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Feeding the land: the importance of paying attention to Sakha language with Traditional Ecological Knowledge

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Sakha Republic (Yakutia), autoethnography, Traditional Ecological knowledge, Sakha language, language usage

Abstract (summary)

Through (auto)ethnographic research in the Amga and Megino-Khangalas uluses (districts) in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), in this article, we discuss the intrinsic importance of paying close attention to Indigenous languages when exploring Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). Here, language refers not only to vocabulary but also to the kinds of communicative practices or speech acts used to transmit or talk about TEK, especially those that reveal the indivisibility of the physical and spiritual elements in many Indigenous ontologies. Through the presentation of narratives of two researchers—one ethnically Sakha, one not—we highlight the centrality of language to maintaining the integrity of TEK and other Indigenous knowledge. We argue that not only must language be centered and documented to reflect the importance of language choice, but terminology should be situated within stories or narratives to best reveal connections of language to ontology, highlighting the interconnectedness of language and knowledge.

Publication Information

Sidorova, E. & Ferguson, J. (2023), Feeding the Land: The Importance of Paying Attention to Sakha Language with Traditional Ecological Knowledge. Anthropology and Humanism, 48: 6-24.


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