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Before They Pass Away: A Photographer Races After Vanishing Tribes

By Jane Hwang - 2014-01-07T15:48:54Z

Photograph by Jimmy Nelson BV courtesy teNeues

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The Chukchi of Siberia 

"The Chukchi are an ancient Arctic people who chiefly live on the peninsula of Chukotka. They call themselves the Lygoravetlat  – meaning ‘genuine people’ – and presently number slightly over 15,000. Their territory is mostly treeless tundra. The climate is harsh, with winter temperatures sometimes dropping as low as -54° C, or -65.2º F. The cool summers average around 10° C, or 50º F. Ancient legends and archaeological evidence suggest that the Chukchi takeover of Chukotka was anything but peaceful. Unlike other native groups of Siberia, they were fiercely militant, and have never been conquered by Russian troops. 

"Pollution, weapons testing, strip mining and overuse of industrial equipment and vehicles have greatly damaged Chukotka’s environment and endangered its ability to support traditional Chukchi activities." -- Before They Pass Away

Left: Chukotka, February 2012

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