CHUKCHI, people, the principal indigenous pop. of the NE of the RF. Total pop. (2002) 15,827. Boundaries of the distrib. area: the Kolyma R. in the W, the Arctic Oc. and Bering S. coast in the N and E, the Penzhina R. and mount. massifs of N Kamchatka in the S. The design. “C.”, used in the adm. documents in the 19-20th cent., is derived from the self-name of the tundra C.—chauchu, chavchavyt (rich in reind.). The coastal C. called themselves arnk’al’yt (maritime p.) or ram’arlyt (coastal dwellers). To distinguish themselves from other tribes, the C. use the self-design. lygo’ravetlyan (real people). (In the 1920s the design. “Lauravetlans” was used officially).The C. belong to the Arctic race: the tundra C. (together with the Koryaks), to the Kamchatka anthropol. type; the coastal C. (together with the Eskimos), to the Bering S. one.The C. lang. belongs to the Chukchi-Kamchatka gr., the integrity of its system testifies to independent development. There are diff. dialects: the E, or Uelen (which formed the basis of the lit. lang.), W (Pevek), Enmylin, Nunligran and Khatyr as well as the Chaun, Yanrakynnot, and Enurmin vernaculars. Dialect distinctions are insignif.The written language based upon the Lat. alphabet, since 1931; upon the Rus. alphabet, since 1936. The C. are the most ancient inhabitants of the mainland areas of the extr. NE of Sib., the bearers of the inland cult. of wild reind. hunters and fishers (Neolithic finds on the Ekytikyveem and Enmyveem rr. and Elgytg L. date back to the 2nd millennium BC).By 500 AD, having already domesticated the reind., the C. started interacting with the Eskimos. As a result, part of the C. turned to settled life at the seacoast. This process at its most intensive in the 14-16th cent., after the Yukagirs penetrated into the valleys of the Kolyma and Anadyr rr, having seized the C.’s seasonal wild reind. hunting grounds. Acc. to hist. legends of the Yukagirs, by the time of their arrival at the Kolyma R. its banks were pop. by the C. The Yukagirs’ migration, which had divided the C. populace in the lower reaches of the Kolyma R., stimulated the devel. of reind. herding among the C. Under the pressure from inland C. hunters, the Eskimo pop. of the Pacific and the Arctic Oc. coasts was partially ousted to other coastal areas, and partially assimilated.


In the 14-15th cent., as a result of the penetration of the Yukagirs into the Anadyr R. valley, the C. were territorially separated from the Koryaks, with whom they had common origin. The earliest and the most accurate testimony of Rus. pathfinders on the C., which at the time numbered 8-9 thou, dates back to the mid-18th cent. By their occup. they were subdivided into “reindeer” (nomadic, but still hunting), “sedentary” (settled marine and wild reind. hunters having a small number of domesticated reind.,), and “unmounted” C. (settled marine and wild reind. hunters having no reind.).The further expansion of the Rus. and Yukagirs along the Anadyr R., their capture of hunting grounds led to the 60-year-long (starting 1720) mil. expansion of the C. to the terr. of the reind. Koryaks. After the liquidation of the Anadyr ostrog in 1771, there were no more obstacles to the penetration of the C. to the S of the Anadyr R. Only after some gr. of the C. had developed reind. herding, Rus. adm. in the person of the chief of Gizhiga fortress finally managed to stop the war in 1781. By the mid-19th cent., the ec. and cult. ties of the C. with the Koryaks had got back to normal and strengthened, which helped the C.’s peaceful expansion far S, deep into the Koryaks’ terr. The Kolyma C. became virtually extinct by the 2nd half of 18th cent. due to smallpox epidemics.

