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Selkup, Ostyak Samoyed in Russia

Selkup, Ostyak Samoyed

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Selkup, Ostyak Samoyed in Russia map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
3,700 Selkup Ethnic Religions 5.00 % 0.70 % No No   

Selkup, Ostyak Samoyed in Russia

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Introduction / History
The Selkup (also known as Ostyak Samoyed) are a small group of indigenous people who live in Western Siberia and in the Russian Arctic. Traditionally the Selkup were semi-nomadic hunters and fishermen who domesticated reindeer. The Russian Empire took over the land inhabited by the Selkup in the 17th and 18th century. The Russians began shooting the Selkup's reindeer and forcing them to pay taxes in furs. These actions caused the Selkup to flee the Russians and live in even more remote areas of Siberia. The government of the Soviet Union made the Selkup live in one place and put their children in Russian boarding schools to learn Russian and atheism. Many of the languages and cultures of native Siberian peoples have become extinct. The Selkup language is also endangered as young people prefer to speak Russian and often leave their ancestral lands for better economic opportunities elsewhere. The Selkup language was put into Cyrillic script in 1940. At the time of this writing, there are no known Bible resources in the Selkup language.

What are their lives like?
The fall of the Soviet Union brought some relief to the Selkup. They are now permitted to pursue a more traditional lifestyle of hunting, fishing and raising reindeer. Only about half of the adults now speak the Samoyedic Selkup language. Other Selkup and most young people prefer speaking Russian. The Selkup have two homes, one for the severely cold winters. Their summer houses are tents which allow the Selkup to follow their reindeer herds. The reindeer provide the people with transportation, meat and hides. The men also hunt animals like rabbits, squirrels, wolverines, foxes, seals, and bears. Selkup trade meat and furs for the things that they cannot make themselves like snowmobiles, gasoline, small appliances, tools, and cell phones. The Selkup tend to marry within their group.

What are their beliefs?
The majority of the Selkup practice folk religion and shamanism. They believe that spirits live in the objects of nature including the sky, rivers, rocks, mountains, and animals. The village shaman connects the Selkup with the spirit world. The Selkup feel that they must appease these spirits. Unappeased spirits can bring disasters upon the people. They must perform rituals, make offerings and pay respect to the spirits and their ancestors. A tiny fraction of the Selkup claims to be followers of Jesus Christ.

What are their needs?
The Selkup need to be freed from their fear of evil spirits. Only the Lord can truly deliver them and forgive their sins. Medical and veterinary teams could meet the physical needs of the people and their reindeer. The Selkup would benefit from having the Bible and Christian resources translated into their language.

Prayer Points
Pray that the Bible and Christian resources become available to the Selkup. Pray the Lord sends workers to the Selkup to tell them the good news of Jesus Christ. Ask God to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among the Selkup in this decade. Pray the Lord will overcome the alcohol issues that plague the Selkup people.
* Pray for translation of the Bible to begin in this people group's primary language.
* Pray for the availability of the Jesus Film in the primary language of this people.
* Pray for Gospel messages to become available in audio format for this people group.


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Country: Russia
Continent: Asia
Region: Europe, Eastern and Eurasia
10/40 Window: No
Location in Country:Tomskaya Oblast’, Yamalo-Nenetskiy Avtonomnyy Okrug, Krasnoyarskiy Kray; northern dialect: Krasnoselkup region, Ratta, Krasnoselkupskaya Tolka, and Krasnoselkup villages; Purovsk region, Tolka Purovskaya village; Krasnoyarsk District, Farkovo; Turukhan river basin; Baikha; southern dialect: north Tomskaya Oblast’ area villages.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
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Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Selkup, Ostyak Samoyed
People Name General: Selkup, Ostyak Samoyed
Alternate People Names:
Russian SamoyedSelkup
ROP3 Code: 107700
Joshua Project People ID: 14230
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 3,700
Population all Countries: 3,700
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Eurasian Peoples
People Cluster: Finno-Ugric
People Name General: Selkup, Ostyak Samoyed
Ethnic Code: MSW51j
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Selkup
Language Code (ISO): sel    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
Russian (Unknown)
Total Languages: 2
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity5.00 %(Evangelical: 0.70 %)
Ethnic Religions95.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: Help start a Bible Translation
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Ministry Resources [7]
None Reported
Ministry Activity
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Networking: Visit for networking possibilities.
Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Selkup, Ostyak Samoyed in Russia

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Finno-Ugric     Europe, Eastern and Eurasia    
      Selkup, Ostyak Samoyed Russia    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Selkup, Ostyak Samoyed in Russia          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Selkup  
    All Religions                              

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