Samoyed Peoples

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Samoyed Peoples


(in Russian, samodiiskie narody or samoedskie narody), the general name for the peoples who speak the Samoyed languages: the Nentsi, Entsi, Nganasani, and Sel-kups (Ostyak Samoyeds). The Russian terms samodiiskie narody and samodiitsy (“Samoyeds”) were proposed by the Soviet linguist G. N. Prokof’ ev in 1938 to replace the term samoedy and have become generally accepted in Soviet scholarly literature. The total population of the Samoyed peoples exceeds 34,000 (1970 census).

The Samoyed peoples live in the northern parts of Arkhangel’sk, Tiumen’, and Tomsk oblasts and in Krasnoiarsk Krai, mainly in the Nenets, Yamal-Nenets, and Taimyr (Dolgan-Nenets) national okrugs. In the 17th and 18th centuries some Samoyeds, known as the Southern Samoyeds (Kamasin, Mator, Karagas), lived in Southern Siberia, in the Saian Upland. The Samoyeds of this group completely lost their native languages and became for the most part members of Turkic-speaking peoples, such as the Tuvinians and Khakas; some merged with the Russian population. Most researchers believe that Southern Siberia was the ancient homeland of the Samoyed peoples. In the first and early second millennia A.D., the Samoyeds migrated in several waves from Southern Siberia to the north, where they mixed with the local aboriginal population, which was probably related linguistically to the Lapps and, partly, the Yukaghir.

The Samoyeds led mainly a nomadic way of life until the October Revolution of 1917. Under Soviet power, sovkhozes and kolkhozes engaged in deer raising, the fur trade, fishing, and cage fur farming have been established in the regions inhabited by the Samoyeds. A national intelligentsia has emerged.


Narody Sibiri. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
A breed of dog that takes its name from the Samoyedic peoples of Siberia.
The Samoyed takes its name from the nomadic Samoyedic peoples of Siberia.