Using the land

For thousands of years the people who live in the Arctic have lived off the land in a form of subsistence husbandry. There is little opportunity for growing crops in the Arctic so people live on the animals they can domesticate or those they hunt. They use these resources to their utmost.

Young Yakut preparing to head out on the land
Young Yakut preparing to head out on the land
Nenets reindeer herders alongside modern industry.
Nenets reindeer herders and power pylons

Moving with the reindeer in the winter

Nenet migration route
Nenet migration route with truck crossing in the distance
President of the reindeer herders’ association
The president of the Association of World Reindeer Herders

Subsistence husbandry

This type of animal husbandry is practiced by 100,000 people across nine nation states. This allows people to utilize the fragile northern and mountain ecosystems in the most sustainable manner possible. Reindeer husbandry can be divided into two types.

  • Tundra husbandry refers to the longer type migration practiced during the summer to the coast to avoid the attentions of biting insects. Meat production is the main aim of this practice. Indigenous peoples currently involved in this type of husbandry include the Sami, Nenets, Komi, Eveny, Chukchi and Koryak.
  • The taiga on the other hand is more geographically restricted in its migrations with the animals being primarily used for transportation and milk production.

Both methods nowadays utilize the reindeer for meat, handicrafts, skins and herbal medicine.