The Chukchi II Cover Image

Tšuktšid II
The Chukchi II

Author(s): Ülo Siimets
Subject(s): Customs / Folklore
Published by: Eesti Kirjandusmuuseum

Summary/Abstract: In 1971 while author was a reindeer herder and following a herd of reindeer through Tshukotka, he was forced to live and eat in the manner of locals. The chapter entitled «What's there to eat» describes the eating habits of the Chukchi herders and the peculiarities of their dishes. The main food was underdone or raw meat with no salt, and strong tea without sugar. At times we also ate mutton and bear meat and different fish. Fish was either raw, half-cooked or half-roasted. Underdone meat was eaten to prevent scurvy, while raw eyes and brain were considered a delicacy offered first to the guests and children. Parallels are drawn also between the will-will of the Chukchi and the Swedish sour herring surströmming. The chapter «Arrival» recalls our arrival at Vaeg and first impressions of local situation. It describes the clothes and customs of native people and revive the Georg Forster's meeting of the Chukchi that took place on August 10, 1778. Local girls tell us stories about the shaman and his strong power, which might even cause disasters. The chapter entitled «More on shamans and the establishing of Soviet rule» describes the events related to October Revolution and the arrival of its instigators at Tshukotka. The chapter mentions several figures connected to the struggle for power. It also provides a brief overview of the subjugation of the in-land Chukchi in 1949 and describes the horrors of the war. The chapter touches the activities of a combat tank team in a small German town during the seize of Germany. It is followed by our first meeting with the local shaman. A Chukchi shipmaster called Innokenti retells his grandfather's story of how in his youth a shaman saved the inhabitant of two villages from hunger by offering them mammoth meat, and gives advice what to do when one comes across mammoth fangs.

  • Issue Year: 1999
  • Issue No: 12
  • Page Range: 130-154
  • Page Count: 25
  • Language: Estonian