The Nenets, nomadic reindeer herders who live in the tundra of northern Siberia, call their home Yamal, which means “edge of the world” — and it is. “No tougher way of life has ever existed or will ever exist," the Nenets say with pride.

The reindeer permeate Nenets culture, both physically and spiritually. Nenets use reindeer fur for their clothing and tents, eat reindeer meat as their staple food, and also sacrifice reindeer to the gods of their ancient animistic religion. When the Nenets migrate thousands of kilometers each year in search of reindeer grazing grounds, they travel on hand-made wooden sledges that are pulled by the very same animals.

The Nenets (which means “people”) have preserved a colorful culture. Their calendar follows lunar months, the names of which often relate to reindeer herding. Similarly, some of the Nenets families are named according to their relationships to the reindeer: Ngokateta means “owner of many reindeer”, Serotteto means “owner of white reindeer”, and Tesda means “the reindeerless”. Each family also has its own patron spirit, guiding them on their travels through the tundra.