L.I. Missonova’s Russian-Uilta Dictionary ‘Uilta Lexis as a Historical and Ethnographic Source’ Presented in Moscow

29 April 2013, Moscow, Russian Federation: The Russian-Uilta Dictionary ‘Uilta Lexis as a Historical and Ethnographic Source’ compiled by L.I. Missonova was presented today in Moscow by Sakhalin Energy and the Miklukho-Maklai Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS).

The publication of this historical and ethnographic source is critical for preserving the Uilta lexis and preventing extinction of the rich lexical legacy of one of the smallest Tungus-Manchurian peoples of Russia. The author of the dictionary is Ludmila Missonova, Candidate of Historical Sciences and the supervisor of the multi-volume encyclopedic series ‘Peoples and Cultures’ that is being published by the Miklukho-Maklai Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology.

“The Company has been providing support to the linguistic studies and publications of the folklore literature for many years. This, for example, included the publications of the Orok-Russian dictionary in 2003 and the first ABC book of the Uilta language in 2008. The publication of Ludmila Missonova’s dictionary continues the efforts to preserve the Uilta language. Today, these three publications are the only and unique learning aids, especially knowing that Uilta had no written language prior to the 21st century”, said Oleg Sapozhnikov, Sakhalin Energy External Affairs Manager.

Vladimir Zorin, Ph.D., Deputy Head of the RAS Miklukho-Maklai Ethnology and Anthropology Institute, a member of the Inter-Ethnic Relations Council of the RF President, spoke at today’s presentation to highlight the importance of the event for the academic community and the world at large. “With several languages in various parts of the world becoming extinct every year, it is a lucky exception that another ethnic group has acquired a written language. This has become possible due to the effective collaboration between the socially responsible business community represented by Sakhalin Energy, the local administration and the indigenous peoples of the North. The academic community welcomes this practice and is always ready to participate,” said Vladimir Zorin.

The book, which is of paramount importance for the indigenous people communities of Sakhalin and Russia and for the world at large, was published by Nauka, the publishing house of the Russian Academy of Sciences, with a financial support from Sakhalin Energy as part of the Sakhalin Indigenous Minorities Development Plan.

The book presentation was attended by local authorities, academic community, international organizations and NGOs.

Notes for Editors

Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd. (“Sakhalin Energy”) is the operator of Sakhalin-2, one of the world largest integrated projects, which has built a major infrastructure for hydrocarbon production, transportation and processing. The Company is exporting crude oil and LNG produced in the Okhotsk Sea and at Russia’s first LNG plant built by Sakhalin Energy in the south of Sakhalin. The Company’s shareholders are Gazprom (50% + 1 share), Royal Dutch Shell (27.5% - 1 share), Mitsui and Co. Ltd. (12.5%) and Mitsubishi Corporation (10%)

Sakhalin Energy is a leader in corporate social responsibility. Social and environmental programmes of the Company have been recognised by leading international and Russian experts on several occasions.

Sakhalin Energy sponsored the compilation of the Uilta dictionary (concise Orok-Russian and Russian-Orok dictionary), which was published in 2003. The first ABC book of the Uilta language was published in 2008. During the last year, two fundamental UN documents were translated into the Uilta language: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
More information is available at the Sakhalin Energy website

Sakhalin Indigenous Minorities Development Plan is a tripartite programme, which is jointly implemented by Sakhalin Energy, Sakhalin Oblast Government and Regional Council of Authorised Representatives of the Sakhalin Indigenous Minorities. The Plan is implemented with financial support from Sakhalin Energy. More information is available at the programme website and at the official Sakhalin Energy website

Ludmila Ivanovna Missonova – Candidate of Historical Sciences, supervisor of the ‘Peoples and Cultures’ publications by the RAS Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology (from 1997 to 2012 twenty-twenty volumes were published by the Nauka publishing house), a visiting professor of the Hokkaido University (2008). Ms Missonova has received numerous acknowledgements and certificates of merit, including those from the RAS Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, the President of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the Republic of Armenia, etc. Ms Missonova conducted over twenty field studies in Russia’s Far East. She is an author of sixty scientific works, including eight brochures and the monograph ‘Sakhalin Uilta: Big Problems of a Small People’, M, Nauka, 2006. She is also the initiator and science editor of more than sixty publications for the purpose of the ‘Peoples and Cultures’ series.

Uilta (also known as Оroki or Orocheny) is one of the smallest Tungus-Manchurian peoples of the Russian Federation and an indigenous people of Sakhalin. According to the 2010 census, the total number of the Uilta people does not exceed 295 people. The name “Uilta” is derived from the word “ula", which means “reindeer”. The traditional business of the Uilta people is multi-sector subsistence farming based on hunting, fishing and reindeer herding.

According to UNESCO, the language of the Uilta people is a seriously endangered, nearly extinct language. Capable of communicating in this language are forty people at the most. Before the 21st century, the Uilta people had no written language of their own.