Top 5 myths about the life of reindeer herders in the Yamal tundra
About 42 thousand representatives of the indigenous minorities of the North (IP) live in Yamal. Of these, 16.5 thousand are nomadic. However, residents of other Russian regions often have a very vague idea of their life, lifestyle and traditions. There are many myths and rumors around Yamal indigenous people, including shamanism and idol worship.
Myth number 1. All nomads are shamans.
Religious rituals used to be always an integral part of the life and culture of the indigenous people. There are still sacred places in Yamal where tundra people once asked for help from spirits and sacrificed animals. Some of the indigenous people were considered shamans, that is, they had some kind of energy and could direct it for various purposes. For this, they performed various rituals using a tambourine. However, now those who are fond of shamanism, there are not so many.
“Religious rituals somehow quietly faded into the background, since during the years of the formation of the Soviet power, all the shamans were almost transplanted to the camps, from there no one returned.
There are no one to teach new ones, but there are several self-taught shamans, these are shamans from nature, ”said Alexey Vaynuto.
But still, the Yamalek added, the majority of the inhabitants of the tundra are believers - pagans, not Christians.
“There are several families of Baptists, but the rest of the tundra people consider their souls lost,” said Alexey.
Myth number 2. All nomads - alcoholics
Alcoholism among indigenous people is considered a big problem. It arose with the beginning of the active development of Western Siberia. The first to speak about the problem of alcoholism were the representatives of the Indigenous Peoples. Already in 1997, more than half of them expressed concern that the problem of drunkenness in the North is more acute than in other regions of Russia.
The problem is aggravated by the peculiarities of the body of representatives of indigenous people. According to doctors, there are not enough enzymes in the body of Khanty, Mansi and Nenets that are responsible for the splitting of alcohol, therefore the expression “do not know how to drink” is not a figure of speech, but a fact.
However, according to Alexey Vanuito, the scale of the problem of alcoholism is greatly exaggerated. According to him, right now the representatives of the Indigenous Minorities, like all people, can drink, but at the same time do not forget about their business.
“These are the most reindeer peoples in the world.Just look at the number of deer and the scale of the territories in which they graze. If it is true that tundra people are alcoholics, then where is all this from? Yes, indigenous people also drink, it even happens a lot. But imagine the situation - an ordinary average citizen of Russia is forced three or four months, or even six months, to live far from all the blessings of civilization and do without alcohol. What will he do first of all when he comes to a settlement with the sale of alcohol? Drink it. And not weak, but in a big way. Also tundra. From here and the myth about alcoholism. But in the tundra itself you will not drink much, you need to protect the herd. Again, the migrations, and it is not safe, ”said Vanuito.
Myth number 3. In the chums unpleasant smell
Tourists who have been in the plague on Yamal, say that harsh weather conditions do not allow reindeer herders and their families to wash frequently. In connection with this, there is a rumor about tundra that there is an unpleasant smell in their chums.
However, Alexey says that this is not so. According to him, in the plague all odors disappear, thanks to the constant circulation of air. It remains only the smell of smoke that eats into the skins.But the fact that reindeer herders wash less often than those who live in civilization is true, says Alexey.
“In the tundra you will not get especially thin. It is very easy to catch a cold. Need warm water, it needs to be heated. In the summer, indigenous people swim in the lakes, and even then, if the summer is warm. In winter, only a shower or a bath in the village, ”said a representative of the Indigenous Minorities.
Myth number 4. Reindeer breeders offer guests sex with their wives.
Another minor myth about the preservation of the centuries-old tradition of mating a guest with the host's wife goes about the SIM. They say it came from the past in order to preserve the race. The custom concerned a representative of another nation in order to dilute the blood, as there were many relatives among the indigenous peoples. Visitors in these parts are rare, so rumor has it that this tradition is a way to refresh generic blood.
But Alexey Vanuito called this myth strange, since all tundra people are religious people. According to him, there are a lot of prohibitions in the relationship between a man and a woman, especially with outsiders.
“Since ancient times, the Nenets have been divided into two groups, the phratries, - Vanuito and Okotetto. Marriages between members of the same phratry, even if they were separate clans, were prohibited.To rely on marrying only representatives of another phratry. In addition to these two phratries, there are seven genera of Khanty origin and two or three genera of Enets origin. So the problem of "fresh blood" we do not exist, "- said Alexey.
According to him, there are cases when representatives of the Indigenous Minorities marry with the Russians. According to Alexei, some Russians who married Nenks became the founders of the Nenets clans. This is how the names of Slepushkin, Shumilov and Shushakov appeared.
“Nenets with Russian surnames. Some of them are even prosperous reindeer herders, ”said Alexey.
Myth number 5. Nomads are becoming less
In the media, there is often information that the tundra people “get stuck” with the nomadic way of life and go to civilization - to the villages and cities. The tundra children’s education in a boarding school, who get used to a comfortable and modern life, as well as the desire of young people to enroll in educational institutions and try themselves in different specialties, contributes to this.
However, Alexey Vanuito has a completely different point of view. He assures that in the tundra every year there are more and more people.
"Tundra pushes only the" extra ". For example, the sick or those who could not save their deer, ”said Alexey.