«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.


Summer is here! During sunny days our nomadic kindergarden's lesson are held outside of the chum:


But sunny weather didn't continue for long. On June 2nd it started to rain heavily during we were sleeping (daytime, because we are moving mostly at nights). Wind was so strong, that it almost took away our chum:  Kostja and Albina have reacted and woke up just in time to to put nartas to all sides of the chum,  tie additional ropes and save us all.  

On June 4th 2015 we arrived at out 17nd campside since beginning of our nomadic journey:N  69º48'49,2'' E 069º12'59,0'', slant range – 4,6 km. This time we have changed our day regimen: collected reindeers in the morning and started to move forward in the daytime.

This time we've left at our encampment place another three nartas, changed them to three nartas of Albina. One of those nartas we've left was syabu or "unclean narta". Usually they put in syabu floor boads, huners (bed mats), women's foot wear and underwear in the separate sack or bag - everything with can touch woman's feet. In the same narta they put stove, tea-kettles and cooking pots. All these items are made of metal, so it's considered "safe" for them to travel in syabu -  according to the Nenets beliefs metal can "neutralize" female energy - syamei (that's why in the modern culture  women are allowed to step, for example, over generator's electric cable. And some ladies believe that such modern time material as foam plastic have same neutralizing qualities as metal). 

The Nenets have a whole complex of tabu connected with beliefs of female's "danger/unpurity" (Nenets: syamei), especially during the menstruation time. Women are not allowed to step over/step on the items related to reindeer breeding (ropes, leading sticks etc), men's and children's staff. Also it's not allowed to cross an invisible line leading from the stove to chum's backside, and to go round the chum

Syabu narta, left till next Autumn:


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In the spring time reindeer herderer are trying to get rid of all unnessesary loads, so syabu with floor planks and stove have been left on this encampment. Female bags from now on will be put on the woman's narta. They place these bags on some metal item, in Alexandra's narta there is an Aluminium wash-basin for it. 

The air temperature clmbed up to +15ºC and more, it's really hard for reindeers, so we led argishes on foot. Kostya's son Hasavako from now on is leading his own argish. On the picture Pedava and Hasavako are training to use lasso:


Argish of Sasha:


Puine on her argish:


As soon as we've built our chum, our first thunder storm in Yamal started. Sitting in our chum in the middle of tundra we learned some superstitious beliefs and tabus related to the thunder storm. For example, Nenets believe that during the thunder storm it's not good to step outside without headwear, other tabus are to make a fire, to smoke and to gamble. Besides we were told about some cases when lightning affected chums or argishes

On June 5th there was a visit of helicopter. Usually these administrative flights are planned once a month, when tundra inhabitants are brought from the town back to tundra (for example after the stay in a hospital). Now we have more neighbors - Kostya Hudi's younger sister and her two children. 

On June 6th we arrived at our 18th encampment: N  69º51'17,7'' E 069º05'45,8'', slant range – 6,5 km. Again we were moving partly on foot, but in some places there was a lot of melt-water - the surface rather confortable for reindeers to move.

Alexandra Terekhina and her argish:


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