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Yamal, the edge of the earth

The remote Yamal Peninsula stretches from the Northern Siberia to Kara’s sea, beyond the Arctic Circle. Actually, its name means “the edge of the earth” in the local language.
In this region live the Nenets, one of the greatest nomadic people among the 26 ethnic groups from this Russian province. This people lifestyle is punctuated by seasons and their migratory flows following ancient roads.
However, since a few years, the global warming leads to the permafrost melt. This had some quite awful consequences on the Nenets people....

The melt enables oil deposit and natural gas exploitation but the erected infrastructures impacts their migration. Without any migration, the Nenets are bound to disappear: during winter, temperatures can drop to -122°F in the north, then, the exploitable grazing areas are only in the south. Pollution from factories made for the resources extraction threatens gazing areas. Temperatures that exceeded 86°F, have defrosted some bacteria infected by Anthrax in a reindeer carcass. Anthrax has been spreading on people and on herds. Nenets people are in danger with Anthrax. They’re fading away and they are being deprived of the reindeers, their main material. They use it the built their home, to feed themselves, or to move. Reindeers are so necessary that every Nenets has its own sacred reindeer. It can’t be harnessed nor killed till it stands. It is the biggest herd of the world, around 700 000 animals.

Under the Soviet regime, it was compulsory for young Nenets to go to school, to learn Russian and to mingle into the society. Nowadays they’re still sent to get an education, but following a more convenient rhythm for Nenets. School years over, teenagers could pursue the very same path than the other same-aged kids. However, the Tundra is stronger, they keep going back to the Nomadic life.

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