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Reindeer of Eurasia
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Overview | Reindeer in Human Culture | Reindeer Peoples | Maps | Chukchi

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The Reindeer


As the last Ice Age about 10,000 years ago and the large grazers such as the mammoths disappeared, wild reindeer become a key food for the peoples across northern Eurasia. For thousands of years, they hunted the reindeer (called caribou in North America). More recently, starting in southern Siberia, some of them adopted domestic reindeer herding and breeding. Across the Arctic from Scandinavia to Chukotka, native peoples such as Sami, Nenets, Evenk, Koryak and Chukchi were reindeer people.

Here are resources on reindeer and the native peoples whose lives depend on them.

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The World of
the Caribou


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(Nature Watch)


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Year in Lapland:
Guest of the
Reindeer Herders


Reindeer: Overview   [ Top ]

Reindeer / Caribou: a description of Rangifer tandarus, its niche in the environment, and domestication starting thousands of years ago

Rangifer tarandus:  single species known as caribou in North America, reindeer in Eurasia, with details on its life and habitat, and a photogallery including a picture of their remarkable large feet

Caribou / Reindeer - 7 Subspecies: barrenground (Rangifer tarandus granti), Svalbard (R.t platyrhynchus), European (R.t. tarandus), Finnish forest reindeer (R.t. fennicus), Greenland (R.t. groenlandicus), woodland (R.t. caribou) and Peary (R.t. pearyi)

Reindeer Facts & FAQs: a quick look at reindeer, and Reindeer Profile including their annual migrations north in the spring, south in the fall

Reindeer - the northernmost deer species: the nomadic life of the reindeer of Eurasia, an animal called caribou in North America

Facts about reindeer in Eurasia, with photo of a single reindeer pulling a native sled, and The Reindeer, an introduction to this Arctic and subarctic species in Eurasia and North America, from 1911

Reindeer & Caribou: source of the names, their range and habits

3 mtDNA Haplogroups in Reindeer: these key genetic patterns do not correlate with subspecies, suggesting these differences in size and other charactertistics arose after the end of the Ice Age, and small-bodied  high Arctic reindeer appear to have evolved from larger-bodied reindeer

Wild Reindeer Hunting: after the end of the Ice Age in the Sami region of Scandinavia, and ancient rock art of reindeer hunting from Norway

Reindeer & Caribou: Rangifer tandarus, a vital source of  transportation and food for native peoples of Eurasia, and Reindeer Herding History

Reindeer of Scandinavia and Northern Russia:  an introduction, including reindeer in the Sami culture

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Running with

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Caribou: Wanderer
of the Tundra

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The Woodland Caribou
(Endangered Animals)


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Caribou and
the Barren-Lands

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Caribou and Reindeer
Hunters of the
Northern Hemisphere


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Arctic Adaptations:
Native Whalers &
Reindeer Herders
of Northern Eurasia

including Chukchi


Reindeer & Caribou in Human Cultures
  [ Top ]

Reindeer Depicted in Paleolithic Cave Art along with bison, horses, more animals, and a reindeer portrayed drinking and reindeer antler was used frequently for art and artifacts, as in this baton or in this horse carved on a spearthrower of reindeer antler

Ice Age ended & reindeer range changed: when the summers warmed after the last Ice Age, reindeer vanished from southern Europe

Reindeer in Eurasia where domestication likely began in the Altai Mountain region some 5,000 years ago, and early tamed reindeer used as a decoys and for transportation, including riding and pulling sleds

Reindeer Economy and Native Peoples of the Russian North: in Russian
with two segments in English, including a map showing the status of reindeer herding in key areas of Eurasia

Profiles of reindeer and caribou herds in Eurasia and North America,
with 3 colored maps of regions and subspecies

Resources on reindeer and caribou from databases and articles to a number of photogalleries including Barentsphotoo [select Indigenous people and reindeer husbandry category] or use search for reindeer for photos:
· a young girl of the reindeer people with her dog
· a Nenets woman with reindeer and a puppy dog
· northward migration of reindeer in the spring
· a racing reindeer team and the equivalent of skijoring with reindeer

Cultural perspectives on reindeer and people: a guide covering Eurasia, North America, and reindeer in northern cultures: a sampling of photos

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The Reindeer

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The Woman Who
Loved Reindeer

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Reindeer Herders of
the Mackenzie Delta


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Tent Life
in Siberia

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Mongolia:  Nation
in Transition

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Mongolia: Empire
of the Steppes
Illustrated Guides)


