Traditional reindeer herding holiday, which is called Uktyvun in Evenki, started on the 1st of March in the village of Iengra, Neryunrinsky District of Yakutia. Indigenous representatives from all the reindeer herding family communities, who spend most of the year with their herds in the taiga, came to the village to celebrate.
Iengra is an Evenki village at the south of Sakha Republic Yakutia. The name of the village in Evenki language means “branchy antlers”(the same name of the river that the village is situated by and the shape of the Iengra river reminds reindeer antlers). Iengra is mostly inhabited by Evenki people, the representatives from the ancient Evenki clans – Nyurmagan, Buta, Bellet, Longorki, Keptuke and others. Traditional livelihood of Evenki people in Iengra is reindeer herding, hunting and fishing.
Nadezhda Gerasimova is Evenki from reindeer herding family in Iengra, she is an author of the culinary book about traditional food culture of Evenki people. According to the author, the main purpose of the book is to preserve Evenki traditional knowledge on food, history and culture of Evenki people from Southern Yakutia.
Drones are appearing all over the place these days, it is probably only a matter of time before the larger ones become more stringently regulated. In the meantime, here is a nice video made by a drone, of the ‘Reindeer Herders Day’ in Iengra (which took place last week) in the Republic of Sakha Yakutia, Russia. Iengra is nearly 900 km of the regions’ capital Yakutsk. Many Evenki and Eveny herders live in and around the village, and herders from here are part of the Nomadic Herders project.
Reindeer Herders’ days occur all over Russia at this time of year and are a celebration of the profession of reindeer herding and usually there are reindeer races, various competitions, ceremonies and more.
Last week, Mikhail Pogodaev, Anna Degteva, Svein Mathiesen and Bjorn Alfthan headed south to visit potential areas of focus for the Nomadic Herders’ GEF project. We were accompanied by Anatoly Grigorjev, Director of the Union of Indigenous Obschinas of the Republic of Sakha, who knows first hand the issues and challenges facing reindeer herders’ in the region.
After a brief stop in Neryungri to discuss the project with the Head and Vice-Head of Neryungri District, we made our way to Iengra, a village 60 km south of Neryungri. There we had our first consultation meeting with reindeer herders and administrators of the village, to discuss the project and gather feedback on priorities for the project. After Pogodaev presented the primary concepts of the project, we covered many topics related to reindeer herding, land use change and biodiversity. Priorities emerging from the discussions included the need for dialogue with industry on land use issues; significant problems with wolf predation; and how to engage youth into the future.