the Kets have Mongoloid and Uralic features. The colour of their skin and eyes is lighter than the Mongolians, but darker than the Uralic peoples. Their stature is comparatively short and stout.

In 1843, A. Th. von Middendorff gave the following description:
The Kets are plump with thin legs and a staggering walk, flitting eyes and a jerky talk. In spite of their Mongolian features they look quite alike the Finns.

Recent Y chromosome DNA evidence shows that the Kets are related to many Native American tribes. The Kets gene is also present in Irish, Basque and has a particularly high occurrence amongst Welsh males.<ref> Y : The Descent of Men by Steve Jones, ISBN 0-618-13930-3 (retrieved 20 June 2006).</ref>

[edit] Notes

<references/>

[edit] References

  • A. Th. von Middendorff, Reis Taimхrile, Tallinn 1987

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

es:Ket it:Ket ru:Кеты sh:Keti

Ket people

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