Books & Articles

Here are a few interesting books and articles on the various indigenous Reindeer People around the world. If we missed your favorite book or article, please let us know.

The Reindeer People by Piers Vitebsky
The best current book on the subject of Reindeer People in Siberia. Professor Vitebsky spent years living with the Eveny people and has an excellent grasp of their lives, beliefs, and challenges. Definitely worth reading.
The Raven's Gift by Jon Turk
An engaging and well-written nonfiction book about an American adventurer who is healed by and forms bonds with the family of an elderly Koryak shaman. The Koryaks of Vyvenka have lost all their reindeer to economic disaster, bandit tax collectors, drunkenness, and wolf predation. One of the most interesting things that I read in this book was about the question of wolf predation – the Koryaks were repeatedly clear that what kept the wolves at bay before the era of guns was the shamans making deals with the spirits, and now that there were (almost) no shamans the reindeer were leaving. Also some interesting discussion about the Siberian tundra mysteriously emptying of wildlife for no apparent reason – no scientific studies have been done on it because there is no funding and no interest. Thought-provoking reading!
The Reindeer Herders of the Mackenzie Delta by Dr. Gerry Conaty and Lloyd Binder
Written by a researcher and a direct descendant of both Sami reindeer herders and Native Americans, this book details the family history of the Sami who were imported into Canada along with their reindeer in order to teach herding to the locals. The project failed due to government mismanagement and Native American disinterest, but descendants are now trying to increase the reindeer herds and manage them properly this time. Fascinating history of two colliding aboriginal groups and how they managed together.
Sami Potatoes: Living With Reindeer And Perestroika by Michael Robinson and Kareem-Aly Kassam
More research than story, this book details the geography, ecosystem, and herding customs of the Sami people of the Russian Kola peninsula. Worth it for the photos alone, this book is a bit of a hard read, but is packed with information. The title refers to the basic importance of reindeer to the Sami people - they are like staple "potatoes" to them.
Creation's Heartbeat: Following The Reindeer Spirit by Linda Schierse Leonard
This book was written by a Jungian therapist, and inspired by a dream of a woman running with reindeer. Unlike many who theorize on the spirits, the author actually spent some years living with various reindeer herders in the circumpolar area, chasing her vision. The book recounts myths not just of reindeer but of many different kinds of deer, with speculation as to their meaning for modern people.

Free Articles