Traditional rituals are an important part of the cultural heritage of the North. The aim of the article is to show the connection between modern ritual practices of the indigenous people of the North and their traditional nature management based on harmony with wildlife. The article is based on informal interviews and personal observations of the author in one of the Chukchi villages. In the past, nomadic reindeer herding and sled dog breeding were developed there, but both forms of traditional activity were lost by the beginning of the 21st century. Despite the loss of reindeer, the former Chukchi reindeer herders have not ceased their traditional rituals, replacing living sacrificial reindeer with their symbolic images. In addition to the rituals associated with reindeer herding, other old rituals persist in the village, in particular, until recently the sacrifice of a dog was practised. The article provides a description of the rituals of the main reindeer herding festivals and dog-related rituals as they have been performed in recent years, and shows that such rituals continue to play an important role in the ecological mentality of indigenous people, symbolically reflecting their relationship between people and the tundra nature. Studying and documenting them is necessary to understand the relationship between the mental structures of a local community and its landscape.
Key words: sacrifice, rituals, festivals, ecological mentality, indigenous peoples of the North, Chukchi, reindeer herding
About the author
Konstantin B. Klokov – Doctor of Geography, leading researcher at Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) RAS;