Even people in snow

The Even make clothing of reindeer and elk skin, fancily decorated with beads, reindeer and elk hair embroidery and small metal ornaments. All items - leather apron, gloves, hide leggings, caps, borders of hide coats - are elegantly ornamented.

Pressure on the Even has been increasing since the 1930's. For example, the entire valley of the Kolyma River was gradually transformed into a zone of gold-mining, logging and prison camps. Even hunting bands retreated into remote areas but eventually they were brought under Soviet administration and merged into the state run economy. The Even nation is now in a desperate situation. The newly formed Association of Native People of Chukotka and Kolyma recognizes Even culture as severely "damaged." State-run mines and industrial zones cover tradtional hunting and grazing areas. The population is scattered and there are few communities where Even are numerous enough to start education and cultural activities in their Native language.

- Igor Krupnik
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