Indigenous transport does not harm tundra

Indigenous transport does not harm tundra

March 04, 2021

From Tuhard to the Taimyr Main Chum in Dudinka, a wooden sled was brought not by deer, but by a snowmobile.

“The women’s Nenets sled is made according to an old technology without a single nail from a freshly cut larch”, says Anna Yarotskaya, an employee of the Taimyr House of Folk Art. “It took the Tuhard reindeer breeder Yury Yaptune a month to work”.

According the ancient technology for making a sled the master used ancient tools: special ax, knife and drill for wood. Traditionally, the Nenets sled, both passenger and cargo, was a construction of a pair of highly bent runners, on which two to six pairs of poppets were placed obliquely, connected by cross sections. A women’s light sled is always more massive and more stable than a man’s one, so that you can safely put a cradle with a child.

The sled (narta) made by Yaptune could transport its owner across the tundra on reindeer, since the Nenets still massively preserve their nomadic way of life, but was originally intended for exposing in the Main Chum of Taimyr. Today, it is a working exhibit of the ethnic park. Using the example of the remake, the guides tell about the main year-round means of transportation in the tundra, which, unlike modern vehicles, does not do any harm to it.

At the end of this year, a whole train of Dolgan sledges, also built according to ancient technologies, will join the Nenets artefact. The project has a beautiful name – Sacred Narta.

All the peoples of the Siberian Far North, besides for freight, riding, male and female vehicles, also had special sleds for transporting ritual items. Not all structures have survived to this day, therefore, specialists will look for the lost species and technologies on an expedition to the villages of the Hatanga region. And only after collecting the materials by the efforts of the Taimyr Main Chum masters, it is planned to start recreating the entire variety of Dolgan sledges.

Text: Valentina Vachaeva, Photo: Taimyr House of Folk Art

March 04, 2021

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