In the 19th cent. the reind. breeding C. resumed their expansion W of the Kolyma R., advancing at the same time S of the Anadyr R. In the late 19th cent. they were already roaming btw the Indigirka and Alazeya rr., occupying vast spaces from the Pacific coast in the E to the Indigirka R. in the W and Kamchatka Isthmus in the S.By that time the principal terr. groups of the C. had formed: Indigirka-Alazeya, W Kolyma, Maly-Anyui, Bolshoi-Anyui, Upper-Anadyr, Chaun, Shelaga (Cape Erri), Onmylan (inland), Telkep (Tuman), a gr. on Bolshaya (Velikaya) R., Belaya R., Pekulnei gr. on Chukotka Pen. among the reind. (tundra) C.; the Pacific coast gr., Bering S. coast N of Cape Chaplin gr., the Arctic coast gr. among the coastal (maritime) C. The C. totaled (1897 pop. census) 11,751: c.60% tundra and c.40% coastal pop., living in 78 settls.

At present the descendants of the coastal C. live together with a part of the tundra C. in the vills.: Aion, Ust-Chaun, Ryrkaipi, Vankarem, Nutepelmen, Ushakovskoe, Enurmino, Inchoun, Uelen, Lorino, Yanrakynnot, Novoe Chaplino and Sireniki (together with the Eskimos), Enmilen, Nunligran, Konergino, Alkatvaam, Meinypilgino, Khatyrka. The tundra C. live in the vills.: Kolymskoe (with the Evens, Yukagirs, Yakuts), Ostrovnoe, Ilernei, Keperveyem, Amguema, Ust-Belaya, Snezhnoe, Tavaivayam, Konchalan, Vaiegi, Srednie Pakhachi, Achai-Vayam, Ayanka (together with the Evens and Koryaks), Khailino, Talovka, Vetvei, Oklan, Slautnoe, Vyvenka (with the Koryaks).Starting the mid-18th cent., the authorities made numer. but unsuccessful attempts to force first the Kolyma C., and then the NE and S C. to pay yasak. In the 1760s, the govt. of Catherine the Great abolished the compulsory taxation of the C. and Asian Eskimos. A positive factor in the relations btw the state and the C. was the devel. of trade with them and the founding of the Anyui and Gizhiga fairs in the late 1780s. The Regulations on Governing Indigenous Population adopted in 1822 provided the legal basis for the voluntary nature of tribute payments and the lack of any changes in the social order and adm. of the C. The introduction of regular protection of the NE boundaries of the state in response to the increased complaints of the C. and Eskimos about injurious trade, fishing and hunting activities of the Americans near the Chukotka coast contributed to the strengthening of the Rus. statehood and the loyalist attitude among the indigenous pop. The final inclusion of the C. in the Rus. state was legalized in the early 20th cent. along with the passing of the bill on the adm. structure of the Maritime Province and the creation of Chukchi Uezd on its terr., with the uezd adm., regular police, transp., state warehouses, etc.

The C. had long since practiced two types of ec. activities: one, based upon reindeer herding, and the other, upon sea mammal hunting. Fishing, hunting, gathering were of ancillary nature.The C. developed large-herd reind. herding only by the end of 18th cent. In the 19th cent. their reind. herds numbered, as a rule, from 3,000 to 5,000 livestock, sometimes btw 10,000 to 12,000. Historically, the reind. C. settled in two areas: the N area, from the Arctic coast to the Anadyr Range, and the S area, along the Anadyr R. valley and its trib. The purpose of the tundra C.’s reind. breeding was mostly obtaining meat, skins and transp.; it supplied materials for dwellings, clothing and footwear. The reind. were pastured without the use of herding dogs; in summertime,—on the ocean coast or in the mountains. In the fall all gr. of reind. breeders moved to winter pastures further inland, to the forest line, roaming around 5-10 km at a time, as necessary. In a year they traveled with their reind. herds full circle. In the 2nd half of 19th cent. the absolute maj. of the C. had mainly natural ec. The involvement of reind. breeding C. in the commodity market rel. which had become more active since the 1870s, stimulated the devel. of handicrafts and intensified the manual work of women who made clothing and footwear for sale. By the end of the 19th cent. the demand for reind. breeding products had increased, esp. among the settled C. and Asian Eskimos. The gradual expansion of trade with the Rus. and foreigners since the 2nd half of 19th cent. further contributed to the decay of the C.’s natural reind. breeding ec. In the late 19th—early 20th cent. the property stratification in reind. breeding became evident: pauperized reind. breeders became farm laborers, the number of reind. livestock belonging the rich herd owners grew. The well-off group of the settled C. and Eskimos acquired reind.

