Alitet Nemtushkin

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My Language
If I forget my native speech
And the songs that my people sing
What use are my eyes and ears?
What use is my mouth?

If I forget the smell of the earth
And do not serve it well
What use are my hands?
Why am I living in the world?

How can I believe the foolish idea
That my language is weak and poor
If my mother’s last words
Were in Evenki?

From "Bol moya, Evenkiya" Sovetskaya Kultura, July 28, 1988"

Alitet Nikolaevich Nemtushkin (Irkutsk Oblast, Siberia 12 November 1939 - 2006) was an Evenk-Russian poet known for writing in and about his Native Evenki language. He has received wide recognition in and outside of Russia, and his work is used by UNESCO to cultivate attention to the problem of Language Endangerment [1] He has published more than 31 books of poetry, most of them in Russian, but some in Evenki.[2][3]


  1. ^ "3C World Fiction". Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2012-08-03.
  2. ^ Alexia Bloch. 2004. Red Ties and Residential Schools: Indigenous Siberians in a Post-Soviet State. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 193
  3. ^ UNESCO 2011. “Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger”