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Experiences of a Dutch Journalist




Visiting the Nivkhs, October 2001

With a group of linguists I went to central Sakhalin to learn more about the traditions of one of the native peoples of Sakhalin, the Nivkhs.


On the way to village of the native people, we were welcomed with a Russian tradition: the bread ceremony. This ceremony is the symbol of hospitality. We had to dip a piece of bread in salt and eat it. Very tasty bread.


The Nivkh language is still taught at school twice a week in the village Chir-Unvd. The kids also learn about the traditional way of living of the Nivkhs, who mainly lived of fishing.


This Nivkh group 'Kekh' gives performances all over the world.


Some Nivkh fishermen demonstrated the traditional way of fishing. Nowadays, the Nivkhs have some communal farms apart from fishing.


The fish is cleaned immediately on the river bank. Every single piece is used.


And this is what they make of it. The Nivkhs only don't prepare these meals at home anymore, just for holidays. It all tastes very fishy. Even the pudding-like berry dish (prepared with fish fat). It was edible, although I'm glad I don't have to eat it every day!