Galina Tserenova, An Interview

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Okonova, Altana 
Churyumov, Anton 

Before the mass deportation of the Kalmyks in 1943, Galina’s parents lived in Astrakhan’ oblast’. In 1943, the family was sent to the village of Oboinoe in Krasnoyarskiy krai where Galina was born in 1949. Her family had six children. In 1958 Galina and her family returned to the village of Karabulak in Ikryaninskiy rayon, Astrakhan oblast’. There Galina finished 8 grades in secondary school. In 1969 she finished the Pedagogical college in Elista and was sent to the secondary school in Kharba. To this day Galina works in the local school as a teacher. Galina married in Kharba, has three children and seven grandchildren. Three of Galina’s sisters live in Elista. Galina says that in her family men and boys were always respected. For example, she never quarreled with her brother. Galina’s father had a 7-year education which was quite impressive by the standards of that time. He worked as a brigadier and as an accountant in a fruit farm. Galina’s mother was a seasonal worker in a fishery. Galina says she does not know much about her ancestors and genealogy. When she was young, Galina did not know much about rituals either. But with age she came to appreciate Kalmyk rituals. She reminisces that her mother was a religious person and used to go to see a lama named Sharav. Later lama Sharav moved away to Tsagan-Aman. Today along with her friend Maria, Galina looks after the local temple in her village. It was the previous temple attendant, a woman named Dusya, who asked Galina to look after the temple, because both were born in the year of the cow. Dusya also likes Galina, because Galina is a responsible person. When Dusya died, Galina and Maria took charge of the temple. In the video Galina talks about the ritual of gal tyalgn (fire offerings).

autobiography, exile, Siberia, childhood, family, education, tradition, religion, rituals
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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.