Koryaks and Kerek - Economy



Subsistence and Commercial Activities . The traditional productive activities of the Koryaks, reindeer herding by the nomadic Koryaks and fishing and hunting of sea and furbearing animals by settled Koryaks, continued to develop in the Soviet period. In the seventeenth century, metal objects came to the Koryaks through Russians. In the eighteenth century there was a well-known Koryak forge in Paren' (a village on the coast of Penzhinsk Bay), where they even made metallic armor. Since the nineteenth century, dairy farming and horticulture have been developing in the regions where settled Koryaks live.

The Koryaks had reindeer and sledge dogs as means of transport. For travel along rivers, Koryaks used boats that were hollowed from the whole trunk of a tree. On the sea they used single-seat and multiseat kayaks ( matew ) that were covered with sealskin. Modern means of transport include planes and helicopters and Caterpillar tread vehicles.

Industrial Arts. The majority of Koryaks are occupied in traditional spheres of production. There are currently a number of Koryaks with higher and secondary education who are administrators, teachers, doctors, veterinarians, mechanics, etc. In the district center, Palana, there is a vocational training school that prepares specialists in reindeer breeding, cattle breeding, and raising of animals for furs. There are also pedagogical and music schools.

Trade. The exchange of products between Koryaks, especially between nomadic and settled Koryaks, as well as with neighboring peoples, was rather intensive. Today Koryaks who are working as hired and office workers purchase goods from state stores.

Division of Labor. Men's tasks were traditionally reindeer herding, fishing, and hunting. Women's tasks were making clothes, housekeeping, and gathering, the latter of which was replaced by gardening in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Land Tenure. The concept of land ownership has always been alien to Koryaks.


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