People of the Tundra

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Submitted By afreschi
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“Peoples of the Tundra”
By Dr. John Ziker
Dr. John Ziker in Chapter One of “Peoples of the Tundra” (2002) recounts how the indigenous people of Northern Siberia in the Taimyr Peninsula have managed, and dealt with the problems of the economy from the breakup of the Soviet Union since the early nineties. In this chapter Dr. Ziker explains the region and the main cities such as the capital Dudinka, the town east of Dudinka, Norisilk, and the town where he did his research, Ust Avam. He introduces the two tribes he did his fieldwork on, the Dolagans and Nganasans, whom were introduced to him by his friend Boris Molochanov.
The first main point of the chapter were how the Dolagans and Nganasans were paid decent salaries in the exchange of goods from their foraging expeditions before the fall of the USSR, how they could easily transfer meat and fish to the market since government was paying for the costs. When the fall of communism happened, the money from the government put into the hunting and gathering disappeared. Traveling became too expensive since there was no money from the state, and so it became hard to keep the stores stocked with fish and meat. The Dolagans and Nganasans are people of the land, so they transitioned back to their traditional ways of distribution, sharing what they had killed, caught, or gathered with other tribesmen, which is also known as a “Subsistence Economy.”
The other main point was Dr. Ziker wanted to test out three models that came from the economic reconstruction after the end of communism; first was whether or not family/clan holdings set by Boris Yeltsin in 1992 were an “example of neotraditonalism,” which is mixing traditional ways with technology. The second model was the “Snowmobile Revolution,” This model shows how the outcome of mechanized transport that replaces animal or human powered transportation creates dependency on…...

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