The Khanty (Khanty: ханти, hanti), also known in older literature as Ostyaks (Russian: остяки) are a Ugric Indigenous people, living in Khanty–Mansi Autonomous Okrug, a region historically known as "Yugra" in Russia, together with the Mansi. In the autonomous okrug, the Khanty and Mansi languages are given co-official status with Russian. In the 2021 Census,[4] 31,467 persons identified themselves as Khanty. Of those, 30,242 were resident in Tyumen Oblast, of whom 19,568 were living in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug and 9,985—in Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. 495 were residents of neighbouring Tomsk Oblast, and 109 lived in Sverdlovsk Oblast.

Khanty from the Ob river
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug (Russia)
 Russia31,467 (2021)[2]
 Ukraine100 (2001)[3]
Khanty, Russian
Russian Orthodoxy, Shamanism
Related ethnic groups
Khanty man in Tomsk, 2006.
Khanty family standing in front of a chum, their traditional tent
Most Khanty people live in the Khanty–Mansi Autonomous Okrug in western Siberia

Ethnonym edit

Since the Khanty language has about 10 dialects which can be united in 3 main branches, there are several slightly different words used by these people to describe themselves:

  • Khanti, Khante (in North)
  • Khande (in South)
  • Kantek, Kantakh (in East)

All these words mean Human. They also call themselves As Khoyat which means Obian People or People from Ob.

History edit

In the second millennium BC, the territories between the Kama and the Irtysh Rivers were the home of a Proto-Uralic-speaking population that had contacts with Proto-Indo-European speakers from the south.[5] The woodland population is the ancestor of the modern Ugrian inhabitants of Trans-Uralia.[5] Other researchers say that the Khanty people originated in the south Ural steppe and moved northwards into their current location about 500 AD.[6]

Khanty probably appear in Russian records under the name Yugra (ca. 11th century), when they had contact with Novgorodian hunters and merchants.[7][8] The name comes from Komi-Zyrian language jögra ('Khanty'). The older Russian name Ostyak is from Khanty as-kho 'person from the Ob (as) River,' with -yak after other ethnic terms like Permyak.[7]

Some Khanty princedoms were partially included in the Siberia Khanate from the 1440s–1570s.

In the 11th century, Yugra was actually a term for numerous tribes, each having its own centre and its own chief. Every tribe had two exogamic phratries, termed mon't' and por, and all members were considered to be blood relatives. This structure was later replaced with clans, where each clan leader (knyazets) negotiated with the Russian realm. They also participated in Russian campaigns, and received the right to collect yasaq (tribute) from two Khanty volosts (districts) respectively. When this structure was no longer needed, Russia deprived them of their privileges.

After the Russian conquest of Siberia, Russians attempted to Christianize the Khanty. Russian missionaries and officials instructed that idols be destroyed, mass baptisms be performed, and harsh punishment for those that disobeyed the church. Russian officials also took Khanty children as hostages and converted them to Christianity.[8] Conversions were generally superficial in nature and motivated by economic incentives. As a consequence, the Khanty continued to incorporate native practices and beliefs into their spirituality.[8]

During the Soviet period the Khanty were one of the few indigenous minorities of Siberia to be granted an autonomy in the form of an okrug (autonomous district). The establishment of autonomy has played a considerable role in consolidation of the ethnos (the Western Khants called their eastern neighbours Kantõk [the Other People]). However, in the 1930s concerted efforts were made by the Soviet state to collectivise them.[8] The initial stages of this meant the execution of tribal chiefs, who were labelled "kulaks", followed by the execution of shamans. The abduction by the state of the children who were sent to Russian-speaking boarding schools provoked a national revolt in 1933 called the Kazym rebellion.

After the end of the Stalin period this process was relaxed and efforts were intensified in the 1980s and 1990s to protect their common territory from industrial expansion of various ministries and agencies. The autonomy has also played a major role in preserving the traditional culture and language.

Organisation edit

The Khanty are one of the indigenous minorities in Siberia with an autonomy in the form of an okrug (autonomous area).

