eTolbo: August 2015

Call for Foundation Membership

This is another call for membership for the Chinggis Khan Memorial Foundation. Information about the foundation can be found here. The web version of the sign up form is available here.

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Review of Moving with the Seasons: Portrait of a Mongolian Family by Liza Carter

Reviewed by Randall K. Barry, acquisitions and cataloging librarian for Mongolian materials at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC

As a librarian I inspect many new books in the course of the average day. It’s not uncommon for one or two of them to pique my interest. I generally pause, take a closer look, perhaps even read the preface, table of contents, or back cover, but that’s as far as I go. Then there are those special books that I find so interesting that I end up reading them from cover to cover. Moving with the Seasons : Portrait of a Mongolian Family by Liza F. Carter was one of those books. After the first day of fixation with this beautifully illustrated work, I decided to let it sit on the corner of my desk for a while. For at least a week, every time I took a break or went to lunch I’d leave with Carter’s book in hand, hoping to make it through another chapter. Perhaps in traditional librarian style, I didn’t read the book front to back. I jumped randomly from chapter to chapter, in case my remaining time with the book was cut short. Each chapter was informative, well-written, visually beautiful, and touching. Since I handle at least 700 new Mongolian books a year I thought I already knew a good deal about the country, but this book taught me so much more. It gave the distant nation and little-known culture a face and heart. Even though many Americans would be hard pressed to find Mongolia on a map, the book’s universal, human appeal is undeniable.

The author found an ideal Mongolian family to write about; young, nuclear, self-sufficient, rural and nomadic yet welcoming to outsiders, and traditional without being ignorant of the modern world beyond the plains populated by their herds. Carter had clearly learned much about traditional Mongolian culture and nomadic life before starting her work on the book. It is also clear that each season she shared with the host family was a source of fascinating insights, beautiful surprises, and sometimes the kind of painful experiences we all share as humans. In the process she became part of their extended family, a life-changing event that ultimately helped her to communicate their story to us so effectively. Moving with the Seasons is not just a book with pretty pictures and factual passages about a far-away land. It manages to bring the reader into this Mongolian family’s world of work, relaxation, celebration, perseverance, and occasional human pain. It leaves the reader not only with a much greater understanding of this little-known culture, but also captures a year in the life of a nomadic family, the likes of whom is likely to become harder and harder to find in our modern world. It was an effortless read; uplifting even when through tears. If your library has no other book on Mongolia, this should be this one. For most I believe it would be the first of many.

For more information, visit Liza Carter's website!

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New York City's 3rd Annual Naadam 2015

On Saturday, July 11th 2015, the 3rd annual Naadam celebration was held in New York City's Central Park. The event was organized by the Mongol Heritage Foundation, Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the UN, and the Buryat House. Mongolians, Kalmyks, Buryats, Tuvans, Hazaras, and South Mongols from all over the city came together to celebrate the major festival that traditionally showcases the three main Mongol sports: wrestling, horse racing, and archery. Saturday's Naadam in NYC put Mongolian traditions on display, while remaining urban-friendly. There was an arm-wrestling competition, children's wooden horse race, and a traditional Mongolian wrestling tournament as well. Attendees were treated to several musical and dance performances as well. The full day event was concluded with a special performance by the newly formed local Mongol band, Chandmani.

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Abstract from the New York Times

Article Title: "China Fences In Its Nomads, and an Ancient Life Withers"

For more of the article, click here

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Abstract from a Letter to Science

Article Title: "Scientists Call for Conservation of Ewenkis' Fading Culture

For more of the article, click here