Radical changes in reind. breeding occurred due to the transition to coll. ownership in the 1930-40. Associations were created on the basis of nomadic gr., to be further transformed into coll. farms, and later into state farms.Coastal (settled) C. were tradit. engaged in sea game hunting which by the mid-18th cent. had reached a high devel. level. Hunting sea game—seal, eared seal, bearded seal, walrus and whale—provided the coastal C. with basic foodstuffs, materials for making boats, hunting gear, some kinds of clothing and footwear, household items, means for lighting and heating the dwellings. Sea hunting was seasonal. Walrus and whale were hunted mainly in summer and fall, seal—in winter and spring. Hunting walrus which, beside meat and fat, also provided high-durability skins, was of the greatest imp. for the ec. of the coastal C. Coastal areas of the settling of the C. differed in priorities of sea game hunting: whale and walrus were actively hunted along Bering S. coast, sealing was more successful at the Arctic coast. Hunting gear consisted of harpoons, spears, knives, etc., varying in size and function. Some kinds of harpoons were used with the help of spear-thrower boards. Whale and, to an extent, walrus were hunted collectively, and seal, individually. In the 18th—early 19th cent. the C.’s sea game hunting remained largely unchanged. Since the late 19th cent. the demand for skins of sea mammals in the foreign market had risen. Injurious hunting of whales and walruses by foreign whalers in the 2nd half of 19th—early 20th cent. undermined the hunting base of the settled pop. of Chukotka Pen.Both reind. and coastal C. were engaged in fishing. Undeveloped fishing tackle and primitive equipment show that they had not practiced fishing in the past. They fished with fishing nets made of whale or reind. tendons or with landing nets or made leather straps. In summer they fished from the shore or from canoes, in winter practiced ice fishing.In the 2nd half of 19th cent. the imp. of fishing in the ec. of the settled C. notably increased due to the depletion of sea game. However, it never reached an industrial scale. Fishing was of paramount imp. only for the settled pop. in the Kolyma, Chaun, and Anadyr rr. basins.

Hunting land animals—argali, elk, polar and brown bear, wolverene, wolf, fox, and arctic fox was of little importance for the C. ec., either. Up to the early 19th cent. the most widespread gear for hunting land animals were the bow with arrows and the spear; traps made of local materials were also used. Water fowl was hunted with help of a projectile named bola—a bunch of cords with weights on the tips used to enmesh a flying bird. Birds were also hunted with darts and spear-thrower boards, sticks were used to kill eiders, and partridges were caught with loop traps.Tools and weapons were made of stone, wood, bones of sea and land animals. In the 18th cent. stone axes, spear- and arrow-heads, bone knives were almost totally replaced by metalware. By the mid-19th cent. iron and copper were used everywhere on Chukotka. Pen. Starting the 2nd half of the 19th cent. C. adopted the Rus. firearms, factory-made traps and rat traps. By the early 20th cent. whaling guns and harpoons tipped with bombs were widely used in sea game hunting.Women and children gathered and stored edible plants, berries and herbs. They used a spec. tool for digging roots with the tipmade of reind. antlers, which was later replaced with an iron one.Handicrafts developed on the basis of reind. breeding and sea game hunting: women’s—fur dressing, making clothing and footwear, weaving bags from rosebay and wild rye fibers, fur and sealskin applique, embroidery with reind. hair, later with glass beads; men’s—working and decorative carving of bone and walrus tusk. In the 19th cent. bone-carvers’ associations appeared, making goods for sale. In the 20th cent. plot bone and walrus tusk engraving developed, with the settlement of Uelen as its center.