Culture edit

The Khanty share many cultural similarities with the Mansi people. Together they are called Ob-Ugric peoples.[9]

Economy and livelihood edit

The Khantys' traditional occupations were fishery, taiga hunting and reindeer herding. They lived as trappers, thus gathering was of major importance.[10]

During the winter, the Khanty lived in stationary huts made out of earth and branches at permanent villages. During the spring, the Khanty moved towards hunting and fishing grounds, where they constructed temporary rectangular-shaped shelters out of birch-bark and poles.[10]

Weapons utilized by the Khanty were advanced for the period and included longbows, arrows, spears, and the use of iron helmets and chain mail.[10]

Religion edit

Most Khanty are today Orthodox Christians, mixed with traditional beliefs (shamans, reincarnation). Their historical shaman wore no special clothes except a cap. Traditional Khanty cults are closely related to nature. The Crow spring celebration is being celebrated in April, nowadays it is April 7, the same day as the Annunciation day. The Bear Celebration is being celebrated occasionally after a successful hunting of a bear. The Bear Celebration continues 5 or 6 days (the duration depends on the sex of the animal). Over 300 songs and performances occur during a Bear Celebration. The most important parts of the celebration are:

  • Nukh Kiltatty Ar (The Awakening Song)
  • Ily Vukhalty Ar (The Coming Down From The Sky Song) - The story about the son of Torum (the sky god). The son was sent by Torum to rule the Earth. He has forgotten father's advice, lost his immortality, turned into a beast and has been killed by the hunters.
  • Il Veltatty Ar (The Lullaby)

Oral and written literature edit

In addition to bear songs, fairy tales and other stories, Khanty folklore includes epic poetry. It shares similar themes with the mythical and heroic stories told by the Mansi people.[9]

The Khanty's written literature had its beginnings in the first half of the 20th century. The first notable Khanty writer was Grigori Lazarev, best known for his novel Sorneng tow.[9]

Language edit

The Khanty language is part of the Ugric branch of the Uralic languages, and thus most closely related to Mansi and Hungarian.

Genetics edit

Khanty (Khn) and other Uralic populations in a PCA.[11]

80 percent of Khanty men carry the haplogroup N. 48.8 percent of them belong to its subgroup N1c and 31.4 percent belong to the subclade N-P43. Other haplotypes include R1b (10.5 %) and R1a (5.8 %).[11]

The most common mtDNA haplogroup among the Khantys is U (28.3 %). 16.5 percent of Khanty women belong to its subgroup U4, 5.7 percent to subgroup U7, 5.4 percent to subgroup U5, and the subclades U2 and U1 are found with frequencies of less than one percent. Other maternal haplogroups include H (17.3 %), J (13.1 %), D (11.6 %) and C (10.4 %).[11]

An estimated 61 percent of the Khanty's autosomal DNA is Nganasan-like Siberian and the rest is West Eurasian.[11]

Notable Khanty edit

  • Ambal (fl. 16th and 17th c.), Khanty and Tatar prince

Gallery edit

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ "Итоги Всероссийской переписи населения 2020 года. Таблица 1. Национальный состав населения" [Results of the All-Russian population census 2020. Table 1. National composition of the population.]. Retrieved 2023-01-03.
  2. ^ "Росстат — Всероссийская перепись населения 2020". Retrieved 2023-01-03.
  3. ^ "National composition of population". Census (in Ukrainian). UA: State statistics committee of Ukraine. 2001.
  4. ^ "Национальный состав населения". Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved 30 December 2022.
  5. ^ a b Wiget, Andrew; Balalaeva, Olga (2011). Khanty, People of the Taiga: Surviving the 20th Century. University of Alaska Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-16022-3125-2.
  6. ^ "Britannica".
  7. ^ a b M. Vasmer, Etimologicheskii slovar russkogo yazyka, Vol. III (Moscow, 1971), p. 167.
  8. ^ a b c d Balzer, Marjorie Mandelstam (1983). "Ethnicity Without Power: The Siberian Khanty in Soviet Society". Slavic Review. 42 (4): 633–648. doi:10.2307/2497372. ISSN 0037-6779. JSTOR 2497372. S2CID 155219886.
  9. ^ a b c Kulonen, Ulla-Maija: ”Obinugrilaiset”, in Laakso, Johanna (ed.): Uralilaiset kansat. Helsinki: WSOY, 1991. ISBN 951-0-16485-2.
  10. ^ a b c Forsyth, James (1994). A History of the Peoples of Siberia: Russia's North Asian Colony 1581-1990. Cambridge University Press. pp. 11–12. ISBN 978-0-521-47771-0.
  11. ^ a b c d Tambets, Kristiina; Yunusbayev, Bayazit; Hudjashov, Georgi; Ilumäe, Anne-Mai; Rootsi, Siiri; Honkola, Terhi; Vesakoski, Outi; Atkinson, Quentin; Skoglund, Pontus; Kushniarevich, Alena; Litvinov, Sergey; Reidla, Maere; Metspalu, Ene; Saag, Lehti; Rantanen, Timo (2018-09-21). "Genes reveal traces of common recent demographic history for most of the Uralic-speaking populations". Genome Biology. 19 (1): 139. doi:10.1186/s13059-018-1522-1. ISSN 1474-760X. PMC 6151024. PMID 30241495.

External links edit