Peoples of the tundra: the Ciukcis

Between the Pacific Ocean and the Arctic Sea, there is a roughly triangular peninsula, separated from Alaska by the Straits of Bering: it is the land of the Ciukcis. They seem to have come from north-America across the thin strip of land which until 30 thousand years ago used to join Siberia to Alaska. Their economy is based on reindeer-rearing, hunting and fishing. Today, the Ciukcis are much fewer than in the past, and few of them continue to follow their traditional lifestyle. They used to be nomads for most of the year, following their reindeer herds towards new pastures. While the men travelled with their reindeers, the elderly used to build sleighs, while the women and the young used to tan hides, make garments and dry fish. Along the coast, the Ciukcik used to go hunting for whales, walruses and seals.

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