An insightful analysis of Soviet policy on Aboriginal issues.
Dennis Bartels and Alice Bartels trace the development of Soviet policy towards Aboriginal peoples from 1917 to 1989. Focusing on educational and social policies and practices, When the North Was Red reveals the problems encountered by Native peoples in Siberia and provides insights into Aboriginal issues facing other nations.
Early Soviet policy towards northern Native peoples was aimed at establishing Aboriginal nations that retained traditional languages and occupations and included Native peoples in Soviet institutions such as schools, collective farms, and the Communist Party. However, the success of these initiatives varied. While boarding schools provided new educational and occupational opportunities for Aboriginal peoples, traditional occupations and Native languages suffered.
Focusing on the final years of the Soviet Union, the authors describe the efforts of Aboriginal political activists to address the problem of protecting Aboriginal rights in nations with large, non-Aboriginal majorities and explore whether protection of traditional cultures excludes participation in the larger society. In addressing these universal issues, When the North Was Red is relevant to all nations where Native peoples co-exist with non-Aboriginal majorities.