Chukchi, perhaps,is the most researched small nation of Russia, but for that no less mysterious.

In Soviet times, Chukchi were the heroes of many anecdotes, which, incidentally, doesn’t honor their narrators. At the same time, the details of their way of life became known from many scientific and popular publications.

Part of Chukchi led a lifestyle characteristic of coastal residents. The sea in this region is very abundant with marine animals.

1.1. Coastal settled chukchi near Baidara.jpg

 Coastal settled chukchi near Baidara

During hunting season Chukchi hunted for whales and walruses. Chukchi hunted for seals year-round. For whales they hunted in groups. They tried to catch a whale in a narrow passage between the ice and attacked it with spears.

For walruses and other animals Chukchi hunted using canoes and kayaks, which they made ​​of slats, covered with skins.

While hunting for walrus in open water Chukchi threw a harpoon really hard into the animal. The harpoon had special accessories: it was tied to a float by the belt. Moreover, the float was made of whole skins of seals, which prevented an injured animalfrom drowning or escaping.

Hunting for walruses, which were valued for their skin and especially tusks, in another season was carried out on floating ice. A group of Chukchi sat in kayaks and canoes, and gently swam to the ice floes from the leeward side. If it was possible to manage secretly, Chukchi killed animals lying on the edge. As a result, other walruses could not get away, and a real massacre began.

Chukchi hunted for seals alone, by crawling to them quietly and slowly and imitating the movements of seals.

The First Chewing Gum

Among coastal Chukchi elastic skin of a whale was considered a delicacy. It was cut it pieces and chewed for a long time.



Intoxicating Substances

Chukchi, as well as any other human tribe, did not ignore intoxicating substances. From wild blueberries they made mead. They used amanita mushrooms as hallucinogenic agents.


In rain coat made from seal intestines

In rain coat made from seal intestines

Men wore kuhlyanka(a shirt to the knee) and narrow pants from the skins of deer, the same as Chukchi reindeer herders. Sometimes the clothes were made of walrus guts. Woman wore fur overalls. In winter, all clothes were worn in double layers.

Coastal Chukchi could get rich and become Chukchi reindeer herders..

The pic 1 from Russian Ethnographic Museum

The pic 2-3 from “Russian Arctic and round the world explorers” (1898)

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