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Techniques and Methods of Children’s, Teenagers’ and
Youths’ Adapting to Low Temperatures: Traditional Physical
Training of Siberian Indigenous Population (Khanty)
recent times, the indigenous population of Siberia have been
trying to revive old traditions of physical training, including
and methods of adapting to low temperatures, national games, competitions,
and original methods and techniques of physical preparation for trade activity
(i.e. fishing, reindeer breeding, hunting and collecting). Various techniques
and methods of children adapting to low temperatures have a special place in
the educational experience of these peoples, in particular the Khanty.
as well as other peoples of Siberia, have created an original
and specific "school" of
adaptation for the younger generation, which allowed them not only to survive,
but also to develop successful physical form in the inhospitable northern climate
and to keep a fine physical form in advanced age.
We can say that acclimatization of Siberian children actually starts in embryonic,
pre-natal and natal periods. The tradition of bearing a child in a separate
hut, despite the icy cold of winter, was customary for Khanty women. (Abramov,
1857; Elniski, 1895; Popov, 1926; Startsev, 1928; Turovsky, 1898; Hondajevskiy,
1879; Schavrov V, 1871). Sometimes, there were cases when the mother and/or
newborn died. But those children who survived (Finsh O. and Brem A., 1882)
were “marked” to possess good health and lived to an extreme old
age. Often there were even more severe conditions for child bearing, because
of the nomadic way of life. According to some authors, Khanty women sometimes
gave birth in the winter as they were roaming from place to place, in spite
of the hard frost. (Novizki, 1884; Plotnikov, 1901; Schavrov V. 1871).
after birth, was rubbed down with snow and sometimes even laid on the snow.
(Kondratovicsh, 1897; Novizki, 1884) But, probably, it is probable
that this was not a standard custom as, for example, obdorsky Khanty did
not wash newborns with snow or water at all. (Belyavsky, 1833).
such tests, the child was placed in berestyanaya zibka (birch
cradle) where they would lay on wood sawdust or birch shavings
and were shrouded
with hare skins and surrounded with special things.
While roaming from place
to place those babies being nursed had to test cold, jolting
and other inconveniences. A cradle with the child was usually
in a bag made from deer skins and put on a sledge. The child’s face
was left exposed and was frequently warmed by the mothers’ breath.
(Belyavsky, 1833). Mothers nursed children in the same conditions in the
From our data, we have learned that
Khanty, living in the settlement of Kishik, even swaddled their
infants in frost while roaming from place
to place and
weren’t afraid to let them catch a cold. (Krasilnikov, 2002).
transferred their children to day time cradles fixed by belts (in which
children were in a semi sitting position) on their back during transitions
and working in the woods (e.g. gathering berries, mushrooms, grasses,
bark birch, etc.). Children, at this time, felt a number of inconveniences
rain, bright sun shine, etc.) that, undoubtedly, promoted both their
physical and mental abilities of adapating to low temperatures
Krasilnikov V, 2002).
The process of adapting to low temperatures
continued in other forms during children’s growth and development.
For those who started to travel by foot, parents sewed fur coats
(maliza) from thin hare skins to put on the child’s
naked body. Doctor Bartenev (1886) considers that these clothes were
very convenient for Khanty children, because they did not constrain
their movements during
games and at the same time represented an impenetrable cover for wind
and cold (Bartenev, 1886). However, there are a number of facts,
which speak that the
parents of Khanty children dressed them in bad clothes so they would
adapt to low temperatures. So, for example, it was possible to
frequently see Khanty
children and teenagers playing and even sitting on snow with naked knees,
in light weight clothes and, despite of it, not getting frost-bitten
1931; Finsh, Brem, 1882; Hondajevskiy, 1879).
During wintertime, children
up to five years' age frequently played nude in yurts and plagues.
In summertime, the same situation was observed
in the street
Khanty used different natural factors
and techniques for acclimatising to low temperatures. Sokolov
Khanty also closely cropped
their children. He wrote: “As such, children's heads are exposed
in summer to the sun’s rays and in winter to cold, in spring and
in autumn they are exposed to rain and snow” (Sokolov, 1867).
researchers note that children, almost at any time of year, go barefoot
and even in the strongest frost, run along the street completely naked
(Elniski, 1895; Nosilov, 1931). Lukina N. confirms that children of
Khanty living in
Surgut territory frequently continued to go barefoot even after the
first snow had fallen (Lukina, 1985).
