A photo story by Yuri Kokovin, published in Russian Hunting Magazine 12/2015.
Evenk are a small indigenous people of Siberia, nomads of the Taiga. They have snowmobiles, but they prefer to travel by reindeer, because reindeer don’t need gas.
When reindeer don’t want to cross a river, Evenk get in a boat and pull the animals into water. Then the deer take to swimming and tug the boat to the other shore.
Babies travel in special cots fixed on the animals:
If the weather’s not too cold (say above -20C) the Evenk don’t cover the cot, so that the baby can see where everybody’s going and remember the way.
Evenk children don’t go to school or daycare. They live with their parents in the taiga all year, and learn by doing what the adults do: “The Evenk teach their children in silence”, as their saying goes.
An Evenk must be able to kindle fire in any weather, and the father shows his daughter how to make wood shavings that burn readily.
The Evenk children learn to shoot as soon as they can reach the trigger.
Before this boy turns 10, he’ll be able to shoot a grouse for dinner or scare off a pack of wolves.
Every morning the men go off to the taiga to hunt or herd their reindeer. In the evening, the dogs’ barking announces their return to the camp.
As a sign of respece, wife and children get out of their dwelling to greet their breadwinner (or is it meatwinner?)
The author’s friend, Nikolai Grigoriev, is in his eighties but doesn’t seem to know the meaning of “sickness” or “bored”. He’s always hungry for news and fresh reading, willing to teach you everything he knows about the taiga, and treat you to his home-baked bread and the meat of the moose he’s just shot.
With or without his left hand, Nikolai can shoot, sail, cut firewood, manage his reindeer and survive in the taiga better than most other people.
The original article was published by Russian Hunting Magazine in December 2015. Text and photo (c) Yury Kokovin, loose condensed translation into English by me.