Nenets, the last nomads of Siberia
photo by Fabrice Dimier(LIBRE ARBITRE)

01

With his binoculars, Serguei tries to locate his herd of deer. Sometimes they can disperse miles from the camp. It's the sign that the animals have exhausted the reserves of lichen in the area and it will soon be necessary to pack up camp to move thirty or so kilometres to the north.

01

Nomad territory in the north of the Yamalo Nenets autonomous area. 40,000 Nenetsi live on a territory with a surface area of 770,000 km2. It is estimated that 7000 of them are nomads.

03

Alia cuts tinder for the night. The Nenets woman's job is to gather wood, branches from the dwarf birches and creeping shrubs, a precious staple sometimes since the forest is a thousand leagues from the camp

04

Serguei tries to catch a reindeer with his tynzian (lasso). The day before, in anticipation, he had put a string of wood pieces around the animal to slow it down

05

Following the slaughter of a reindeer, the family shares the choice morsels, which are eaten raw. The deer's blood is drunk warm to take on the animal's strength

06

Nenets girl

07

In the north of the Yamalo Nenets autonomous area, a family retrieve the fish nets placed in the frozen lake the week before. Fish (along with deer meat) is the nomads' staple. They eat it raw (frozen and cut into slices) or boiled.

08

Before sunset, a woman gathers wood for the night

09

Nomad dwelling in the north of the Yamalo Nenets Area. In this part of the territory, wood is rare and the Nenets are more and more making the transition to settled communities.

10

A break during a migration in the south of the Yamalo Nenets autonomous area

11

Setting up camp. The chum is built like a teepee covered in deer skins. Planks of wood insulate the floor from the snow. In the centre they place the hearth

12

Uliana called a medical aviation service from her chum in the tundra to be taken to the hospital. She is 9 months pregnant. The transfer time from her tchoum to the hospital (3 hours away) was too long. Uliana gave birth aboard the helicopter.

13

Uliana called the medical aviation service from her chum in the tundra to be taken to the hospital. She is 9 months pregnant. The transfer time from her tchoum to the hospital (3 hours away) was too long. Uliana gave birth aboard the helicopter.

14

Each brigade moves its herd along a migration corridor between the forest in the south and the tundra in the north.