Nganasan - Settlements



At the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries the Nganasan lacked permanent settlements. Their nomadic collectives consisted of two or three related families, the migration routes of which—and they were not always the same—were worked out in advance among neighbors. For a more successful battue and hunt on the rivers, several collectives combined their efforts. A stopping place or site usually consisted of three or four conical dwellings (tipis) made of poles joined at the top and covered with skins, easily transportable on sleds. Four to eight people, including children, typically lived in one tipi. In the 1940s small frame houses on runners and drawn by reindeer came into use. In the 1930s construction of villages of three to five houses was begun, with the goal of making the nomads sedentary and guaranteeing them medical aid and access to education and culture. In the 1960s these small villages were deserted and all construction was transferred to larger settlements. In 1988, 655 people lived in Ust'-Avam: 281 Nganasan and 319 Dolgan. Of the 991 in Volochanka, 385 were Nganasan and 361 Dolgan. In Novaia Demografiia, of 331, 81 were Nganasan and 212 Dolgan. The houses typically have three or four apartments and are heated with imported coal. There are also group (team) dwellings at distant centers of production. These villages are linked by air and, in the summer, by river transport.


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