The C. traveled by sled-roads in reind.-drawn sleds of several kinds: for carrying passengers, cargo, crockery; vans covered with reind. skins for transporting children; for transporting poles for the yaranga frame. The C. used stepping racket skis for walking on snow and ice, which have survived up to the present. The basic means of sea travel were single- and multi-seater umiaks. In the late 19th cent. whaleboats were used along with tradit. boats; however, they could not replace umiaks that were more convenient for inshore landing in the surf, ice floe landing, navigating shallow lagoons and rivers. Short one-blade paddles were used for rowing. For distant travel, crossbars with inflated sealskins as floats were fastened to either side of the middle of the canoe for increased stability. When necessary, the reind. C. built rafts and used sea hunters’ umiaks, and the latter, in their turn, borrowed harness reind. from the nomadic C. Traveling by sleds drawn by dog teams was adopted by the C. from the Eskimos. Inthe 18th—the 1st half of 19th cent., the C. used the Eskimo harnessing dogs in a fan. Dogs were also harnessed to reind.-type sleds. From the mid-19th cent. tandem harnessing, adopted from the Rus. together with the sled type and the driving with an ostol (a pole for driving a team of dogs or reindeer), became popular. In the 2nd half of 19th—early 20th cent. the C. used both kinds of dog harnessing and var. types of sleds. 8-12 dogs were normally harnessed in tandem, and 5-6 in a fan.

The types of dwellings of the tundra and coastal C., as well as the location of their settlements were determined by their occup.The dwelling of the reind. C., yaranga, was a tent with a round base, 3.5 to 4.7 m high in the center, 5.7 to 7-8 m in diam. Its wooden frame consisted of poles resting on a stable tripod of thick barlings, tied with a leather strap through the apertures in their tops. Meter-long bipods and tripods were tied with straps to the poles and barlings on the bottom, forming a wide circular base of the yaranga and supporting crossbars attached to them with their ends, They, in their turn, formed a circle, smaller in diam. than the base, which braced the middle of the yaranga’s frame. In the top part, near the smoke hole, was yet another row of crossbars.The wooden frame of the yaranga was covered (furry side out) with reind. skins, sewn usu. into two panels. The skins’ edges were overlapped and fastened together with straps sewn to them. The free strap ends were tied on the bottom to sleds or heavy stones to keep the covering from shifting. Abt 40-50 large reind. skins were needed to make the two halves of the outside covering. One entered a yaranga btw the two halves of the covering, throwing their flaps aside. New coverings were used in winter, and in summer, those left from the previous year were used. In winter, during frequent moves, the canopy was made of the thickest skins with the fur on the inside. Herdsmen moving herds to new pastures lived in yarangas with light coverings and small sleeping canopies.

The fireplace was located in the center of the yaranga, under the smoke hole. Opposite the entrance, at the back wall, was the sleeping place—a parallelepiped-shaped canopy made of skins. The canopy’s shape was maintained by means of poles threaded through a large number of loops sewn to the skins along the configuration lines. The ends of the poles rested upon posts with forks, and the back pole was tied to the yaranga’s frame. The av. dimensions of a canopy were: 1.5 m high by 2.5 m wide by c.4 m long. The floor was covered with mats and thick skins on top of them. The headboard of the bed—two oblong sacks filled with skin scraps—was near the entrance. Blankets were made of several reind. skins sewn together. 12-15 large reind. skins were needed for a canopy and c.10, for a bed. A canopy belonged to one fam. Sometimes there were two canopies in one yaranga. Each morning the women would take the canopy down, let it freeze on the snow, and then beat it with beaters made of reind. antlers. The canopies were lighted and heated by grease lamps. For lighting purposes the tundra C. used grease melted from crushed reind. bones, which burned without any smell or soot (unlike whale and seal grease). Such lamps used a moss wick, one end of which was dipped in the grease, while the other (the burning one) rested on the outer edge of the grease lamp. Usu. grease lamps were placed on wooden dishes or cups for catching the dripping grease. The mistress of the house had to take care of the grease lamps.

