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Winter, springs : activity calendar
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The Evenk divide their year into five seasons: summer, fall, winter, first spring and second spring. During each of these periods, they nomadize to specific zones in response to the needs of their herds or the hunt, taking advantage of the different microclimates.

Winter, tuge. Winter is the main hunting season. For the first month, except for the wild reindeer they need to ward off starvation, the men focus their efforts on the sable, their only source of income for the year. Two or three get together to share the reindeer-herding tasks (locate the herd, drive it into the corral) while leaving everyone time to hunt. When the temperature drops to -50 or -60?C, they abandon the sable to hunt game, which they share among themselves and, if need be, with their neighbors or kin in another camp. The rule is never let those close to you go hungry. The hunting of wild reindeer stops at calving time. During the nine months when everything is covered in snow, the women stretch, dry and scrape the skins of the slain animals, the rest of the treatment being done later. They are often helped by the men and children.

First spring, nelkini. This is a second time of scarcity, even though the temperatures are on the rise (-30 to -25?C). The men abstain from hunting reindeer while the young are being born. The group relies on birds, on the few fish that can be reached under the ice, which only melts at the surface, and on the frozen cranberries in the snow, which are beginning to thaw.
Preparations are made for the period without snow, where everything is more complicated, for both humans and goods have to be transported on the backs of reindeer. The saddles, packs, straps and sacks are completed or repaired. Working the skins, especially moose, takes many long hours.
For calving, the females are taken far from the camp: they will not abandon their calves if they are not too impregnated by human smell. When the calves are two weeks old, they are taken into the corral to be gentled: there they are given salt and handled often.

Second spring, njengneni.. The melting snows leave the taiga dark with frost-blackened vegetation. The rivers are in flood and cut off the camps. People continue to eat fish and birds. This is the best season, neither too hot nor too dry to smoke and work the skins. Everyone is busy with preparations for summer, linking up with other groups to spend the summer together, radioing from camp to camp, ìhave you heard the cuckoo yet?î

Author(s): A. Lavrillier
Date created: 2003-06-04 - Date modified: 2004-04-14

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The winter reindeer pen (0MB)
Calving season (0MB)


Second spring

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