We’ve come to Naryan-Mar to ask Nikolay, a local shaman, some questions about his life.
Nikolay was born in 1969 and grew up in the orphanage. He studied in several technical secondary schools but he never received his diploma. After long years of looking for his place in this life, he settled down outside Maryan-Mar to open guest tents which are highly popular among both local people and people from other regions of the country. He’s not married.
On the way to the shaman’s tent.
The shaman owns five tents and two dogs. The man treats his guests with venison, cloudberries and fish. People will also have a chance to take a deer ride and make a wish which fulfillment is Nikolay’s responsibility.
A lot of people here in the North live in cone-shaped tents like his. This tent shape is the most convenient for the North because it doesn’t let snow pile up on the roof and makes it steady. The side of the tent depends on the money the family has. It is also a bad sign to touch the poles supporting the tent.
Nikolay was also granted an apartment.
In the middle of the tent there is a stove to heat the tent and cook on. Near the “chimney”, he dries deer skins for tambourines.
Tambourine carcasses. It is very difficult to make a tambourine and one should have much knowledge and skills to make it.
To make a tambourine, he pulls a wet deer skin on the carcass, dries and paints it.
When you enter one of his tents, you should follow the traditions (one of them is eating venison with your hands).
They watch their stoves attentively because if it goes out, it gets as cold inside the tent as outside in just 20 minutes.