Clothes were kept behind the canopy, near the back wall of the yaranga; food, near the side walls, on either side of the fireplace. There was an empty cold space for var. needs btw the entrance to the yaranga and the fireplace.The nomadic C.’s camps numbered up to ten yarangas and stretched in the E-W direction; the first from the W was the yaranga of the head of the camp.In the 18-19th cent. the coastal C. had two types of dwellings: yaranga and semi-dugout. The yarangas had the same structural basis as the reind. C.’s dwellings, except that the frame could be made of either wood or whale bones, which gave the dwelling extra stability under storm squalls. Yarangas were covered with walrus skins and had no smoke holes. The canopy in the yaranga was made of a large walrus skin. Well-off coastal C. had canopies 9-10 m long by 3 m wide by 1.8 m high. Such canopies were lighted and heated, just as the reind. C.’s, with grease lamps using whale or seal oil. The canopy’s walls had openings in it for ventilation which could be closed with fur plugs, if necessary. Winter clothing and spare reind. skins were kept in large sealskin sacks on either side of the canopy. Inside the canopy, straps were stretched along the walls for hanging clothing and footwear to dry. In the late 19th cent. the coastal C. started using canvas and other durable materials for covering yarangas instead of walrus skins, esp. in summer.

The Semi-dugouts of the settled C. were used for living in winter. The type and design were borrowed from the Eskimos. The frame of the dwellings was made of whale jaws and ribs; from the top it was covered with turf. The quadrangular entrance was placed in the side. Semi-dugouts were both small—for one small fam., and large—for a patriarchal fam. Dwellings of this type were common along the entire coastline—from the mouth of the Kolyma R. to Bering Strait.Since the 2nd half of 18th cent., owing to the devel. of reind. breeding and the growth of barter among the settled C., semi-dugouts were replaced by yarangas covered with reind. skins. Up until the 1930s the maj. of the settled C. lived in yarangas. In the course of time they started having in them roomy canopies of 10-12 sq m, heated by chauffers or several grease lamps. Nevertheless, the C. continued sleeping on the floor, on reind. skins, only some of them owned beds.In the past the settls. of settled C. were not big. In the late 18th—the 1st half of 19th cent. began the process of integration of small settls. into larger ones—up to 20 yarangas, consisting of several patriarchal comms. (autonomous social units). Each comm. had a fixed terr. with its own dwell. and utility buildings: pits for keeping foodstuffs, hangers, posts for keeping canoes, drying out skins, and dry-curing fish and meat.The nomadic and settled C. used the same household utensils. There were not many of those: only the most necessary items made of flag stone, wood, walrus tusk. Grease lamps for canopies were made of clay or hollowed-out sandstone, or had the form of bowls carved out of wood and edged with iron or tin. Later on, out-of-use metal dishes began to be used as grease lamps. Oil lamps of the settled C. were larger and were used not only for heating and lighting but also for cooking. Caldrons for boiling food and broth cups were made of clay up to the early 20th cent. Large wooden platters with low edges were used for serving boiled meat, as well as for placing cups, sugar, cookies, etc. during tea drinking. The C. had their meals under the canopy, sitting around a small low table or directly around the platter. Washcloths made of thin wood shavings were used for wiping hands after eating and sweeping food scraps from the platter. Dishes were kept in a small box. Reind. bones, walrus meat, fish, whale fat were crushed with stone hammers on stone plates. Skins were dressed with stone scrapers; bone shovels and mattocks were used for digging up edible roots. Each fam. had to have in its possession a fire producing device in the form of a roughly anthropomorphic board with depressions in it, in which a bow drill rotated. Fire produced in such a way was considered sacred and could be passed only among the agnates. Bow drills are kept even now as fam. relig. articles.

