Chukchi: Life of the tundra's reindeer herders

Editor - Stakheev Vladimir, photos - Andrey Shapran, music - Alash Ensemble - "Buura"

The Chukchi are an indigenous people inhabiting the Chukchi Peninsula and the shores of the Chukchi Sea and the Bering Sea region of the Arctic Ocean within the Russian Federation. They speak the Chukchi language. The Chukchi originated from the people living around the Okhotsk Sea.

The majority of Chukchi reside within Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, but some also reside in the neighboring Sakha Republic to the west, Magadan Oblast to the southwest, and Koryak Autonomous Okrug to the south.

The Chukchi are traditionally divided into the Maritime Chukchi, who had settled homes on the coast and lived primarily from sea mammal hunting, and the Reindeer Chukchi, who nomadised in the inland tundra region with their herds of reindeer.

The origin of the Chukchi reindeer husbandry is unclear, but it has been suggested that they adopted it from Eveny. Reindeer have come to provide many of their necessities: meat for food, and skins for clothing and tents called Yaranga which are covered by reindeer skin and built on props. 

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