Kate Humble Living with Nomads Siberia Full Documentary TRACKS

I've always been fascinated by nomads constantly on the moon I suppose beautiful journey surviving in the world's most remote wildernesses where's a removal family and living cheek-by-jowl with nature it's always seemed a wildly romantic existence the most magical place but it's no easy life makes you feel physically sick and in today's modern world they're under increasing pressure I'm going to live with three groups of nomads in Nepal namaste Mongolia and now within a net in Siberia these reindeer herders have always lived life on the margins but today giant global threats are encroaching on their traditional migrations can they hold on to their ancient way of life [Music] the Yamal Peninsula in northern Russia a fast and frozen wasteland jutting deep into the Arctic Circle home to the nomadic reindeer people than the nets in their language Yamal means end of the world and if anywhere feels like that it's this place - 26 is the air temperature but with the windchill it's minus thirty five point three [Music] I have never been in the Arctic wilderness in the teeth of the winter I feel inadequately prepared for life in a landscape like this and in temperatures like these truly impossible to imagine how any human being could or would choose to live in a region like this the nur Nets have survived in these extremes for generations but now they're facing serious threats that could undermine their traditional way of life like so many places in the world this is an environment is changing rapidly particularly with regards to climate in 2013 a dramatic temperature rise in midwinter led to the death of thousands of reindeer isn't the only threat to these people the discovery of huge reserves of gas in the northern peninsula have brought in machinery roads have brought in railways this massive infrastructure supporting the gas industry is squeezing and blocking than Annette's migratory routes I'm hoping to find out how they're coping as these pressures stack up against them it's early December and our journey begins at the edge of the Arctic Circle in the town of sanic art from here six wheel drive trucks called rekkles are taking us 200 kilometers further north we've arranged a rendezvous with an Annette's family who were migrating south across the tundra the barren permafrost of the Yamal Peninsula we've been making our way painfully slowly along this very difficult road and suddenly the truck in front of us which is carrying all the fuel and a lot of our equipment lost an entire tire so poor Sergei an eagle are now having to try and work out how they can get this back on the trailer and we're just House of them as night falls the temperature drops to minus 40 attempting a repair in these conditions is perilously difficult the trailer didn't get fixed last night and we ended up here which is one of these strange trading posts next to the railway it was midnight and everybody decided that if there was anywhere to stay we would give up for the night we did actually find a part which is miraculous and Sergey and Igor are welding it onto the trailer but we spent the night here in a shipping container everybody crowded in together frankly if we managed to get to the Nanette's camp today I think it'll be a miracle this remote trading post serves as a Depot for Gazprom the Russian energy giant exploiting the gas fields here and as one of the many reindeer slaughterhouses that are dotted across the peninsula in recent years many new Nets have been forced to leave their nomadic lives some of them have ended up working here I heard there was very deep bad weather for reindeer last year and that a lot of herders like yourself lost a lot of animals want you to win will it come nice muscle I haven't done it yet usage do you understand me come on together tomorrow will come ha my topic how much magma which I'm willing to give me I mean get my man yelling we miss you nothing when pairing with over me I am facing a major part that very would never come Tom yellow a motorized condom Maharaj Matarazzo today mr. muhammad khan not mesmera neuropathy how about them me Cano Cano Karim Canaan Obama they will talk yeah we need a pimpin re more param Tina Tina Tina how are you darling it's a truly heartbreaking story one that's been repeated across the tundra in 2013 over 15,000 reindeer died and over 60 families were ruined if there's something one thing that you would hold responsible for that you would blame for that when your mind is really Swiss upon adoption the most famous if anything new version tetanus need to come when you go to reserve with the trailer repaired there's over a hundred kilometers to go and the temperature is a staggeringly low - 54 [Music] [Music] basically we tried to leave the Trading Post and almost instantly taco got a puncture and as they were fixing that the diesel starts to freeze in both vehicles so nothing is working I think the real concern is that if we try and head off even further into the world we might be stranded in the middle of nowhere [Music] to make matters worse the delays mean we've missed our rendezvous with Ann Annette's family we had planned to stay with [Music] we've no choice but to head back to our starting point the town of Silla card being up there at that trading post gave me a real sense of you know of another way of life I just felt deeply saddened by the way that those people's lives had turned out those men were killing reindeer day-in day-out that was their job and those were people whose whole lives had been about living with