The tundra C. ate venison; coastal C.—the meat and fat of marine mammals (walrus, eared seal, bearded seal, ringed seal, harbor seal, whale).Venison was eaten frozen (chopped into small pieces) or parboiled. During mass reind. slaughter reind. stomach contents were preserved by boiling them with adding blood and fat. Reind. blood was frozen or drunk fresh. Soups were made with vegetables and cereals.The coastal C. considered walrus meat esp. nourishing. It kept well if prepared in the tradit. way: squares of skin together with meat and fat were cut out of the back and side parts of a carcass, liver and other cleaned innards placed inside the cut-out pieces, the edges sewn together with the skin facing outside, and the result was a roll—k’opalgyn-kymgyt. Before the frosts theedges were pulled together even more tightly, to prevent the contents from going too sour. K’opalgyn was eaten fresh, somewhat sour and frozen. Fresh walrus meat was boiled. White whale and gray whale meat and skin with a layer of blubber were eaten fresh or boiled.

In the N and S areas of Chukotka Pen. fish was common in the diet: dog salmon, grayling, saffron cod, sockeye salmon, flounder. Yukola was made of large salmons. Many reind. breeding C. prepared fish using new techniques: dried, brined, bloated, salted the caviar.Vegetable foods, such as herbs, roots, berries, laminaria were a tradit. component of the ration of the reind. and coastal C. Dwarf willow leaves, sorrel, roots were preserved: frozen, soured, mixed with fat or blood. Round loaves were made from ground roots, meat and walrus oil. They had long used purchased flour for making gruels and flat cakes fried in seal oil. During the Sov. period, purchased groceries, such as bread, sugar, butter, milk, flour products, cereals, vegetables, fruit, started displacing tradit. foodstuffs.Clothing and footwear of the tundra and coastal C. do not substantially differ from, and are almost identical to, those of the Eskimos in cut and way of sewing. Winter clothing in both terr. C. gr. was made of two reind. skin layers with the fur facing either in or out. The coastal C. also used sealskin for making pants and footwear for spring and summer, as it is durable, elastic and virtually waterproof; raincoats and kamleikas were made out of walrus guts. The reind. C. made pants and footwear from new reind. skins, as well as used old smoked yaranga coverings, which do not warp from moisture. Through barter of home-produced goods, the tundra C. obtained footwear, leather soles, belts, lassos made of skins of sea mammals, and the coastal C., reind. skins for winter clothing. There was no spec. seasonal clothing, in summer they used worn-out winter wear.The national C. clothing, which is cut to be pulled over, is subdivided into casual everyday and festive-ritual; children’s, youth, men’s, women’s, old people’s; ritual and funeral clothing. A tradit. C. man’s outfit consists of a kukhlyanka girded with a belt with a knife and tobacco pouch on it, a printed cotton kamleika over the kukhlyanka for protection against rain and snow, a raincoat made from walrus guts, pants, var. headgear: the tradit. C. winter cap, malakhai, hood, light summer cap. Basic women’s wear is fur overalls with wide sleeves and short knee-length pants.The typical C. footwear are short torbasa of several types: of eared seal skin (with the fur facing outside) with piston-type bearded seal skin soles; of reind. kamus worn with fur stockings and grass insoles protecting the feet from chilblain (winter torbasa); of scraped eared seal skin or old smoked-through yaranga coverings (summer torbasa).At present the C. wear both tradit. (reind. breeders in the winter tundra and sea hunters) and modern Eur.-style (mostly in vills.) clothing and footwear, often combining both types. Women tend to prefer modern clothes; old trad. clothes can only be found in the tundra, mainly among elderly women.

The earliest inf. on the structure of C. soc. dates back to the 17-18th cent. Acc. to the data available, the C. had no patrimonial organiz. By that time a patriarchal fam. comm. with common ec. and dwelling was the basic soc. and ec. unit of the tundra and coastal C. A comm. comprised 10 or more adult men related to each other. The ec. and soc. ties of the settled coastal C. were centered around a boat (umiak), the size of which depended on the num. of members in the comm. Patriarchal comms. were headed by foremen—“boat chiefs.” The patriarchal comms. of the nomadic tundra C. formed around common herds and were also headed by a foreman—the “strongman.” By the late 18th cent. the internal ties of the patriarchal comms. had weakened: livestock growth made it necessary to split the herds in order to make the pasturing easier.The settled C. lived in settls. where common grounds having spec. names were occupied by several related patriarchal comms., each having a separate semi-dugout. The nomadic C. lived in camps also uniting several patriarchal comms. Each comm. incl. 2-4 fams. and occupied a separate yaranga. Besides closely related camp comms., there were also comms. based upon voluntary unions of unrelated fams. 15-20 camps formed a mutual aid circle. The reind. C. also had patrilineal kin gr. connected by a blood feud, ritual fire transfer, sacrifice rites (ident. signs on their faces). The C. had a rudimental form of patriarchal slavery, which disappeared with the termination of wars against the neighb. peoples.

