Published September 27, 2019
This video was recorded by Kristen Tcherneshoff in Yakutsk, Sakha Republic, Russia. Evenki is a Tungusic language spoken by around 15,000 native speakers across Russia, Mongolia, and China. Similar to most Tungusic languages, Evenki employs vowel harmony—suffix vowels are matched to the vowel in the root, although there are variations between dialects. In Russia, Evenki is written using the Cyrillic script. In China, the Latin script is used, along with the Mongolian script experimentally. Varvara writes poetry in the Yakut and Evenki languages. In this video she shares stories of her childhood: growing up reindeer herding, the first time she saw a Russian man from the west, and being gifted a mirror.