4009 - Surviving Feelings in the Arctic: A Comparative Study of Emotional Socialization and Movement in Siberian Eveny and Alaskan Yup'ik Adolescence

The paper aims to explore the relationships between adolescence, emotion and movement in a Yup’ik community in southwest Alaska and an Eveny community in northeastern Siberia. Over the last century, traditional patterns of movement and migration in the indigenous arctic have been severely disrupted by colonization processes including those imposed by Euro-American and Soviet policies of displacement, relocation and assimilation. Mobility and migration have always been of paramount importance for physical and social survival in the arctic. Movement for the communities of Eveny reindeer herders and Yup’ik hunters has maintained their economic structures, the kinship systems and the social networks. Colonial legacies resulted in an imposed settlement pattern common across the Arctic and the Native North American continent. This process has given rise to a new type of indigenous movement that is restricted to and based around reserves of land termed “villages” in Alaska and in Siberia. The settlement of indigenous arctic groups into villages has resulted in restricted access to aboriginal territories, disrupted social networks and degraded mechanisms for socialization and social control. Contemporary outcomes of imposed settlement for Eveny in Siberia and Yup’ik in Alaska include increases in suicide, substance abuse and interpersonal violence among youth, and a dramatically changed experience of growing-up for arctic young people with every new generation. Our discussion will examine local patterns of emotion and movement in the social context of imposed settlement and will, particularly, focus on the ways contemporary Eveny and Yup’ik youth use movement at a time when it is restrained and made more difficult, and how experiences of spatial movement and seasonal migration today differ from the recent and distant past. We shall make an attempt to identify implications of immobility and spatial constraint for well-being and emotional socialization in adolescence.

Keywords: Arctic, indigenous, adolescence, emotion

Author: Rasmus, Stacy (University of Alaska Fairbanks, Ud States of Am / USA)


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