Alrosa – Kyndykan Project

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Kristina Cheremkina, project ambassador


The modern world brings together the traditions of different communities,

which honor their history. Each nation has its own national hero а

composite character who embodies their most important qualities and

characteristics. Some national heroes are known throughout the world. For

example, Pocahontas and Moana long ago introduced people to their

nations and won over people’s hearts.

The communities in Russia’s Far North live in the harshest climatic

conditions. They are known for their endurance, spiritual strength and valor,

and their history is rich with heroic characters.

Yakut Even community at the spring awakening festival ‘Ayanna Myalanni’

The Kyndykan project is a true story about a little Even girl who was found by

Yakut hunters 200 years ago near the Verkhoyansk Mountains (Yakutia) in an

ancestral settlement that had been completely wiped out by smallpox. The

author and mastermind of the project is Margarita Popova, the

seventh-generation great granddaughter of Kyndykan.

Kyndykan is the name of my seventh-generation great grandmother. When she

was little, she was found by hunters in a settlement that had been completely

wiped out by smallpox and then she was taken to the Kobyaysky District in

Yakutia. How she survived alone remains an enigma and a mystery. Working on

An Even folk saying states: “No deer No Even”

An Evenki from the village of Iengra. Photo project

‘In Search of Kyndykan’ by Yakut photographer

Sergey Sharin

А scene from the Kyndykan video shoot. The Even costume

was created by Anna Khabarovskaya, one of the last remaining

practitioners of the dying folklore tradition ‘nimkan’.

this project, I have started to delve deeper into the history of the indigenous

minorities, meeting and talking with my relatives who are also descendants of

Kyndykan, and sharing information. The most important thing is that this story is

not fictional, but real. This project has already become the main purpose and

dream of my life.”

Kyndykan is a symbol of the endurance, spiritual strength and unique value of

the indigenous peoples of the Far North. Her story is the prototype of a

character who has every chance of becoming a national symbol, a new

Pocahontas or Moana.

The project is designed to tell the world about the indigenous peoples living in

the North, to draw the international community’s attention to the problem of the

disappearance of their traditional way of life, and to help popularize their

languages and preserve their culture and age-old traditions for future


In September, the project’s founder unveiled a print version of the Kyndykan

story authored by the young writer Lidiya Tarasova. Ethnographers, linguists,

and practitioners of the Even language and culture were all involved in creating

the tale, which is being published in two languages - Russian and Even.

The story of the brave little girl has featured in

a song by Yakut performer KitJah, the video

of which was filmed in a remote

deer-breeding camp in Eveno-Bytantay

District. The song has become an absolute hit

in recent months, while the video continues

to attract hundreds of thousands of views.


Craftswoman and

blogger Khaarchaana

Bappagay has created

a Kyndykan doll

dressed in a traditional

Even costume.

Support for the

A young Evenki woman from Oymyakon.

Photo project ‘In Search of KyndykanKyndykan project has

by Yakut photographer Sergey Sharin. been provided by

ALROSA, the world’s largest diamond mining

company, which has 90% of its production assets located in Yakutia. The

company provides ongoing support to the indigenous peoples in Yakutia by

helping to preserve historical values and revive cultural traditions, taking part in

organizing ethnic festivals, supporting ancestral deer-herding and fishing

settlements, training local communities in various specialties and creating jobs,

and providing everything required for everyday life.

The next step in the Kyndykan project will be the creation of a short animation

film which will introduce the world to the character of Kyndykan. In addition,

the first dedicated Kyndykan foundation is being set up. The foundation will

accumulate the dividends and use them to preserve the languages, culture and

traditional way of life of the indigenous peoples of the North, and to support

Yakutia’s creative potential.


- Murals on the topic of Northern folklore using innovative paint with a

photocatalytic effect capable of purifying air;

- An educational expedition to a deer-breeding camp with masterclasses

and training courses for children and young people of the indigenous


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