20:37 GMT07 July 2020
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    • The Old Believers of the Uimon Valley preserve the traditional way of life – from the 17th century.
    • Shaman Vyacheslav is a telengit, a native of the Southern Altai. He inherited the gift of a shaman from his ancestors.
    • Russians and the peoples of the Altai have been creating mixed families since the first immigrants from Russia began to penetrate Altai (even before it became part of the country).
    • The Tubalars belong to the group of Northern Altai people. They are Turkic-speaking people of Finno-Ugric origin. Tondoshka is one large Tubalar village.
    • The Old Believer communities of the Altai Mountains attract people from all over Russia who are on a sacred quest. Some stay forever.
    • Chulyshman Telengits – natives of the Southern Altai – consider themselves descendants of the Scythians and Huns.
    • The indigenous peoples of the Altai try to preserve traditional crafts. Vasily is a bone carver.
    • The younger generation of Telengits strives for education. But, having graduated from a university in Gorno-Altaisk, Novosibirsk or even abroad, many return to their native lands.
    • The veneration of mountain passes and healing springs is an important feature of the spiritual culture of the peoples of the Altai.
    • Deer farming flourishes in the Uimon Valley. Old Believers were the first deer hunters in this area.
    • The Chulyshman Valley is a corner of pristine nature that is almost entirely isolated from the outside world.
    • The Uimon Valley – one of the Altai’s most beautiful places – has long been inhabited by Russian Old Believers.
    • The Chelkants are natives of the Northern Altai. The traditional fishing methods that characterise this area date back centuries.
    • Hundreds of kilometres of roads pass through the mountains, from the taiga in the north of the Altai to the semi-deserts of the south.
    • The peoples of the Northern Altai, Tubalars, Chelkans, and Kumandins, as well as Telengits, the inhabitants of the republic’s southern regions, carry the status of Indigenous Minorities.
    The Old Believers of the Uimon Valley preserve the traditional way of life – from the 17th century.

    Take a look at the life of small ethnicities in Russia's Altai Mountains: shamans, Old Believers and indigenous peoples are those, who guard the centuries-old traditions of the region.

    The project “Small Peoples of a Big Country. Traditions, language, folklore,” is aimed at preserving the cultural heritage of the under-studied, small and endangered peoples and sub-ethnic groups of Russia. Everyone knows that there are dozens and even hundreds of large and small ethnic groups living on the territory of Russia. But among them there are nations that people know very little about either due to the fact that the places they reside are remote and inaccessible, or for other reasons. In some cases the very existence of certain ethnic groups is unknown, save for a few dedicated specialists. Meanwhile, it is these small ethnic groups, as well as individual isolated clusters of larger ethnic groups (including Russians) that are sometimes the most faithful guardians of old traditions.

    The project was initiated by the Nikolay Rastorguev Support Foundation for cinema, radio, television, multimedia, and animation, which was established in October 2014 and is financially supported by Presidential Grants Fund.

    Russia, Altai
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