living alongside and looking after reindeer that would destroy the most robust of human souls having missed the meeting with our original family we need to find another group who will take us in [Music] quest for a new reindeer herding family has begun in a different trouble this one running on petrol so hopefully it won't freeze up despite the fact that it is absolutely bitter again and outside minus 35 we head for another slaughterhouse where we've been told Nanette's families are delivering their reindeer [Music] is this the slaughterhouses over there at this time of year the new nets come in from their camps in the surrounding tundra to sell some of their animals the cash they earn will buy what they need to survive the year ahead it's an extraordinary but sad sight as the reindeer are rounded up into pens ready for slaughter every part of the animal is used the meat is sold into a profitable global market while the fur is made into clothing indescribable eco that's the sort of cold that makes you feel physically sick if you exert yourself in any way but it feels like so I've jumped into this otherworldly scene kind of life and death it it's hard to describe when your brain is frozen can feel my eyelashes freezing to my cheeks [Music] the Yamal Peninsula is home to the world's largest reindeer population with 600,000 animals looked after by 15,000 nomads rather sad that my first view of the reindeer here is the ones that are about to be slaughtered but I suppose what they also represent is the survival for another year of the people who own them with the reindeer rounded up their owners take a break inside a communal building there are several families here but one seems particularly friendly with your family handy blendable question now and will you be migrating again when you'll finish your Natasha missile Kondapalli no change water hmm would you allow me to come and learn from you about the Nets way of life we set off for the family's camp Natasha and her daughter guiding the way while Kostya travels back on his sledge it's an hour's drive through the snow and across a frozen river that's okay you know you're doing good driving Daniel don't worry [Music] [Music] you good I'm glad up a tree yeah busy doing my name is trying to get mobile phone signal it's not nobody's and for you [Music] we met will you man Natasha and Kostya and there in the end of their 500 kilometer seasonal migration at the moment they're moving every few days they're traveling with two other families next door is yang Gor Kostas brother and in the third tenth or Chun is their friend Vitaly so she has done bulla okay okay these traditional chums are all that protect these families from the harsh Siberian winter a simple wooden frame is covered with reindeer skins and that's it without a fire it's as cold inside as out and right now that's -38 please speak about this landscape and it seems amazing but little pyramids of snow are enough to keep whole families alive in conditions as harsh as this I think the thing that always strikes me is just how how pared down their lives are you know this is it Kostya has to move the herd to new pasture so while his neighbor's round up the reindeer to pull sleds he prepares the harnesses and upon her head a convertible here to remind you on harness value is it the same rule for children new you new to the music notes period just boil it that's kinda how it's gonna I'm gonna hippo in Nanette's culture once a female reaches puberty it's considered bad luck if she steps over ropes poles and even men's boots it's believed to bring misfortune to the family and their herd so Kostya when I see this should I lift it up and put it over like this and that's just for women for men it's okay you can step - Kimberly - education go grandpa - here - hundun Tanaka Tanaka young go okay these ancient beliefs are part of the Nanette animist faith they believe everything in nature possesses a spiritual force when women start to menstruate they become directly connected to this force known by the Nanette as saya may [Music] [Music] costea and his neighbors share over 300 reindeer unlike their ancestors they rely on them for food warmth and transport the three families own individual animals but they all share the workload amazingly Kostya yay gore and Vitaly can tell each animal apart even at several hundred meters the Nannette animals are semi domesticated cousins of wild reindeer the bulk of the herd is for trading while sama used to pull sleds a few are believed to be sacred and will not be killed until they're too old to walk can you all explain to me how important reindeer are to your life their antenna will tell are you okay people I didn't check on in changing what my cousin did a territory mutant I am go fetch committee Hey seeking help from your home country [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Music] nobody [Music] evening we're taking the herd out to new pasture for the night it's a four kilometer ride [Music] it's actually quite a smooth ride and they move do you think the men's days are ruled by caring for their reindeer making sure they get enough food and protecting the herd from predators like foxes Eagles Wolverines and wolves [Music] actually it's quite heavy I don't know how we gonna get through here we're going just smashing Christmas trees [Music] after half an hour we arrive at a clearing the reindeer scraped through the snow to reach the lichen below remarkably it's all that sustains them through the long winter months the new nets need to be constantly on the move migrating up and down