The Council of the Kindred People’s Programme decided to award the 2013 Ilmapuu (World Tree) Prize to Tatiana Seliverstova, chairman of the Töd’õ Jus’ society of ethno-futurists in the locality of Yakshur-Bodia, the Udmurt Republic, for her participation in the activities that help to revive and promote Udmurt culture.
The Töd’õ Jus’ (White Swan) society of ethno-futurists established in 2007 aims at reviving and promoting the culture and traditions of the Udmurts’ ancestors. The society takes part in various folklore and ethnic festivals and competitions. Activities, like prayers, family ceremonies (wedding, birth, and ancestral days), revival of the calendar holidays (the Easter, Spring Arrival) and reconstruction of the myths help to awake in the people their genetic memory and to recall their pagan history.
The Töd’õ Jus’ society of ethno-futurists is unique in the Republic of Udmurtia. The members of the society together with historians, ethnographers, and archaeologists organise research expeditions to document and collect linguistic and ethnographic materials, which are becoming unavailable as the villages get empty and few of the older generation Udmurts remain among the living. The continuity of the links with the culture of the ancestors is supported by the society with the help of academic literature and the explorative home-country studies.
The members of the society themselves stage ethno-futurist performances. Elements of authentic folklore in the plays are combined with details of current events. In the performances, traditional Udmurt musical instruments, costumes and household items made by the members of the society, are used. It is very important to show the authentic elements of life to the young generations of people who can learn about the history of the nation only from books. The activities of the Töd’õ Jus’ society are shared by persons of different age groups, including young people and children, who learn the past life of the nation, the ethnic songs, the way of life and the rituals. The society passes over to the new generation the awareness of the values of traditional family life and care for the ecology.
The Töd’õ Jus’ members are developing a new ethno-futurist language in the discourse with the audience and new approaches to present the traditional Udmurt culture so that to arise interest towards their art among different population groups. The active public work done by the society is an important contribution to the life of the village people; it helps to organize free-time activities among the community.
There were as many as 13 nominees for the Kindred People’s Programme Ilmapuu Prize, comprising researchers, school teachers, farmers, journalists, artists, and representatives of other professional groups. The applications submitted to the competition allow stating that the Finno-Ugric movement in Russia is indeed thriving at citizens’ level.
The Estonian Kindred People’s Programme awards the Ilmapuu Prize for the fourth time, thus promoting the citizens’ initiative associated with the persistence of the Finno-Ugric cultural identity. The Ilmapuu Prize is awarded annually to one of the representatives of Finno-Ugric indigenous peoples, or to a person whose local work is closely connected with the cultural identity and persistence of a kindred people, is fruitful and is acknowledged. The nominees for the Ilmapuu Prize may not be familiar to a wide audience; however, they are people whose vigorous work and inspiring enthusiasm allow us to speak of the living Finno-Ugric culture in certain locations.
The value of the prize is 2500 euros.
The winner of the Ilmapuu Prize is notified on the Votian vernal Earth-breathing day (maaentšäüz), celebrated this year on May 9.
Secretariat of the Kindred People’s Programme