Les Dolgans de la rivière Popigaï (Taïmyr de l'est, Russie) : des nomades et des rennes

Youri V. CHESNOKOV, Francine DAVID, Vladimir I. DIACHENKO & Claudine KARLIN

fr Anthropozoologica 23 - Pages 29-50

Published on 30 June 1996

The Dolgan of Popigaï River (Eastern Taïmyr, Russia): nomads and reindeers

This article describes the results of a joint French-Russian anthropological project concerning the economic organization of the Dolgan of the Taymyr in western Siberia. These people, currently in economic transition after the collapse of the almost industrial pastoralism of the Soviet era, maintain special relations with the reindeer. Their way of life is adapted to that of domestic animals; wild animals have a large impact on it. Hunters and breeders, the nomadic Dolgans move their homes according to the needs of domestic reindeer and the migration of the wild ones. As hunters, they have kept a few traditional methods appropriate to changes in weather and seasons. A number of variants of hunting practices are described, such as the traditional distribution and sharing of the prey. As breeders, they have developed a know-how which allows them to exploit barely domesticated animals. Of particular importance is the maintenance and preservation of the fragile vegetation, the source of nutrition for the domestic herds. The moment when the nomads move is the time of the closest and most highly organized relation between men and animals. The arguish, the nomadic movement to new postures, correlates the position of these postures throughout the year with the locations of the industrial meat production from reindeer. Markets have collapsed, primarily due to transportation costs and problems. The Dolgan have readapted to a more locally focused lifestyle, more closely resembling their older traditions of symbiosis with their natural environment, reinforcing their isolated and unique cultural identity.


Reindeer, hunting, breeding, nomadism.

Download full article in PDF format Order a reprint