Tsaatan (Mongolian for "those who have reindeer") descend from reindeer herders who have inhabited the remotest subarctic taiga for thousands of years, moving between five and ten times a year. Presently, only 44 families remain, their existence threatened by the dwindling number of their domesticated reindeer.
“If there were no reindeer, we would not exist”
The Tsaatan rely on the reindeer for most, if not all, of their basic needs: milk, which is also used to make cheese; antlers, which they use to make tools; and first and foremost, transport. They do not use the reindeer for meat. This makes the indigenous group unique among reindeer-herding communities.