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Self-ethnonym of the Soyot – Soyyt (сойыт). Buryat, among whom they live dispersed, call them Khoyöd һоёд. To neighboring Tofalar they are known as Khaazuut (һаазуут). This name derives from Soyot ethnonym Khaazuut (һаазуут), used as the name of the largest Soyot clan. Their other clans – Irkit (иърһит) and Onkhot (оъңһыт) – are not so numerous.
According to the evidence of old residents of Okinskiy District, both Soyot and Buryat, relatively recently, approximately 350-400 years ago Soyot representing clans Irkit, Khaasuut and Onkhot moved from the vicinities of Khabsugul Lake, Mongolia, where they led nomadic life on the territories of Darkhat Somons Khankha and Uuri, and also in the area of Rinchinlkhumbe Mountain considered to be a sacred protecting mountain. After crossing Mongolian borders Soyot started settling in Tunka and, partially, in Zakamenka. However, since there are almost no places favorable for reindeer herding there a part of Soyot which adopted animal husbandry and settled in Tunka and Zakamenka merging with local Buryats. As for reindeer herders, they moved to Oka, to the mountain range dividing Oka River and Irkut River, in the region lacking reindeer moss and food. This is the way Soyot came to Oka.
In Darkhat region of Mongolia, situated to the west from Khubsugul Lake there are still Turkic-language reindeer herders living, whom Mongols called Tsaatan (цаатан) (literally, a reindeer herder), and also Uigar, that is Uighur, and sometimes Uigar Tsaatan, Tsaatan Uighur (literally, “reindeer herding Uighur”). Tsaatan Uighur per se call themselves by name Tukha (myъha), which is very close to Tofalar ethnonym – Tofá, compare, for instance, with Tuvinian name – Tyva-Dyva. Besides, Oka Buryat, along with Urynkhad (literally, “Urynkhay”) use expression Uigar Khelten that is “Uighur speaking” to name Tuvinian and Tofalar. It speaks for the fact that memory of Buryat people associates the present Turkic ethnic groups with ancient Uighur. Clan composition of Tsaatan and also of other reindeer herding groups of Darkhat ,originated from Sayan Turkic reindeer herders, also includes Irkit, Khaasuut, Onkhot clans. Obviously, modern Oka Soyot trace their origin from these Sayan Turkic reindeer herders...more