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The Reindeer



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The Shaman's Coat:
A Native History
of Siberia


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East of the Sun:
The Epic Conquest
and Tragic History
of Siberia


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The Forgotten
Peoples of Siberia


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Raven and the
Rock: Storytelling
in Chukotka


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Gaining Ground?
Evenkis, Land
and Reform in
Southeast Siberia


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Siberian Survival:
The Nenets and
Their Story


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The Vanishing Tungus: The Story
of a Remarkable
Reindeer People


Reindeer People of Eurasia   [ Top ]

Reindeer People of Mountain Taiga of Central Asia: the Tsaatan of northern Mongolia and Siberian peoples in the Todja region of Tuva, in the Tofilar region in Irkutsk, and Evenki in southern Yakutia have the larger taiga reindeer, compared to smaller tundra reindeer.  Maps.

Mongolia   [ Top ]

Tsaan of Mongolia where dated rock art shows they have had deer for 4,000 years

Who are the Tsaatan? and how are they related to the reindeer people of Tuva in Siberia?

Reindeer decline in recent years threatens Tsaastan people of Mongolia who have had reindeer for at least 3,000 years and are the southernmost reindeer culture in the world and photogalleries of reindeer

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Disappearing World:
Herders of Mongun-
Taiga - The Tuvans
of Mongolia

VHS Video

Dukha reindeer people of Mongolia, also called Tsaatan, their homes, animals and country, and protocol for visiting reindeer people of northern Mongolia, known as the Dukha or Tsaatan

Reindeer People of Northern Mongolia, called the Dukha or Tsaschin or Tsaatan, and their way of life is threatened as their herds decline and young people leave for the cities, with audio

Reindeer People: Ancient Roots of Mongolian Traditions: at look at the Tsaatan people, their environment in Khuvsgul or Hovsgol region, and their name derived from tsaa, Mongolian for reindeer

Map of Tsaatan Reindeer People: on Mongolia-Siberia border to the northwest of Lake Khovsgol or Hovsgol, and a map of Mongolia showing Hovsgol region as a bulge on the northern border, west of Lake Baikal

Tuva people of Mongolia face similar challenge to reindeer-oriented lifeway, and a large photo of a reindeer in wilds of Mongolia

Siberia   [ Top ]

People of Siberia: info on 14 native peoples of northern Siberia, many reindeer people, from the Chukchi and Koryak to Samoyed peoples, with map, photos, and more on
the role of wild and domestic reindeer in their lives
· their domestic life including tents, reindeer sleds
· objects for hunting & domestic & religious life

Indigenous People of Siberia: illustrations of native dress, lifeways for the Evens, Evenki and Dolgans of Eastern Siberia, Khanty, Mansi and Selkups of Western Siberia, as well as Nenets and Nganasans, many being reindeer herders and breeders

Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire: info on 85 peoples of Russia and Siberia, Chukchi, Koryak, Itelmen, Eskimo, Yukagir, Evenks

Eastern Siberia   [ Top ]

Reindeer for riding developed around Lake Baikal in southeastern Siberia, and the large reindeer of the Evenks is believed to be descended from that original stock. Today considered a breed of reindeer.

Evenk or Evenki: a people perhaps established through intermixing of Tungus and Yukagir people before the Russians arrived

Even reindeer, raised in the mountain taiga of eastern Siberia, are a breed considered intermediate between Evenk and Chukotka reindeer

Even & Itelmen of Western Kamchatka: a researcher studies their culture after the Soviet Union ended; photos of Even reindeer people

Chukotka reindeer reindeer are raised in Chukotka, northern Kamchatka and northeastern Yakutia. They are considered the most recent of the reindeer groups, developing no earlier than 1,000 A.D. They are used for meat, not riding. Today considered a breed of reindeer.

star-red.gif (881 bytes) Chukchi & Neighbors:  people & environment, and the life of the reindeer Chukchi, with many pictures of reindeer and their owners, sledges, yarangas, migration, more

Chukchi Photographs including sled dog teams, a pair of dogs helping a hunter haul home a seal, hunters and sled dogs, reindeer

Chukotka: an ethnographic site with map, facts, photos including the Anadyr River, communities, reindeer camps, people, native dog

Crossroads of Continents Exhibit: Siberia & Alaska: meet the Chukchi, Koryak, Even, Amur River people in Siberia, more

Koryaks: history, culture of Koryaks, Chukchi's neighbors to the south, with photos of Koryak sled dogs, and Kamchatka's Koryak and Itelmen and Evenk influence on Koryak reindeer herders

Orochon or Orochi - Reindeer People of the Amur: a Tungus people, hunters and breeders of reindeer, who also hunted bear - many photos including Orochi, Koryak, Yukagir, with native dogs pictured

Western Siberia   [ Top ]

Nentsi or Nenets reindeer are found in northwest Siberia in the region of the lower Ob and lower Yenisei rivers east of the Ural Mountains.
Today considered a breed of reindeer.

