THE NENETS of Yamal peninsula are nomadic reindeer-herders, tied to the migratory cycle of the reindeer. The days are spent taking care of the animals, fishing, working animal hides, collecting firewood, among other chores. The reindeer provide food, clothes, shelter, and transportation. The traditional dwelling of the Nenets is a 'chum', a conical white tent, similar to a teepee. Life on the Arctic Circle, where the temperature keeps at a steady minus 50°C for most of the winter is no romantic tale, but constant labor without any weekends or holidays. During the Soviet times, many of the nomads were forced to work at the collective farms, but could expect pensions and subsidies. Nowadays, most nomads reverted to traditional herding practices. Likewise, neither Russian missionaries, nor Soviet anti-religious policies could fully eradicate shamanism, which is slowly being revived.
Chum
Mother and Daughter
Back to map     |     Salekhard     |     Tundra     |     Factoria     |     Gallery