The reindeer is one of the most beautiful Arctic animals. The Northern indigenous minorities believe it to be a symbol of cleanness, revival, creation, and spirituality.
Reindeer herding is more than just interest rates and money for indigenous Northerners. Reindeer, local philosophy, and world outlook are tightly intertwined. The word “reindeer” means “life giving” in the Nenets language.
Almost all the Northerners see the reindeer as an essential part of their lives even to this day. The animal is not only the source of food and hide for them, but an irreplaceable means of transportation in often roadless North, too.
The reindeer is the source of meat, milk, hide, footwear and everything else needed for adaptation to extremely low temperatures for nomads. 100 grams of venison contain all the daily nutrients a person needs. It is also what makes one sure they do not get scurvy in such a climate. Venison, reindeer liver, and blood save people suffering from vitamin deficiency, endocrine disorders, and anemia.
The Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District has the largest reindeer population (about 700 000 animals).