April 4, 2018
This morning we went to the Arctic Tourism Center. It is outside of town, on the only road out of Narayan-Mar, which is not completed. They have several chums set set up on several acres of land. We were met by a woman who is one of the oldest women in her tribe.
She discussed the Nenets religion. The Nenets that their world consists of three layers (or possible seven. It’s kind of confusing): the upper layer where the most powerful god lives, the middle layer, where humans and lesser gods live, and the lowest level, where bad, evil gods live. Here is an image of two of their gods, Num, the highest god, and Nna, an evil god.
She then introduced us to some reindeer, which we fed carrots and apples to.
This is not a Nenets herding dog. It is a Samoyed, which are very stupid by comparison.
Then we went into a very traditional chum with an open fire burning. She said the whole family sleeps on the floor in a specific order, the the oldest members sleeping closest to the drafty door because they are going to die soon and make room for your under people (I know, right?) they all had a hanging baby carrier which looks very much like a baby board.
Then we went to a hide covered chum and had tea
She showed us a whole family of dolls of the type we made yesterday. Someone made reindeer out of duck bills also.
Toby gave her a necklace made by his grandmother.While we were here, we met Olga Starestina, Vice-Governor of Nenets and Other Indigenous Peoples of Nenets Autonomous Okrug (that’s a handful to write!). We weren’t allowed to visit her at her office because the Russian government cannot benefit in any from this project. So she had to come out to the Arctic Tourism center in a snowstorm to meet us. She just said ‘Hi’ basically.