“Mountains with glaciers bring blessings to the lives of folk, Valleys with glaciers give pastures for healthy livestock.”
“Land has breath, an umbilical cord, nose, mouth, eyes and ears… everything which exists on the earth is alive. Altai is a harmonious co-existence of humanity and nature”. Altaian traditional wisdom Russia, Altai Mountains My name is Slava Cheltuev. I’m from the Dyayat Kychak clan. I am from a small village, Ortolyk. I live with children, livestock and folk. I make Alas (purification ceremony), milk offerings and blessings. I work for the health of people, and I bring my help to folk in this way. I take strength from my spirits, from my spirit protectors and from my ancestors. When I was forty, I started on the Shaman’s way, a Soyong Shaman was my mentor. Hence, I help and heal folk. It was the Creator’s will to make our Chuya land. It’s the highest place, the top of the head, and all folk speak about it. Our hard land has a small amount of grass, and our folk live by their livestock. Living in Chuya, people traded with Kazakhstan, Russia and also with other countries. Nature is greatly changing. Our summertime comes one month later. It doesn’t rain. The earth is being exhausted. Our amount of livestock is dimishing. In general, our population has not increased. People are beginning to breed yaks. It’s a little more profitable to breed horses because they don’t eat much. Even if horses are on the snow, their hooves can break through it, and yaks can move snow with their muzzles. By teaching our children, and by restraining ourselves, animals and birds with unexhaustably grow. If people take care of the arkhar (mounatin sheep), marmot, capricorn and deer, Altai and Arzhans (mineral springs), then destructive practices will stop. In Altai, by 2050, climate change models predict an average decrease of glacier water volumes of 26%. Longer warm periods will lead to permafrost melt, ground subsidence as well as changes in biota, and traditional land use. Nature is changing everywhere, there are many changes with this new century. Radiation is in places of war. On different lands, there are tsunami and floods. Our earth is sacred. Mountains and rivers have their master spirits. Stones, trees, everything is with its spirits. We have our Altai land and our Altai traditions. Other planets and places are different. Everything is entirely different. It cannot be alike. Folk are diverse, they speak different languages, have different blood and clans. In themselves, they must know about their place. People don’t understand at all, they are selling the land. Sary Bur (Yellow Leaves) ritual is in the first month of Autumn, September. Winter is coming, and people give thanks for a year passing in peace, by making food and dairy product offerings like talkhan, kurut (hard cheese), and butter. For many centuries, they maintained this tradition. And now folk, having forgotten spiritual knowledge, are restoring it. Sacred sites, totemic plants and animals, recognized by Altai indigenous communities provide evidence that the first conservation movement arose thousands of years ago. Folk are reviving these old ancestoral traditions. This is an ignorant generation, people don’t understand each other. When there is another big earthquake, perhaps people will become more humble. Living on the earth, each person must respect their place. My Altai, my birthplace. It is the land of our ancestors. We must respect it, protect it, and it will give us life, it will give us health. A person must respect oneself. For thousands of years, traditional land use in Altai has been sustainable.
Living on earth, everything is connected and each person must repect their place….
it protects us, it gives us life, it gives us health. Director: Ivan Golovnev Made in association with Foundation for Sustainable Development of Altai and The Christensen Fund.