In the 19th cent. traditions of comm. life, gr. marr. and levirate continued to coexist with the developing private prop. and prop. inequality. By the late 19th cent. the large patriarchal fam. had collapsed and been replaced by the small fam.Among the tundra and coastal C., positive knowledge was deeply intertwined with fantastic conceptions. As with most N peoples, the structure of the world acc. to the C. incl. three spheres: the ground expanse with all existing on it; the heavenly universe, where the ancestors live who had died with honor in battles or who had chosen voluntary death from a relative’s hand; the underground world for the people who died of diseases—the abode of harmful creatures kele. In the early 20th cent. a mythol. explanation of the creation still dominated among the C. They lacked a cohesive picture of the creation, there were only fragments connected with the creation of specific kinds of life on earth by the Creator. E.g., the Creator created people, but had not provided the nature with necessary harmony and entrusted the Raven, whom he had also created, with this task. At the request of the p. the Raven created the landscape—the sea, mounts., rivers; later on, land and sea animals, and then turned into Thunder. Acting as a defender and protector of the p., the Raven opposes kele—the bearers of evil. At the same time, in the conceptions of the C. the supernatural functions of the Raven did not extend beyond putting the world in order. He did not turn into a deity and did not join the pantheon of creatures whom the C. ask for help and to whom they bring sacrifices.The divine power—Nargynen, the “spirit” of the universe, of everything existing on earth—was of greatest imp. for the C. Nargynen is in charge of all natural phenomena, supports the life of p. on earth; while remaining indifferent to their fates, he always responds to their calls for help. Everything to which apparent or tangible motion was natural was animated and esteemed. The degree of animation of animals and phenomena depended on the “rationality” of their behavior in the world. There were no clear-cut differentiations btw p. and some animal spp. Everything that was in a natural state of opposition due to its nature was perceived as an antagonism btw the two forces: posit. (sun, warmth, light) and negat. (moon, coldness, darkness, etc.). The involvement of human life in nat. phenomena was perceived as life’s reality. The creatures-masters were in charge of hunting and fishing grounds, specific places, they were offered sacrifices. Protectors of the home were a special category of beneficent creatures; a bunch of those ritual figurines and objects was kept in each yaranga. Spirits kel’et were bearers of all kinds of evil.The syst. of relig. conceptions was the source of the corresp. cults; among the tundra C. they were connected with reind. breeding, among the coastal C.—with the sea. There were cults common to all the C. as well: Nargynen (Nature, Universe), the Dawn, the N Star, Zenith, Pegittin constellation cults; ancestor worship and a num. of hunting rites. Sacrifices (the basic form of cult performance among the C.) had a communal, fam. and individual character. There were no standard texts of prayers accompanying sacrifices, they were always original, specific, concise and were accomp. by occup. magic pantomimes, if necessary. All ritual services were performed inside patriarchal comms. and fams. by their heads.Strife against disease, lingering failures in hunting, fishing and reind. breeding was in the shamans’ competence. The C. shamans were not a separate prof. caste, they were involved in the domestic, production, hunting and fishing activities of fams. and comms. along with the others. What distinguished from other comm. mem. was their possession of spirits—protectors, their ability to talk to them and to the ancestors, mimic their voices, go into a trance. The basic function of the shamans was healing. The C. shamans had no spec. clothing, their main ritual accessory was a tambourine.