In addition to these facts,
it is possible to see this occurring during field ethno pedagogical
research. For example, Khanty children were
in an area of the river Trom-Agan, even during winter time, leaving
a dwelling to take products by sledge (narty) (?rasilnikov, 2002).
acclimatisation to low temperatures of children and adults was
also encouraged by the circumstances in which Khanty lived. A majority
plagues) didn’t protect from cold weather. It habituated the
body to low temperatures. According to some authors, the temperature
in plagues and
yurts frequently did not exceed the temperature outdoors. Khanty from
the Surgut region frequently left naked children on small skins with
iced handles and
legs in these low temperature conditions. (Gubarev K., 1863; ?bertaller,
1935; Popov, 1926; Skalosubov, 1940; Turovsky, 1898).
to low temperatures of the Khanty continued throughout life. Some
researchers have remarked, that adult Khanty do not even
carry in the inclement weather (Zuev, 1947; ?rasilnikov, 2002; Hondajevskiy,
Ides I. and Brand A. who traveled
across Siberia during the 17th century described an unusual ability
of Khanty. They wrote: “Sometimes
it happens so, that when they (Khanty) are sleeping naked around
the fire and outside the snow-storm
is starting, those who are not turned to the fire become covered
by a layer of a snow in two fingers wide” (Ides, Brand,
Some researchers of the North note
that they have frequently seen Khanty men and women going barefoot,
even into late autumn,
(Elniski, 1895; Lukina, 1985).
Similar facts relating to acclimatisation
to low temperatures of Khanty have been written down by Berezovsky's
informants and those
areas. For example, Khanty, wandering in the Trom-Agan river area,
go into a plague
without footwear, in spite of a cold floor. Berezovsks’ Khanty
transported a boat barefooted though water, on twine, in the river
that already had frozen
at the edges (Krasilnikov, 1897).
A high degree of training was required
from Khanty during the conduct of trade. Hunters in uninhabited
places made shelters from a snow,
up in a heap. Inside a heap, they dug out a burrow, melted the
walls with the help of a small fire and then allowed it to freeze
a night even on snow or a spreading of coniferous branches, or
on the ground between logs left to burn all night long. In case
could spend several days buried in snow until the expected improvement
of the weather.
According to Professor Jakoby A.I., Khanty, who live through the
river Vakh region, could also spend nights in a wood, buried in
hunting for squirrel (Yakoby, 1854).
All these numerous facts confirm
our assumption of the existence of a special tradition or ‘school’ to
acclimatising to low temperatures. There are a number of purposes
for this. First of all, it is preparation for the
younger generation to extreme climatic conditions and household
difficulties in taiga and forest-tundra. Secondly (on the basis
of the first), it was realized
that further physical training of the younger generation was aimed
at forming a body with mental steadiness for cold weather.
phenomenon of early physical and intellectual development of
northern peoples’ children
is the special interest for our research. The data of many scientists
confirms this idea (Beketov, 1957; Arkin, 1935). For example,
Hoffmann E. familiar with
Nentzy (Northern peoples) observed the following: children who
were not able to speak and go yet, independently crept up to
plates with water and ladled
it out. Such early children’s development is explained by
a severe way of life and the process of acclimatizing to low temperatures,
right after a birth.
Our research has shown peculiarities
and even some aspects of systematic techniques and methods of
to low temperatures in
the Khanty training process:
- The cold environment (special plague, dwelling or
construction) for a child in pre-natal period.
- The absence of clothes on a child in cold plagues
or yurts, for some time.
- The absence of caps and footwear on children leading
up to late autumn and even in the winter.
- The location under snow with a view of expected for
good weather (about several days).
The ability to not getting frost-bitten,
even in the strongest frosts (correctly putting on clothes
and footwear and so forth).
Use of progressive experience of acclimatisation
to low temperatures
of children, teenagers and youth of indigenous population
of Siberia will
allow us to
considerably enrich the theory and practice of contemporary
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# 54. P. 913
Krasilnikov Valery Pavlovich
Russia, 623704. Berezovsky, Sverdlovsk region.
Tolbukhin Street, 2, sq. 3.
620051. Ekaterinburg, Letter box 308.
Ph ++7(343) 3348212
I am currently the Dean of the Faculty of Physical Training
at the Russian State Vocational Pedagogical University
a senior lecturer's degree and want to gain support for
2 monographs and a
aid that I have written on the culture of the indigenous
population of Siberia.
The materials are:
Games and competitions in traditional physical upbringing of Khanty" 115
Games and competitions in instructional process of finno-ugorski and samodiski
nations" 86 pages;
Ethno-pedagogical bases of the traditional physical upbringing
of indigenous population of Siberia" 165 pages.
As a result
of work carried out between 1990 and 2005, I have described more
than 200 traditional games and
competitions of indigenous
population of Siberia.
The indigenous population of Siberia suffers calamity
to the powerful invasion ethnos, petroleum production
and forests felling. They
lose places of traditional trade and unique culture.
Traditional games and competitions
of Siberia have been the main facility of upbringing
generations, of their all-round development, of career
education and the opportunity
to survive in the extreme climatic conditions of Siberia.
The publishing of
my abstract will help to show peculiarities of indigenous
population of Siberia. All my works, mentioned above
are deigned by Medal
of Yanusha Korchaka and
Diploma of 1st Degree by Competition Commission "Pedagogical