«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.


On November 7th we arrived at our 48th encampment palce, here are its geographical coordinates:  N 69º42'41,1'' E 069º24'54,4''. The linear distance from our last camp - 14 kms. This time we crossed Limbya-yaha river (last crossing in May we described here). We decided to stop on the place rich of reindeer lichen and spend there several days. 

Next day Kostya went to the big coral pick his reindeer in other private herder's herds. This day we have had visit from unexpected guests - Myangcha (Kostya's nephew) who left us in summer, and Sergey Hudi - Yaroslav's son. They were on the way to the same coral, spend a night in our chum and left in the morning. 

Local people here have their own orientation sighns in the tundra, even in complete dark. Reindeer herders know every spot on their movements ways. In the clear nights they can find orientation with the help of stars on the sky, and also of smoke's smell from chums. In one is riding during snowstorm, people can fire a torch near the chum - a pice of geofabric soaked in disel fuel. Of course there are no extraordinal abilities of tundra people (as often mention anthropologists) - they also can lose the ways in tundra and try to find it for days. Also now Nenets use modern navigation systems which makes movement in tundra much easier.   

Sergey and Myangcha (13 and 17 y.o.) on their 40 kms long way in tundra.  

IMG 4183

Reindeers and "sunny rainbow" in the sunny day:

IMG 4156

Our 48th encampment place: 

IMG 4108

Kostya came back on November 10th. Next day we moved forward. 

(please press "читать полностью")


On Movember 11th we arriver at our 49th camp place:  N 69º37'40,4'' E 069º27'36,8''. The linear distance from the last place - 9,5 kms. It wasn't a very long way - we just have got to the place there in spring we left our winter chum covers and warm women and men clothes. The temperature dropped to minus 20 degrees Celcius, everybody had quite a hard time. Also at this place we expected to find Kostya's snowbike, but his relatives have taken it to Yuribei. 

Next two days we spent sorting winter stuff in nartas, and preparing other things to leave here until next spring. People in tundra check how neat look nartas-vandako: they have to be round and knoted tight. Every woman check these nartas carefully, because on the vandako look one can refer on the woman's hostess abilities. In the nartas we found surprisingly several cans with condensed milk and some packages with dried biscuits. 

Alexandra and Albina changed their nartas with the winter ones - they look much bigger than summer nartas. Women nartas (неӈган) are build with high side boards, because during the long movements small children are riding here as well. In spring in Alexandra's narta rode Semyon, now he rides together with his father. Pedava, the youngest in the family, usually ride with his mother. Children ride in the most comfortable way, for example they take with them bread or biscuits. Also we saw how kids fell asleep and fall down from narta. 

Women's nartas are usually covered with several covers (пи') - made of fur, woollen cloth and fabric (now it's geofabric). Woollen cloth cover is decorated with traditional ornaments, but during bad weather days one place geofabric cover above it. Fashinable women in tundra use covers made of colorful veils and change them from time to time. 

Sorting stuff in nartas:

IMG 4190

Alexandra in her winter narta: 

IMG 4201

Albina and her riding nartas: summer narta on the right, next to it - winter narta. 

IMG 4203

So we riched middle of November! On November 14th we arrived at our 50th camp place:  N 69º30'23,4'' E 069º44'47,5''. The linear distance from the last palce - 17,5 kms.

In our opinion it was the hardest movement ever - severe snowstorm and the temperature about -20 degrees Celcius, strong wind made for us a very uneasy time. We had to reach Yasawei river. We constructed chum in dark. Now according to our Nenets family we are living in afall-spring version of the chum - having reindeer fur covers, but still not the warmest covers. 

Albina and Kostya say in joke that now we live very close to the way "ancient Nenets" have lived long ago: we have no snowbike, moving only on reindeers and have no gazolin. Our nomadic kindergarten is quite functional now - it's task to look after children while parents are working is completed. During longer stay at this place Alexandra is going to intensify her educational activities with the kids. 

Kostya and Alexander wearing ной соок (noi sook - woollen clothes with hoods, worn above malitsa during bad weather):


Nomadic movement on 14.11.15, Alexandra and Albina in their winder coats: 


Evening notes: 

IMG 4126

Semyon is doing puzzles:  

IMG 4137

Add comment

Security code*