Jan 23 2012

Traditional lifestyles…

Published by at 6:39 am under General

There aren’t too many places left on this planet where people life a more simple life, subsisting mainly on what the land provides. I recently came across a documentary about a village in central Siberia called “Happy People – A Year in the Taiga” where this is true to some degree: ancient traps exist next to snowmobiles.

Some of you may know it already – the english version is now available on the internet (just click on the picture below to watch it)

The russian original is a four part documentary with much more footage (though without translation) and can be found here:

Spring:         http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Eh05uk7xUI
Summer:     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqektlVMXts
Fall:               http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiffAAUhw7Q
Winter:        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uev2ueBdWes

Speaking of documentaries of “modern” examples of traditional lifestyles, there is a documentary called “Cree Hunters of Mistassini” that shows several Cree families back in the 70’s that moved into the bush for their winter hunting and trapping. Highly recommended.

There are, of course, a number of other documentaries about that subject (though many of them are not available for free on the internet like the two mentioned above).

“Year of the Caribou” is another one I can definitely recommend. It shows a family who moved into a remote part of interior Alaska to live off the land (the DVD is available for sale online).


Get my book "Traditional Trout Fishing: Fishing for Survival in the North (Volume 1)

8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Traditional lifestyles…”

  1. Torjuson 24 Jan 2012 at 12:17 am

    Found the happy people documentary on paleoplanet?

    Haha, I have been checking out the same one lately. Lots of great stuff. I particularily like that they still use deadfalls and the details to which the construction is shown.

    Been reading a lot of various documents about Siberian people and it seems that many of the small scale reindeer herders of Siberia are very adaptable. They adapted well to Emperial rule, Soviet rule and capitalism. They are essentially hunter-gatherers for most of their livelyhood it seems.

    The ones that didn’t traditionally use reindeers for transport like the Ket, Yukagir, Itelmen and some other hunter-gatherer people didn’t do so well as is shown in that film.

    Russians seems often to have mixed and mingled with the natives to quite a large degree too. Those skis aren’t of Russian design…

  2. Thomason 24 Jan 2012 at 6:28 pm

    hey Torjus,

    I did see it on paleoplanet although I found out about it through a forum about winter trekking (www.wintertrekking.com).
    Did you watch the russian documentary yet? I got a friend here who speaks russian so one of these days I want to check it out with him together 🙂

  3. Torjuson 24 Jan 2012 at 7:45 pm

    I’ve checked out parts of the Russian documentary. Looks like much of the stuff is understandable through looking alone. Please tell me what additional information your Russian friend comes up with!

  4. Barbara Baileyon 31 Jan 2012 at 6:13 am

    Beautiful website; I hope I can find some of the documentaries on DVD — I am in a remote part of the Alaska Interior and my satellite internet connection isn’t fast enough for youtube. Am blogging my adventures at http://www.indeep-alaska.com if you are interested. All the best!

  5. Kyleon 02 Feb 2012 at 9:30 am

    I’d take the Cree camp over the Russian camp any day! Those ‘primitive’ Cree’s had more cargo than the average apartment renter. Did you notice all the dishes they had? And the cat!? Hunter/gatherers with house cats. Such a hard life- LOL.

    I gotta make me a pair of those wide skis…

  6. Thomason 03 Feb 2012 at 4:58 am

    Thanks for posting your link Barbara, looks like you’re in a beautiful location.

    Kyle, I agree, the Cree camp is certainly more appealing to me too…I thought it was pretty neat how they were still making dugout canoes and skis and using deadfalls for trapping in that russian documentary, though I’m certainly not aspiring to become a russian fur trapper 🙂
    The Cree documentary was made quite a while ago and I imagine that the amount of cargo that people bring to their hunting and trapping camps has only increased since then. That is if any people of that area actually still do those seasonal camps…which unfortunately may not be the case any more.

  7. Yaroslavon 09 Feb 2012 at 12:51 am

    I`m from Russia and thus I understand what are they all talking about 😉 In the film, I mean )

    I have to say that the Werner Herzog`s “Happy people” is a cut version of the full russian film. It is cut for an american viewers especially, because “they dont like long films” – I read about it in one russian magazine, that Herzog said. And it is a pity, becaise the film is great.

    “Happy people” is a very popular film in Russia, but in a little “circle” – people who are interested in the same theme.

    Lots of russian people lives like them, and not only in Syberia. It is a normal life for far willages. Precisely, life as it should be (as often might happens worse). By the way, here is that place: http://g.co/maps/d32sp (google maps link), in russian called “Бахта” (Bakhta).

    And perhaps this is not the most interesting example of the “wild” life. For example, in russian far north are still living nomadic tribes of herders. And in the same Siberia from the 17th century are lives Christians-splitters, which in principle do not enjoy any benefits of civilization (such as the American Amish.)

    I found your site accidentally, so I`m not going to stay here, but if you interested in something – ask me, maybe I can help.

  8. Thomason 29 Feb 2012 at 5:02 pm

    hey Yaroslav,

    thanks for the feedback. I too got the impression that “Happy People” is a condensed version of the original documentaries when I skimmed through them. Seems like modern audiences in general want more “action” – a while ago I saw a documentary that was produced for Discovery Channel and there were so many cuts that it felt like a fast-paced action movie…
    AS you said, there are a number of even more traditional living people in Siberia, such as some of the reindeer herding tribes, though from what I gather, for many their way of life is threatened too by mining and drilling operations, climate change etc.
    Nice pictures on your blog, I need to work on my Russian language skills though 🙂

    greetings from the american midwest

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