- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
31

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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VISITS FROM SAMOYEDES
31
and northern parts of Yamal takes about two months,
and the same time is occupied by the return journey
in autumn. In this way the Samoyede with his tent
is four months of the year on the march, northward
and then southward again. The other eight months he
spends comparatively quietly within his territory on the
Yamal tundra, or in the forests on the Obi.
Thus from November to March Yamal is almost
void of people ; only a few Samoyedes stay behind on
Malygin Strait, and on the coast of the Kara Sea,
to hunt bears early in the spring. It sometimes happens,
too, that Samoyedes stay the winter on the Gulf of
Obi or on the great lakes, those who have too few rein
deer to make the long journey to the south and are
obliged to have recourse to fishing, and they may often
settle there for years at a time.
There are ten different tribes in Yamal, each with
its own section of the peninsula as a rule ; and usually
each tribe has fixed boundaries for its reindeer pastures,
just as each chum (or tent) has, though they are not
always kept very strictly. The chum keeps fairly quiet
within these boundaries in summer ; and only moves
as far as may be necessary to secure fresh pasture for
the reindeer.
Within his own territory the Samoyede fishes in the
lakes and catches geese in the moulting season. He
looks upon the lairs of the white and blue fox as his
indisputable property, and sets his traps and snares
round about them.
The Samoyedes live well in Yamal. It is a fertile
country with broad pastures and with a wealth of furs,
birds and fish. This accounts for the relatively large
number of Samoyedes to be found there. The herd of a
single owner may number as many as 5000 reindeer ;
Samoyedes who have only two or three hundred are
not looked upon as well off. Those who are poor in

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