Horse breeding is well-known to be one of the traditional means of subsistence for the Sakha (Yakut) of Siberia. Existing research, however, lacks clear descriptions of the reproductive process of the horse-bands and the role which herders play in that process. The objective of this paper is to clarify these issues. Currently the peoples of Northern Yakutia are not subsistence pastoralists but rather ranch workers. Rural development policies of the Soviet regime and the contemporary decollectivization process have infiltrated all spheres of indigenous life. I describe the nature of state property, labor organization of the state farms, and relations among the administrative village, herders' camp, and pasture, which were defined by the former socialist government and now are unstabilized, as well as how pastoral techniques and practices of horse husbandry shared among herders have been shaped, mediated, and channeled by state-institutional arrangements. My primary focus is the historical interactions among subsistence herders, indigenous ecological knowledge, and state administration, in light of the interaction between herders and horses in the reproduction process of the herds involved with state institutions.
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