On August, 14-16 the Mukhrino Field Station hosted the seminar “Construction of a chum – traditional housing of the Ob-Ugric peoples” organized together with the Youth organization of the Ob-Ugric peoples (MOOUN) within the project “Folk Workshop for Preserving and Promoting the Traditional Culture of the Ob-Ugric Peoples”.
During three days employees of the Mukhrino Station and representatives of the MOOUN leant how to make a chum under the supervision of the experienced indigenous artisans. Despite the fact that chums are traditionally installed by women, male participants of the seminar also had enough work. They prepared poles, built the floor and fished. Women cut and sewed tent-cloth.
The participants learnt about internal decoration of a chum as well. Famous Khanty poetess Maria Voldina provided a short lecture on this topic. She said that each subject has its own place in the chum. To the left of the entrance male belongings are hung, and looking at them guests can judge on handicraft skills of the female host who places her needlework at the opposite side. Each chum must have a fireplace since it’s impossible to survive without fire in taiga or tundra.
This was the first experience for the “chumbuilders”, but they managed to finish their work within three days. The completed chum will stay on the territory of the Field Station, and participants of the seminar left having obtained new useful skills and knowledge.
Implementation of such projects helps to preserve and hand down traditions of the indigenous peoples from older generations to the youth. Yugra State University takes an active part in this process: its Institute of the Northern Peoples has the laboratory of decorative arts, provides courses of the Khanty and Mansi languages etc. This seminar showed that cooperation of the University with the local community can be successful and fruitful, so there are new joint initiatives and projects ahead.