Khanty - Settlements



By the twentieth century the Khanty lived in various camps and villages, as well as on the outskirts of a few towns. Seminomadic Khanty lived in a transhumant pattern with summer and winter camps, moving with their reindeer to the same family territories each season. Their winter homes were small semisubterranean yurts, with only a few (three to ten) grouped together. In 1914 at the peak fall-winter season, population density along the Kazym River, for example, was only 3.2 per square mile. In the summer families were even more dispersed, with members living in skin tents (Russian: chum ) that were sturdy yet easily portable. In the northeastern parts of Khanty territory, Khanty outnumbered Russian settlers until the 1930s, but near the towns of Obdorsk (Soviet Salekhard), Berezovo, Surgut, and Tobolsk, Russians predominated. Separate Khanty villages of shacks and cabins grew near Russian villages along the main rivers, where Khanty sometimes lived in relatively settled, Russified style. On the Irtysh, a few villages mixed Khanty and Russian styles, with log cabins lining dirt streets that fanned out from a riverbank.

With collectivization came the decline of nomadic reindeer breeding, so that by the 1950s reindeer breeders' families often lived in Russian-style villages while the men herded the animals on long shifts. A few women lived with their husbands as part of work brigades, but each family had a permanent log home or barrack apartment in a village. Collectives centered on fishing, hunting, and fur farming grew much larger than traditional settlements, averaging 1,000 or more people. Ethnic enclaves of Russians and Khanty were typical of such collectives in the 1970s. The capital of the district, Khanty-Mansiisk, has a diverse ethnic population in enclaves; it had fewer than 100,000 inhabitants in the 1980s. Towns with increasing numbers of Khanty residents include Surgut, Beriozovo, and Salekhard.


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