Tofalar - Settlements

Until 1929-1930 the Tofalar led an exclusively nomadic form of life and did not have fixed settlements. Conical tipis ( chum ) of poles served as dwellings throughout the year. These were covered during the summer with widths of material ( polotnishch ) stitched together from pieces of birch bark that had been boiled in water. In winter the cover consisted of the skins of domestic or wild reindeer that had been sewn together. All the territory belonging to the Tofalar was divided among the Tofalar clans. Each clan pursued its nomadic life strictly within its territory ( aimak ). In the course of nomadism, several families related by blood would usually unite in an aal (nomad camp; pl., aallar ) because by helping each other, it was easier to herd the reindeer and to hunt. The Tofalar divided their entire nomadic area into three parts: (1) the Burungu aallar, the eastern group of nomad camps, which included the territory of the nomadic clans called Chogdy, Akchogdy, and Kara-chogdy on the Yda, Kara-Buren', Ytkum, and Iya rivers; (2) the Songy aallar, the western group of nomad camps, which included the territory of the Haash and Saryt-haash clans on the Agul, Tagul, Gutara, Big Birius, and Iuglym rivers; (3) the Ortaa aallar, the middle group of nomadic camps, which included the territory of the Cheptai clan on the Little Birius, Nerkha, Erma, and Iaga rivers. After their shift to a sedentary life, the first group began to live in the Alygzher poselok, the second in Upper Gutara, and the third in Nerkha.

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