This paper summarizes work with two Evenki reindeer herding collectives in the Severo-Baikal’skoe nagor’e in July, 2010. Ethnographic work with reindeer herder groups Oron and Uluki, both established in the early 1990s in the Kholodnoe community, highlighted two variations on the traditional Evenki approach to reindeer herding evincing numerous commonalities. Both groups relied on natural and human-made features of the landscape to habituate reindeer to areas where reindeer herding had been abandoned for close to 20 years. Reindeer herders and reindeer mutually determine seasonal and daily mobility patterns, and reindeer herding activities are leveraged to conduct big-game hunting and furbearer trapping activities in fall and winter. Hunting and trapping provides reindeer herding personnel with important sources of cash. The Uluki obshchina had grown their reindeer herd to a point by 2010 where they were able to slaughter some reindeer for meat sales, while the Oron obshchina kept a small reindeer herd. This paper presents some of the traces uncovered on the landscape relating to reindeer herding and discusses the rationale behind the revival of reindeer herding in modern times and the sustainability of this traditional Evenki activity. Confirmation of identity and land claims in addition to the material benefits of reindeer herding and hunting may be among the reasons for the reestablishment of reindeer herding in the 1990s.
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Ziker, John P. (2021). "The Revival of Reindeer Herding in the North Baikal Highlands, Republic of Buryatia". Reports of the Laboratory of Ancient Technologies, 17(3), 79-95. doi: 10.21285/2415-8739-2021-3-79-95