Tsaatans and their herds travel for grass, pitch and live
in tipis. Only 200 people remain.
Tsaatans were the first to domesticate reindeer.
Older children teach toddlers to mount and ride them.
The sick reindeer have dwindled to 500, no
one seems to be able to bring healthy bulls in,
but this people will make our official human
heritage list. A big blue sky, Ushken Uver,
which means Lung Mountain, mountains to surround lush grass,
these Ulaan-Uul and Tsaagan Nuur children playing,
the reindeer and the reindeer people–this is where
Smithsonian researchers were “painting” a stone.
“Why are you painting our stones blue?” the children asked,
these children of the archaelogical site.
For 3,000 years, this deer stone, with animal
images carved into it, the one known for its
human face at the top, lips carved to a whistle,
like a shaman blowing evil spirits away,
has stood 8-feet tall and steady amid the great
nomadic Tsaatans. A replica made from blue
latex, unveiled at the National Museum
of Natural History, a granite shaman,
stands blowing evil spirits away in D.C.,
so we can close our eyes and be reindeer children.
The Bowers Museum