On Sunday the 4th of November, I was guided by the Nenets group Ханибиë (Snow Owl in Nenets language) to a wish tree. The women of this performance group first welcomed me in their chum not far from Naryan Mar, where they shared nice food and some interesting anecdotes and songs. These women want their indigenous traditions to be known and appreciated; hence they promote and perform parts of their culture. After I told them about the NIVA TO NENETS project, one of the women cut a red ribbon from her traditional dress and gave it to me. I was surprised and a bit shocked, and pointed a bit pityfully to the empty spot on the beautiful dress. “Don’t worry, I will sew a new ribbon to it with your project in mind,” she assured me. While I firmly held the ribbon in my hands, we posed for a group photo. Then we all together walked through the snow, towards a Nenets wish tree. This tree was completely draped with ribbons, which made a colourful contrast with the surrounding leafless trees. We found a good branch where I could tie my ribbon on. I did this silently in deep concentration and with awareness of the moment itself. Of course I had the NIVA TO NENETS project in mind.
During my stay in Naryan Mar and Krasnoye for the NIVA TO NENETS project, I had the possibility to travel to some Nenets on the tundra. This was only for a very short visit. I was flashed into a traditional reindeer herding livelihood, and absorbed every second with great joy and appreciation… resulting in hours of remembrance. The herders were friendly and welcoming. When I was notified that it was already time to travel back to the car, my whole body seemed to protest and wished to stay. But on the sledge pulled by reindeer all my muscles were filled with joy again!
I made much more photographs during this short visit. Some can be found in a Facebook album: http://tinyurl.com/c4fvuyg