In recent decades the number of domestic reindeer stock across indigenous communities in the Siberian taiga have fallen dramatically. While this has been viewed as a crisis, this paper discusses how reindeer herders are adjusting their traditional herding strategies to modern conditions. A methodology of contextualization is used to evaluate five reindeer herders’ communities situated in different regions of Eastern Siberia. Changes in Siberian reindeer herding are analyzed according to three main types of contexts differing as to the period of their formation: a) traditional contexts that pre-existed the Soviet system, b) contexts formed in the Soviet time; and c) contexts created by post-Soviet reforms. Under modern conditions reindeer stock reduction is important relative to the economic context, but the role of reindeer herding in cultural and political contexts is increasing. The slow formation of “buffer” social contexts makes the taiga reindeer herding communities’ condition vulnerable.
This article analyzes the semantic structure of domestic deer herd names in Alutor, a Kamchatkan language spoken by a semisettled group of Koryaks. The structure of the lexicon shows a variety of names of herds and parts of herds according to sex and age of a deer and the relative location of a deer in the herd, and of names of harnesses and parts of harnesses. Herd names and names of parts of reindeer harnesses represent composite lexemes consisting of simple nouns. All Alutor names in the present article are explained in their contexts, as well as in the hierarchical organization of the hypero-hyponymic groups in which synonym relations and relations of variation are being observed.
The Meaning of Local Landscape in the Pallastunturi Fells
Nature and environment are important for the people earning their living from natural sources of livelihood. This article concentrates on the local perspective of the landscape in the Pallastunturi Fells, which are situated in Pallas-Ylläs National Park in Finnish Lapland. The Fells are both important pastures for reindeer and an old tourism area. The Pallastunturi Tourist Hotel is situated inside the national park because the hotel was built before the park was established 1938. Until the 1960s, the relationship between tourism and reindeer herding had been harmonious because the tourism activities did not disturb the reindeer herding, but offered instead ways to earn money by transporting the tourists from the main road to the hotel, which had been previously without any road connections. During recent years, tourism has been developed as the main source of livelihood in Lapland and huge investments have been made in several parts of Lapland. One example of this type of investment is the plan to replace the old Pallas Tourist hotel, which was built in 1948, with a newer and bigger one. It means that the state will allow a private enterprise to build more infrastructures for tourism inside a national park where nature should be protected and this has sparked a heated debate. Those who oppose the project criticise this proposal as the amendment of a law designed to promote the economic interests of one private tourism enterprise. The project's supporters claim that the needs of the tourism industry and nature protection can both be promoted and that it is important to develop a tourist centre which is already situated within the national park. This article is an attempt to try to shed light on why the local people are so loudly resisting the plans by a private tourism enterprise to touch the national park. It is based on my fieldwork among reindeer herding families in the area.
Inclusive vs. Exclusive Senses of Property among the Tozhu and Tofa of Southern Siberia
The Tofa and Tozhu peoples of southern Siberia are closely related ethnically, linguistically, geographically, and in their traditional economic activities of reindeer herding, hunting, and gathering. However, they have long been divided by administrative boundaries, leading to different historical trajectories and drastic differences in their sense of property rights. The Tofa have a much longer history of interaction with Russians and other incomers than the Tozhu. Many Tofa now find themselves without official hunting grounds, while those who have rights to hunting grounds guard them jealously. This situation is striking in contrast to the sense of property just across the border in the Tozhu district of the Republic of Tyva, where non-exclusivity is still the salient feature of Tozhus' sense of property today. This article discusses changes in the distribution of hunting grounds among the Tofa, and compares the Tofa's sense of exclusive rights of access to the remarkably inclusive approach among the Tozhu.
Mobility is an aspect of human activity that is highly contextual but also in need of a framework for comparative analysis through time and space. This article examines Evenki mobility patterns and their relationship to economic practices of hunting, fishing, and reindeer herding, and utilizes a framework for considering mobility cross-culturally. The Evenkis are an indigenous minority living throughout central and eastern Siberia in the Russian Federation. In the fall and winter of 2011/2012, fieldwork among two groups of Evenkis documented patterns of mobility for reindeer pasturage, foraging and logistical purposes. Mobility related to these activities is connected to specific ecological, social, and economic factors.
