Shamanic Dress, Reindeer Herding, and the Challenge of Climate Change in Northern Siberia

Vera Solovyeva is researching how the Éven indigenous people are adapting to climate change, and how it affects their shamanic beliefs particularly for breeding and managing reindeer. For example:

During the celebration of the new year at the summer solstice, a reindeer is sacrificed in honor of Hɵvki, the highest deity. The sun reindeer is then believed to be resurrected from the blood of the sacrificial animal and the countdown of a new year begins. After the shamanic ritual, a white-colored reindeer (hɵbɵk) is chosen to become a sacred animal devoted to the supreme god.

Solovyeva (2022)

Reindeer migrate based on environmental and climatic factors including availability of vegetation and avoiding insects such as mosquitos. In the summer they find places where winds can move insects away including mountain tops and beaches near lakes, seas or oceans whilst in winter they move into the forest and tundra.

Warmer temperatures from climate change have produced higher volumes of blood sucking insects, flooding or unstable ground due to permafrost thaw, an increase in bears and wolves searching for new food sources and higher volumes of wet snow.

Vera encourages museums and indigenous conservation organisations to not just preserve but revive shamanic traditions including making clothes and traditional, cultural items which bring greater appreciation of nature and the climate.

Solovyeva V (2022), “Shamanic Dress, Reindeer Herding, and the Challenge of Climate Change in Northern Siberia,” Conserving Active Matter (2022), Bard Graduate Center, https://exhibitions.bgc.bard.edu/cam, available at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Vera-Solovyeva-2/publication/360500891_Shamanic_Dress_Reindeer_Herding_and_the_Challenge_of_Climate_Change_in_Northern_Siberia/links/627a96a8107cae29199991ac/Shamanic-Dress-Reindeer-Herding-and-the-Challenge-of-Climate-Change-in-Northern-Siberia.pdf

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