Life with the Reindeer: "Dukha"
Dukhas, who lives in the taigas (coniferous forest) of northern Mongolia, is attracted by their friendship with the reindeer and nomadic lifestyles. The Dukhas live in conical tents, which they say "alaje öy" and "mast house". The people who speak a dialect from the Kipchak group are hunting and gathering. In food cultures, there is not such a diversity. Bread, big ravioli, vegetables, fried pasta, are consumed, deer meat is dried or hide in the water.
The Dukhas, whose ancestors had come from Tuva with reindeer, are obviously devoted to these animals. They benefit from their meat, milk and strength. They hunt only one of the three deer in order to prevent the reindeer from disappearing, but this is not enough to protect the deer's generation. In 1986, twenty Ren deer were brought from Russia in order to continue the progeny but this annihilation could not be prevented.
After the summer is over, migration to the 'fall tents' starts. Dukhas, who is closely tied to shamanism, has a great respect for the nature as the nature is sacred in Shamanism, and they do not take much than their needs. It is a great sin to pollute the rivers or to sacrifice the blood to the water, and if the blood is mixed into the water, the milk is offered apologetically. The public that is the smallest ethnic group of Mongolia, is composed of 200 people as the nomadic population and 500 people as the total population. Some of the Dukhas settle down in a village called “Akgöl", named as "Sagannur" in Mongolian. The children who go to school here and young people who do not know and want to learn the Dukha language is the sign of the extinction of the language. Dukha culture is mixed with Mongolian culture and there are marriages between the two nations. The most important feature that separates the Dukha from the Mongols is undoubtedly a nomadic life with reindeer in the high slopes. One of the most comprehensive researches about Dukhas has been carried out by Selcen Büyüküstel who is Atlas Magazine writer in 2012. He has been lived with Dukhas for about two months, and has got important information about their life, and took a documentary film.