By a twist of fate, Noglikskii District in northeastern Sakhalin Island, the Russian Far East, has ended up at the epicenter of huge multinational offshore oil and gas developments. The two most advanced of these are the projects Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2, whose operators are Exxon Neftegaz Ltd. (ExxonMobil) and Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd. or Sakhalin Energy (Shell) respectively. Sakhalin-2 started production in 1999, while Sakhalin-1 started production in 2005. Further projects to develop the oil and gas reserves of Sakhalin’s northern shelf are still in the exploratory phase. Another major oil company—British Petroleum (BP)—is planning to take part in Sakhalin-5, togetherwith its Russian partner Rosneft’. The Sakhalin-5 Project is focused more on Noglikskii District’s northern neighbor, Okhinskii District. As expected, Northern Sakhalin is experiencing significant consequences from these projects: ecological, social, and also cultural, as indigenous peoples still practice their traditional livelihood activities in northern Sakhalin. This article explores the local changes wrought by the Sakhalin offshore oil and gas projects in Noglikskii District. After providing a background to Noglikskii District, its people, history, and natural environment, the article focuses specifically on the relationship between the oil and gas extraction activities of the Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2 projects and the reindeer husbandry and hunting activities of the local populations. The article describes efforts by the companies to mitigate negative project impacts and to promote development opportunities. Company-community and company-contractor relations are also discussed.
Based on fieldwork in Zabaikal'e, this report describes Orochen hunters' and reindeer herders' uses and interpretations of fire. Ethnographic evidence presents a wide use of fire and smoke in daily life in the taiga. Fire and smoke play a crucial role in reindeer herding and hunting of ungulates and fur animals. The author argues that fire symbols are an important part of Orochen cosmology and relate to broader themes of hunting magic, mastery, and the perception of animals. Research into the cosmological knowledge of fire uses provides us with a broader scope of interpretation of camping characteristics and land use.
The Nenets people have various forms of worshipping spirits in their sacred landscapes. The article examines the history, definitions, and classifications of forms of worship of the Nenets sacred places (khebidia ia). Cult structures (khekhe) include objects of nature as well as effigies of various deities installed at sacred sites or residential areas. Images of a master spirit carved in stone or wood (siadei) mark tribal or general significant sites of worship. The main activities carried out on these sacred sites relate to seasonal rituals of the life cycle and to subsistence practices such as fishing and hunting. The most important of them were sacrificial rituals.
Heli Saarikoski and Kaisa Raitio
This article illustrates the interconnectedness of science and politics through a case study of old-growth forest conflict in Finnish Upper Lapland. It demonstrates the ways in which “traditional science“ has failed to settle the decades-long conflict between state forestry and traditional Sámi reindeer herding, and discusses the potential of democratization of science through more inclusive forms of knowledge production. The analysis, which is based on qualitative interview data, shows that a traditional science focus on biological indicators and mathematical modeling has provided only a partial account of the reindeer herding-forestry interactions by ignoring the local, place-specific practices that are equally important in understanding the overall quality of pasture conditions in Upper Lapland. It concludes that an inclusive inquiry, structured according to the principles of joint fact-finding, could create a more policy-relevant, and also more scientifically robust, knowledge basis for future forest management and policy decisions.
Gail Fondahl, Timothy Heleniak, Christopher Hill and Michèle Therrien
Yulian Konstantinov, Reindeer-Herders. Field-Notes from the Kola Peninsula (1994–1995)
Florian Stammler, Reindeer Nomads Meet the Market. Culture, Property and Globalisation at the “End of the Land”
Aimar Ventsel, Reindeer, Rodina and Reciprocity. Kinship and Property in a Siberian Village
Vladislava Vladimirova, Just Labor. Labor Ethic in a Post-Soviet Reindeer Herding Community
Patty A. Gray, The Predicament of Chukotka’s Indigenous Movement: Post-Soviet Activism in the Russian Far North
A.A. Velchko and V.P. Nechaev, eds., Cenozoic Climatic and Environmental Changes in Russia
John F. Hoffecker and Scott A. Elias, Human Ecology of Beringia
Natascha Sontag, Map of the Inuit Language in Inuit Communities in Canada, Inuktitun Inuit Nunanginni Kanatami, La langue inuit dans les communautés inuit au Canada
Film Received for Review