Ethnography of the Yamal nations


What the Russians call an ancestral home the Nenets would name an ancestral chum*. Every native inhabitant of the Extreme North, no matter if he or she is a Khant or a Nenets, keeps love in one's heart of hearts to this dazzling house which it takes any women an hour to assemble.

What the Russians call an ancestral home the Nenets would name an ancestral chum*. Every native inhabitant of the Extreme North, no matter if he or she is a Khant or a Nenets, keeps love in one's heart of hearts to this dazzling house which it takes any women an hour to assemble. The main thing is to place correctly the first three poles, and the further process is simple, 40 poles, 40 deerskins, and a winter home for a reindeer breeder and its family is ready. If a herd of reindeer sets out to the North in search of food, a chum is pulled down and packed up in sledges to set it up in another place. Such a nomad life! Seasons are interpreted by reindeer breeders in their own way. Thus, when it's cold a chum is covered with deerskins, in summer it's wrapped with tarpaulin. Everything is dead easy. Indeed they take everything easier. If they cook ukha** they don't put anything but fish in hot salt bouillon. Preparation of stroganina*** and fish “five-minute” is made in more simplified way. But reindeer breeders have got their own traditions that are clear only for them, nobody but them knows why a woman mustn't touch a pike and how to close a non-existent door in a chum correctly. And even Felix Mendelssohn's Wedding March is performed at Khanty weddings! Regardless of invocations and a fiancée with closed face and wearing socks instead spike heels,the Russian law is tundra law.*Chum (pronounced "choom") is a temporary dwelling used by the nomadic Yamal-Nenets. **Ukha is a clear Russian soup, made of fish like salmon or cod. *** Stroganina is a kind of frozen Siberian sashimi