the peninsula to ensure that their herds have enough to eat just to be out here with these people having had all the trials and tribulations we've had and what was really really lovely was just seeing how costume completely understood his reindeer his dogs the landscape you know I've only just met him we got lost my heart papí tail you can sees clearly learning from the other dogs and when the other dogs are all we all bet down in the tomb together the family on one side the crew and I on the other [Music] [Music] I'm not quite sure what time it is in the morning they've been amazingly hospitable these two they absolutely refused to let me and the crews an attempt before we die so we spent the night here in the Chum and I think this is what I was gonna be for the next week [Music] when you're the garden most days the men tend to the reindeer whilst the women look after the home and these strict gender roles also extend to the dress code and her neighbor which is also her sister-in-law have told me that basically wearing a pair of Santa pets is completely unacceptable so I need to wear a skirt so do you both make all your clothes print everything they would need to tell me about the second way over so Natasha how did you meet Kostya no boy mean you wish for my newest will never know that I would say the number what they will use what happens can you tell me about him and that's wedding in total Matata what you seem to know myself sir do you know the boy and a boy who knew my name she is to mount with general Castillo our customer here but Stella's eating after when you're mashing I didn't open a couple money mg was ready so when your sons are older will you do the same for them the Aleppo lynnium afternoon any way you talk alone you know what Yuki new house name is anyone else though but you could throw a water deal for the new homework main hall my one-hander sir okay so put it in like that give it to mr. Daniels yeah what do you think what what come here look at us we are the best looking girls on the tundra what do you think let's go crispy yeah Natasha and Kostas camp is next to the Gazprom railway this afternoon the director of the 350 mile train track is coming to visit the railway has blocked some of the Nets migration routes as the reindeer and sleds struggled to cross the track the gas industry has also been accused of damaging feeding grounds Alexandra malam Chuck and his family are here on a PR exercise to find out how this heavy industry is affecting than our next lives under you you work up here your base up here you'll work as usual he's just reported efficient got stuff in booze of number one youngster mr. Jin you must remember when the Soviet state collapsed in the 1990s multinational corporations flooded in to explore the tundra for its huge gas reserves in 2011 Gazprom the Russian energy giant began to exploit them at 41 billion dollars it's the fourth most expensive energy project in the world and a vital and strategic part of the Russian economy how did you meet Koster and Natasha thank you across East noble the others come immune tediously human blood can you support southwestern no can you forget me tell you to compensate the Nanette's for blocking some of their migration routes the railway has made concessions Southwest anomaly dodging asteroids it's an appeal holder published of Magnum ugly new ps4 can appreciate any compensation given to to the nomadic people in this area boom smoochy liberal industries that say goodbye industry uses a la promotion Takata opinion DiNozzo's submission condition blood suppose what the GM is a terrific the gas industry pays each Nannette adult 20 pounds a month and funds development across the tundra I am doomed as I show that the why should the daughters divide six of silica Egypt by co-composed I would say do you think that this is good progress for the people of the tundra facility - I may be shocked I usually assume we need sea wheedies not selling you it was a very interesting little visit I thought the most telling thing about him was how extraordinarily well media trained he was there was a man who was never ever ever going to answer a question straight there are no doubt some benefits for the new Nets the tax revenues raised by the local government from the gas industry are helping to finance schools and medical facilities in the Yamal district what scares me is that these are big powerful industries and I suspect pretty unstoppable is this a way of them seemingly to be doing the local people here a favor when actually what they're doing is gently eradicating their culture with gas production plan to travel over the next 15 years the impact on the Lynette's is only just beginning it's very early in the morning and the family are on the move its migration day the absolute essence of nomadism for me it's incredibly romantic it's sort of thing that as a child you know I wanted to be a nomad or a gypsy or in the circus you know somebody who is constantly on the move Kostya and Natasha their neighbors and their reindeer are heading for new pastures and I'm going with them [Music] everything has to be packed up and put on a specific sled actually five minutes ago everyone was sitting around they relax having tea and then suddenly the whole thing is dismantled in what seems like moments times maneuver giant chopsticks it's taken three hours to pack three families and their entire lives on to 33 sleds the migration is a colourful affair the sleds are decorated with bells and red leather tassels and the reindeer wear special harnesses it's a very beautiful thing what's