Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
Oral Presentation Session
This paper is based on the preliminary findings of the doctoral ethnographic research in the Sakha Republic, Russian Federation. The Sakha Republic presents a compelling research location as it has largely been developed as a natural resource-rich colony, exploited for economic and political benefit of the Russian central government. Drawing on the works of James Scott (1985, 1990), Stuart Kirsch (2002), Luise White (1993, 2000), and Michael Taussig (1980), I focus on rumors and gossip, created and spread by the indigenous villagers, around the Tomtor Taas large-scale rare metals extraction site, planned to start activity in 2023 in the Olenyek indigenous territory. I argue that the rumors, gossip, and other extraordinary stories represent not only the local concerns over environmental conditions, but, moreso, they reflect the local cultural conflicts and complex experiences of the local indigenous population with the post-Soviet state in which indigenous subjects experience intense governmental interventions, de-modernization processes, and marginalization. Additionally, my ethnographic project focuses on local unpredictable and at times contradictory narratives and articulations of dissent at the intersection of regional, national, and global histories, and, particularly, their potential to challenge and subvert the Soviet and post-Soviet official orthodoxies.