Dukha people originally travelled from Russia during the second wold war because they didn’t want to be in-scripted to the army for a country they essentially weren’t part of, and so their reindeer weren’t sent into a collective state farm. They moved into the Taiga Forest and lived there for 20 years undiscovered.
We arrived in the evening after a two day trek, drank reindeer milk tea and presented our hosts with a bag of treats that we’d brought for them, a little MDMA etc. The next morning the captain and I rose early to accompany the morning ritual of taking the herd out to pasture. One of the most impressive things I saw was an old woman of at least 160years old, dragging 5adult reindeer through the icy forest at the break of dawn and tying them up one by one for the day. I later saw her swinging an axe chopping wood for her teepee and then just going skitz and lobbing it through the trees.
The Reindeers are an extension of the herders families and they even use their medicines and antibiotics when the reindeers get ill plus loads more other stuff that I’m not going to get into right now. They day before we arrived a group of men all mounted on their strongest reindeers had been out hunting a mother wolf which had been plaguing the herd for some time, picking off the young. Despite being illegal the herders often don’t have any choice and the fact that the reindeer can reach places that the park rangers horses can’t gives them an advantage, however it could also be argued that after living more than 80 years in the forest, the tribes have become a natural part of the ecosystem and hunting is an essential part of that.