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(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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One thing we may be sure of, and that is that the
nomadic culture of the tundra, with the domestication
of reindeer, is very ancient and has come down from
a remote period. In North Norway we find the keeping
of reindeer mentioned by Ottar in the ninth century,
and it seems then to have been already well developed
there. But it does not seem reasonable to suppose
that this North-Norwegian culture should have arisen
independently of the Asiatic reindeer culture, when we
remember that the whole region from Finmark to
Eastern Siberia is continuous and that nomads with
reindeer are to be found all over it. It is therefore
more reasonable to assume that there is a connection
in this nomadic culture. Most probably it came from
the eastward, from the great tundra of Siberia, where
it must have developed long ages back. If it is not
due to an unknown primitive people that preceded
the Samoyedes, which is perhaps the most probable
assumption, we must suppose that a Samoyede-speaking
people of hunters that lived in the northern part of the
forest region on the south, began little by little to tame
reindeer and keep them as domestic animals, and from
this the nomadic life of the tundra very slowly
Samoyede is the common nåme for all Samoyede
speaking tribes, but none of them calls itself so. The
nåme Samoyede sounds entirely Russian, and one would
* Mr. Kai Donner expresses complete agreement with this view,
and thinks that the reindeer culture " must be a very ancient Arctic
hereditary culture, which later immigrants have acquired from the
races, now perhaps vanished, that formerly inhabited the great
tundras. This does not prevent the possibility of its håving been far
more widely spread in earlier times. In any case it is surprising that
the terminology of reindeer-keeping shows so little linguistic agree
ment among the different peoples. We must no doubt interpret this
to mean that the reindeer has been in use among them all for a very
long time."

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