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Geographical distribution of Samoyedic-speaking peoples in the 17th and 20th centuries

The Samoyedic people (also Samodeic people)[1] are a group of closely related peoples who speak Samoyedic languages, which are part of the Uralic family. They are a linguistic, ethnic, and cultural grouping. The name derives from the obsolete term Samoyed used in Russia for some indigenous people of Siberia.[2][3]



People Group Language Numbers[4] Most important territory Other traditional territories
Nenets Northern Samoyeds Nenets 45,000 Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug

Nenets Autonomous Okrug

Taymyrsky Dolgano-Nenetsky District

Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug
Enets Northern Samoyeds Enets 200–300 Krasnoyarsk Krai
Nganasans Northern Samoyeds Nganasan 900–1000 Krasnoyarsk Krai
Selkups Southern Samoyeds Selkup 3,700 Tomsk Oblast

Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug

Krasnoyarsk Krai


  • Yurats, who spoke Yurats (Northern Samoyeds)[5]
  • Mators or Motors, who spoke Mator (Southern Samoyeds)[5]
  • Kamasins, who spoke Kamassian (Southern Samoyeds) (in the last census, two people identified still as Kamasin under the subgroup "other nationalities".)[6]

The largest of the Samoyedic peoples are the Nenets, who mainly live in two autonomous districts of Russia: Yamalo-Nenetsia and Nenetsia. Some of the Nenets and most of the Enets and Nganasans used to live in the Taymyria autonomous district (formerly known as Dolgano-Nenetsia), but today this area is a territory with special status within Krasnoyarsk Krai. Most of the Selkups live in Yamalo-Nenetsia, but there is also a significant population in Tomsk Oblast.


References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Some ethnologists use the term 'Samodeic people' instead 'Samoyedic', see Balzer, Marjorie (1999). The Tenacity of Ethnicity. Princeton University Press. p. 241. ISBN 978-0-691-00673-4.
  2. ^ [T]he term Samoyedic is sometimes considered derogatory in Balzer, Marjorie (1999). The Tenacity of Ethnicity. Princeton University Press. p. 241. ISBN 978-0-691-00673-4. Samoyedic derogatory.
  3. ^ "Samoyeds" had no derogatory meaning and represents a modification of the expression same-edne in Arctic Institute of North America (1961). Anthropology of the North: Translations from Russian Sources. University of Toronto Press. p. 219.
  4. ^ Demoskop Weekly No 543-544
  5. ^ a b Unesco Red Book on Endangered Languages
  6. ^

External links[edit]