Fieldwork story Stammler 2: Yamal, hunting for petrol and a wild reindeer

A story about my failed attempt of shooting a wild reindeer, and of a successful hunt for petrol

Khorot-Kolja_closeup
Yarkolana (Nikolay) Khorotetto, spring 2001

This story is dedicated to my friend Yarkolana (Nikolay) Khorotetto, who was tragically found dead (link in Russian) in the tundra, probably killed just after my birthday in 2019. This story takes us 20 years back, to my journey in spring 2001 with young Yarkolana and Dennis to Ostrov Belyi, White Island in the Arctic Ocean. We were all unexperienced and adventurous, did not know how to honour the spirits on Yamal KheKhe, the most sacred site in the entire region. Almost we were punished for this, but only almost. It’s a story of a steep learning curve, of immediate Soviet heritage, and of the hunger for intellectual food in the tundra.

Flo_Denis_OBelyi_inside0105
Dennis and Florian in a hunter’s container on white Island on the southern shore
Yap-Stepan bookOB
It turned out we were not the only ones in the abandoned village. For Stepan Yaptik the library was a top destination too: the books that we took along travelled later throughout the different camps of the tundra

 

 

 

Fieldwork story Stammler 1: Yamal, participation over observation is a health risk


participation over observation is a health risk

This was my first cold night ever in a chum in the Yamal tundra. It’s a story of ‘lesson learned’ early on in my fieldwork practice, that you need not only to be keen to participate in people’s life, but also be a good observer for the details. The price I had to pay for this in the end was a fever:(

Here are some photos from that day

after a sleepless night, with high temperature, I still couldn’t hold back and had to participate in the slaughter
He was the guy with whom I swapped the sleeping bag for a yagushka at night. In the rain he was wearing a parka made of Darnit, the material which you use for road construction between the pebbles and the sand.

 

 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is portsy_yakha_iri_boat.jpg
From the trading post Portsy Yakha to the camp site we needed to cross the river
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 0024-1.jpg
after a sleepless night, with high temperature, I still couldn’t hold back and had to participate in the slaughter
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 0016.jpg
He was the guy with whom I swapped the sleeping bag for a yagushka at night. In the rain he was wearing a parka made of Darnit, the material which you use for road construction between the pebbles and the sand.