The Nenets, who live on the Yamal Peninsula in the Arctic Circle, for generations have had a lifestyle that seems impossible to us; the average temperature here is -10°C. This Siberian peninsula is positioned at the most northern point of Russia and its name in the native language means “end of the land,” re ecting that this is life on the edge. However, there is a lifestyle here where herdsmen happily shepherd their reindeer. When winter hits the region, the land is covered in ice and snow. The Nenets do whatever they can to continue their life based on around the reindeer, an animal that is facing extinction due to climate change.
The Nenets are a nomadic tribe. They live in tents and change their locations throughout the year, looking for new pastures. Their life is centered around the needs of the reindeer, and is shaped by the harshness of the geography. The region has shaped their clothing, housing, means of transport, and even their entertainment.
The Nenets, the only inhabitants of the Yamal Peninsula, remained out of sight for a long time. When the largest natural gas reserve was discovered in the region, the peninsula began to attract attention that it was not accustomed to. The discovery of natural gas reserves led to the construction of the world’s most northern railway. In addition, when giant craters were discovered in the region, rumors of UFOs increased, and tourism to the region has rapidly increased over the last decade. Even though more and more people are crossing the “End of the land,” the Nenets continue to live their lives at the same tempo they have for centuries, unperturbed by this sudden interest.
Upon graduating from their boarding schools, the Nenet children choose between settled and nomadic life.
The Nenets carry all their belongings on wooden sleds pulled by reindeer.
The reindeer provide transport, food, clothing and shelter -they are vital to the Nenet people (above). When it is time to migrate, the herdsmen hold the reindeer in one area with ropes and drive them in the direction they need to go (below).