The Northern Selkup Language

Northern Selkups live over the vast space in the catchment areas of the Middle and Upper Taz and the Middle Yenisei, mostly along the Turukhan, its left tributary, in the Yamal-Nenets autonomous area and the Krasnoyarsk territory. They are a majority in the villages of Ratta, Kikkiakki, Tolka, and Purovskaya in the Yamal-Nenets autonomous area. About 100 Selkups live in Salekhard, the administrative center of the Yamal-Nenets autonomous area. In the Turukhan district of the Krasnoyarsk territory, Selkups live along the middle reaches of the Yenisei, mostly along its left tributary the Turukhan (with its tributaries the Upper and Lower Baikha). Selkups are a majority in the village of Farkovo. They live among Kets in the villages along the Yenisei. Some Selkups live in the village of Kellog on the Eloguy, the Yenisei’s left tributary.

Southern Selkup

Southern Selkups live in four districts in the north of Tomsk Oblast: Verkhneketsky, Kolpashevsky, Parabelsky, and Kargasogsky, as well as in Tomsk. The majority of old Selkup villages in Tomsk Oblast were closed down, and their inhabitants were resettled to bigger communities where they constitute a minority. The only exception is Napas on the Tym River (Kargasogsky District), former center of the Tym Selkup National District (1934 — 1948).

When it comes to traditional economy, customs, and numerous other elements, Selkups are particularly close to their two neighboring peoples, Khants and Kets. Due to their closeness, these three ethnic groups, although speaking very different languages, used to be referred to as остяки [Ostyaks] for a very long time. This name is still widely used in Tomsk Oblast by Russian old-timers when referring to Selkups, whereas Selkups themselves use it to define their own ethnic origin.