- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
93

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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NOSONOVSKI PESOK AND THE SAMOYEDES
93
question, which is by no means easy to decide. Many
things may tend to show that the Samoyedes in our
day are a fairly heterogeneous and mixed race. Thus
while Middendorff speaks of the so-called Tavgy or
Avam-Samoyedes as a small people, averaging only
4 feet 8 inches in height, with Finnish features, among
whom a man of 5 feet had an imposing effect, there
are other tribes, such as those we met in Yamal and
some of those we find here on the Yenisei, who may
often be a good deal taller and have a more " Mon
golian " appearance.
But we must remember that no people here can be
expected to be of pure race, as the various tribes live
so close to each other and have so much intercourse.
And there is the additional circumstance that among
people such as these it is not even considered right to
take a wife, or wives, from one’s own tribe ; they have
to be tåken from a strange and preferably a hostile one,
and formerly, of course, wives were often part of the
spoils of war.
We must therefore expect in advance to find in all
these tribes many different types mixed together. This
is actually the case ; and it is only reasonable that the
most easterly Samoyedes, for instance, should show a
great likeness to the Dolgans, Yakuts, and Tunguses,
while, as Kai Donner informs me, not only the Kamas
sintses on the north side of the Sayan Mountains, but
also the Ostiak-Samoyedes show evident traces of
Tatar influence. It would not now be easy to separate
the different races of Siberia purely by their appear
ance and anatomical structure ; although, of course,
there are certain features which pre-eminently dis
tinguish one race from another, as, for instance, when
we compare a good type of a north-westerly Samoyede
tribe with a Tungus or with a Yenisei-Ostiak.

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