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(called Ostyak Samoyed until the 1930’s), a people of Siberia, living in the northern parts of Tomsk Oblast and Krasnoiarsk Krai and in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug of the RSFSR. Population, 4,300 (1970 census). The Selkup language belongs to the Samoyedic group of Uralic languages.
The Selkup people emerged as a result of the prolonged interaction and merging of the aboriginal population living along the middle course of the Ob’ River with the Samoyedic tribes that had come into the area from the Saian region early in the Common Era. In the 17th century some Selkups migrated northward to the Taz River, later continuing on to the Turu-khan River. In the past, the occupations of the Selkups included hunting and fishing and, among the northern groups, deer raising. Although the Selkups underwent mass baptism in the 18th century, they continued to preserve ancient religious concepts and ceremonies. During the Soviet period, the Selkups have settled in kolkhozes and sovkhozes. Aside from engaging in their traditional occupations, they now practice land cultivation and livestock breeding.