Tent Life in Siberia eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 392 pages of information about Tent Life in Siberia.

After three days spent in resting, refitting, and packing up, we started back with the rescued party, and on February 6th we returned in safety to Anadyrsk.

[Illustration:  Stone Hatchet for cutting edible grass]

CHAPTER XXIX

CLASSIFICATION OF NATIVES—­INDIAN TYPE, MONGOLIAN TYPE, AND TURKISH TYPE—­EASTERN VIEW OF WESTERN ARTS AND FASHIONS—­AN AMERICAN SAINT

All the inhabitants of the settlement were in the streets to meet us when we returned; but we were disappointed not to see among them the faces of Macrae and Arnold.  Many bands of Chukchis from the lower Anadyr had arrived at the village, but nothing had been heard of the missing men.  Forty-five days had now elapsed since they left their camp on the river, and, unless they had died or been murdered, they ought long since to have arrived.  I should have sent a party in search of them, but I had not the slightest clue to the direction in which they had gone, or the intentions of the party that had carried them away; and to look for a band of Wandering Chukchis on those great steppes was as hopeless as to look for a missing vessel in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and far more dangerous.  We could only wait, therefore, and hope for the best.  We spent the first week after our return in resting, writing up our journals, and preparing a report of our explorations, to be forwarded by special courier to the Major.  During this time great numbers of wild, wandering natives—­Chukchis, Lamutkis (la-moot’-kees) and a few Koraks—­came into the settlement to exchange their furs and walrus teeth for tobacco, and gave us an excellent opportunity of studying their various characteristics and modes of life.  The Wandering Chukchis, who visited us in the greatest numbers, were evidently the most powerful tribe in north-eastern Siberia, and impressed us very favourably with their general appearance and behaviour.  Except for their dress, they could hardly have been distinguished from North American Indians—­many of them being as tall, athletic, and vigorous specimens of savage manhood as I had ever seen.  They did not differ in any essential particular from the Wandering Koraks, whose customs, religion, and mode of life I have already described.

[Illustration:  A MAN OF THE WANDERING CHUKCHIS]

The Lamutkis, however, were an entirely different race, and resembled the Chukchis only in their nomadic habits.  All the natives in north-eastern Siberia, except the Kamchadals, Chuances, and Yukagirs, who are partially Russianised, may be referred to one or another of three great classes.  The first of these, which may be called the North American Indian class, comprises the wandering and settled Chukchis and Koraks, and covers that part of Siberia lying between the 160th meridian of east longitude and Bering Strait.  It is the only class which has ever made a successful stand against Russian invasion, and embraces without doubt the bravest, most independent savages in all Siberia.  I do not think that this class numbers all together more than six or eight thousand souls, although the estimates of the Russians are much larger.

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Tent Life in Siberia from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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