it made out of wood you know what moment do we give you this is mama no no no no over there do you still find mammoths sometimes out in the Turner venue up seven eight with a yoni would be some work on the move another diva beckoning hope don't do it with a near with amnesia day you got using them [Music] [Music] with everything finally packed we're off [Music] [Applause] we head down the ice road alongside the railway with the herd following behind [Music] costea and natasha have travelled nearly 500 kilometers south in September and now are only a few weeks away from their winter grazing grounds [Music] dusk schooling as we head off the road and onto the wide open Tundra after six kilometers we arrived at the Nou Camp just as the wind picks up [Music] [Music] so this is what I'm really getting the sense of this is this relationship between there and reindeer is it's a symbiotic relationship which allows people an animal to to be up in this really wild place and to not just his crotch a survival but live kind of MV ibly successful way of life here [Music] it's quite funny I just caught Natasha having a little moment with some of her reindeer she's a complete softy she comes out here with bits of bread and feed some of her favorite doesn't see I haven't got any bread we were reindeer supposed to eat lichen the reindeer are meticulously cared for because the Nannette simply can't live without them reindeer meat is the staple food and one animal can last a family up to a month [Music] so posture is killing reindeer now and he stuns the animal first with the axe on the top of the head and then he stabs it in the back of the head and then straight into the heart and the animals dead already [Music] this is a non breeding male that's been kept specifically for meat nothing will be wasted the Nannette eat some of the reindeer meat raw sure and the fat an awful while it's still warm it's a delicacy to drink the blood which is salted to stop it congealing but the biggest treat is the warm raw univer so I take all of it like this can I have half of it washed in you polish your sweatshirt it's quite a mental process to to eat this we're constantly enjoying it terribly much but it's actually a very mild taste and an oddly kind of quite a crisp texture you sort of expect liver to be soft because I've only ever had it cooked before the families gather round the reindeer carcass to eat their fill but they've asked us not to film any close-ups in the past the nur Nets have been portrayed badly in Russian and foreign media sometimes being called savages and even vampires for eating raw meat but why wouldn't you eat the meat while it's fresh and warm in this cold it'll be frozen solid in minutes [Music] the nur Nets make almost everything they need their sleds harnesses chums and all their clothing whilst Koster works on some antlers that he can sell Natasha is making sewing thread from dried reindeer sinew yeah with dementia turn the onion don't tell me [Laughter] look it's one of Natasha and Kostya's sons but never new member in miniature yeah and do you miss your buddy huh I won't learn it don't mind her okay their three sons are away at school it's the legacy of the old Soviet system which provided education for all Nanette most children have to board as their parents are constantly on the move is it hard to send your children away to school don't need a vehicle many necklace you could token in a bit and today then come back and and spend the holidays here with you I'm poppin air how old will she be when she goes to school when you can open you can understand they're all missing you want him same mm-hmm number wouldn't you miss Evelyn don't mean you don't win I am assumed a mere math - intensive also with the medium Natasha get her on the subject of education and you can see there's a slight a slight sort of missed in us comes over her she would love I think to have gone to university and although cost her and natasha feel very rooted here to the tundra it would be interesting to see what choices their children make and I suppose the reality is will they be actually be able to make that choice or will gas extraction and climates actually take that choice away from them I don't know [Music] [Music] it's my last morning living alongside Natasha Kostya and their family thank you so much for all your help thank you for lending me your beautiful coat I've become genuinely fond of the whole family so leaving them is going to be hard this is a life that is incredibly difficult not just because it's so cold you know in north of the Arctic Circle this is a life on the edge nomadic families all over the world are are adapting evolving if you'd like to include parts of the modern world that suit them but I get the feeling here that they've done all those things but there is such a big outside influence that is also chipping chipping chipping insidiously away at their lives and that is the fact that the Yamal Peninsula is one big gas reserve [Music] [Laughter] La Ceiba kasuba deceiver frankly a few nomadic people are not going to be able to stop that level of development and I really hope I'm wrong but I'm just not sure and that makes me feel genuinely sad [Music] next time I journey to Mongolia the most magical place to live with a family of nomads who are adapting to the modern world deep in the Gobi Desert but life in this wilderness is still dominated by the power of nature it started to snow as storms and predators constantly threatened their nomadic way of life I can't stand here and say don't kill that wolf it's not my place to [Music]