The Struggles over Stone. Articulations of Indigeneity in Two Mining Regions of Russia

Anna Varfolomeeva. Visiting PhD candidate.

A piece of rock may connect a remote Russian village with France or China and become a symbol of great glory – or great danger. This presentation will focus on the connections of indigenous/local communities with stoneworking and the influence of mining on indigenous identity. It will concentrate on two case studies: Vepses in Karelia (North-West of Russia) and Soiots in Buryatia (Central Siberia). Both communities received indigenous status in the year 2000 after long-term campaigns initiated by local activists. The presentation will demonstrate how community members are navigating between state-approved notions of indigeneity and local experiences of dwelling in the landscape in order to retain control over land and resource.