Nenets - Reindeer Herders of Siberia: people of northwest Siberia near the Yamal Peninula

Northwest Siberia's Indigenous People: Khanty, Mansi, Samoyed and other reindeer people

Krasnoyarsk Peoples: peoples from the Siberian steppe north to the Taimyr Peninsula - Kets, Nagansans, Selkups, Samoyeds, more

Uralic-speaking Peoples: Nenets, Nagansans, Selkup, Kanty, Mansi, with a map, and another map of Uralic-speaking people in Western Eurasia, some of whom are reindeer people, and more on their cultures and languages

Scandinavia   [ Top ]

Sami People: reindeer herders of Scandinavia, and the Sami: People of Sun & Wind in the archives and Sami history as ancient reindeer hunters, and reindeer herding origins among Saami, Scandinavians 2,000 years ago

Sami People: herders of semi-domestic reindeer for 1,000-1,500 years, and adoption of large-scale reindeer herding in 16th, 17th centuries

Sami People of Lapland and the role of reindeer, and more on the Sami  with a map of Sameland in the northern reaches of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia

Clink link to order Antler on the Sea
Antler on the Sea:
The Yup'ik and Chukchi of the
Russian Far East

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Velvet Antlers, Velvet Noses:
Story of the Only Free-Ranging
Reindeer Herd in Britain


Clink link to order A History of the Peoples of Siberia
A History of the Peoples
of Siberia: Russia's
North Asian Colony

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Crossroads Alaska:
Native Cultures of
Alaska and Siberia

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Baikal: Sacred
Sea of Siberia


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Shamanic Worlds:
Rituals and Lore
of Siberia and
Central Asia


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The Chukchi
& their Neighbors


Eurasia: Geography & Maps   [ Top ]

star-red.gif (881 bytes) Maps of Asia and Siberia: in-depth collection of online maps that provide the homelands of the reindeer peoples, others

Maps of the Reindeer People of Mountain Taiga of Central Asia: the Tsaatan, Tuva, Tofilar and Evenki with larger taiga reindeer

Taiga and Tundra: home to the nomadic reindeer hunters and herders of Siberia, and Chukchi Peninsula Tundra: ecosystem, photos

Geography of Siberia: the three vegetation regions of steppe, taiga and tundra, and the four main geological areas, plus the mountains, mineral resources, rivers and lakes, agriculture, populations, more

Map of Indigenous Peoples of Russia: including those of the Russian North, Siberia and the Russian Far East

Map of Aboriginal Peoples of Siberia: including Paleo-Siberian, Altaic,  and Uralic, with Ob, Yenisei and Lena, and more on

Map of Indigenous Ethic Groups: home areas for the Siberian Tundra Nentsi, Forest Nentsi, Selkups, Siberian Komi, Altais, Kets, Yakuts, Buryats, Evenks and Evens, Yukagirs, Chukchi and Asiatic Eskimos

Large Map of Indigenous Peoples by Language Group: Russian North, Siberia and Far East

Map of Siberia: topographical map of mountains, rivers, and a topo map with mountain ranges and native peoples shown by using mouse

star-red.gif (881 bytes) Map of Chukotka: see the Chukchi Peninsula in detail, towns, rivers, capes and islands, the Bering Strait, the Chukchi Sea, and another map of Chukotka & Alaska as Beringia with links to research projects

Map of Sameland in the north of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia

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Shyaan Am!:
Tuvan Folk Tales

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Spirit of Siberia:
Traditional Native Life,
Clothing and Footwear


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Between Heaven & Hell:
The Myth of Siberia
in Russian Culture


Clink link to order Drawing Shadows to Stone
Drawing Shadows to Stone:
Photography of the Jesup
North Pacific Expedition

Clink link to order Siberian Light

Clink link to order Ancient People of the Arctic
Ancient People
of the Arctic

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In Siberia

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Siberia Bound: Chasing
the American Dream
on Russia's Wild Frontier

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The Forgotten
Peoples of Siberia

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Chukchi Origins:
from Genetics

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