«True people» (Nenei nenecha) – self-name of Nenets, the indigenous people of the Yamal peninsula, and the name of the complex 2015–2016 ethnographic expedition. Project participants and the visitors of the resource will be the part of the reindeer herders's family during the whole year just to «dive» in the casual life of the modern XXI century nomads.


We continue publishing of our diary notes. After all events in Salekhard and Yar-Sale we stayed a little longer in Yar-Sale town waiting for a helicopter. In the end we've got to our chum only on September 14th. We sincerely thank everyone who helped us to get on board of the helicopter - as people know here from experience one can wait here for months to get to the chums located in the areas far away.

In the picture below in the middle there is Igor Slepushkin. His father Pavel one day came to Yamal from Sochi as intern for a herd manager. Then he suddenly decided to stay in tundra and become a reindeer herder: he bought his herd, married a Nenets girl and learned the language. Pavel Slepushkin was a very respected man among the reindeer herders and became a true tundra legend.  


11 chums of the 1st reindeer herders brigade "Yarsalinskoye", view from the helicopter. 


On September 14th we've got to our 39th encampment place:  N 70º17'29,2'' E 067º37'58,1''. Our chum was placed in about 2,5 kms distance from the place of our last river crossing. It's hard to find a dry place for the camp near the reindeer lichen grasslands. to the time when we reunited with our nomadic family, the chum already stood on the place for two weeks.  

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Kostja and Albina Serotetto used big plastic boards as floor boards (found them near Bovanenkovo town), but there was still very wet in the chum. Everybody wanted to move to another, clean place, and they found one in just 500 meters distance. In the night on the horizon one can see the town lights of Bovanenkovo. Though the town is quite near, but to get the mobile phone connection one still have to get higher on the gazoline barrel:)

Our chum and the view to Bovanenkovo town's lights.

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Alexandra is getting connected:  

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From September 15th to 28th we stayed at our 40th encampment: N 70º17'25,9'' E 067º38'51,3''. The linear distance from the previous place - 0,5 kms. It was our shortest kaslanie - nomadic movement. To move all the stuff and chum, we picked the riding bulls as usual, roped the reindeer teams and did other needed actions. A new place was really much drier. Albina installed a new stove. Our stove was left before with other winter stuff, but we moved with us the chimney for it, so we used it for a new stove found at one of the previous encampment places. As for firewood, the situation is not so easy. Along the river board one can find some wooden boards, but we burned them quite soon. So now we have to use purple osier and birch branches. We have to collect much more of this kind of firewood, and place piles of it near the chum. 

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Because the Kar sea is close to us now, the weather is very mild: daytime temperature is about 5-7 degrees Celcius. Without strong wind it can be called a warm autumn, although frost is quite often during nighttime. Three times we observed northern lights. Kostja and Albina belive that end of October snwo will fall and Mordy-Yaha river freeze. 

We are getting ready to cold winter time. Alexandra prepared a reindeer skin and made a tobaki (fur stocking for winter shoes) for Alexander and for herself.

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These days we often find in chum the bugs called in Nenets "ӈано' хуӈг" ("curled part of the boat"). Unfortunately we do not know the Russian or Latin name - hope biologysts can help us. These bugs can be seen outside and inside the chum, they do no harm to the people. The Nenets do not kill the bugs because of one legend: local people believe, when Jesus Christ  was cruxified , the soldiers were going to nail his heart. This moment one "ӈано' хуӈг" (nano hung) bug sat on the heart of Jesus, and soldiers believed that  they have already nailed the place. From this time on, the Nenets believe one can not kill the bug - it saved Jesus. 

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During these two weeks we rode several times upwards the Mordy-yaha river to Bovanenkovo. Each time we observed a lot of bearded seals who coming from the Kar sea (30 kms from the place). We also try to catch as much fish as possible: every family tries to salt for winter as least one narta of salted fish (about 100 kgs).  

After joining Serotetto family again, we participated some tragic events happened to our neighbors. We will not go into details, we find is not ethical, but we's like to express condolences to the people who are very close to us now. 

This time Kostja couldn't control the herd effectively and it's small part - about 30 reindeers - splitted. Animals not only left the main herd but crossed the Mordy-Yaha river going the roads they were used during the last years. Then they joined the herd in about 30 kms distance from us in South-Eastern direction. We will pick them up later this fall. 

During these uneasy for the family moments Alexandra Terekhina became a full-time kindergarten teacher, and while Albina Serotetto and Alexander Volkovicky were absent she was looking after kids and performed all tasks in the chum.  

In the end of September we observe hige flocks of wild geese and swans. At the river there are many bearded seals which are migrating up to the Kar sea.  

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