Vol 5 No 2 (2014)

The Herder’s Life in 21st-Century’s Mongolia

Annet Hon Shu Chu
Athabasca University
Bud Vases in Process
Published November 30, 2014


Since the 12th century, the Mongols have made the harsh environment of Mongolia habitable by maintaining their nomadic lifeway. Mongolian animistic, shamanistic, and Buddhist beliefs have served the Mongols well in living in harmony with other beings on the steppes. Tragically, the communist regime banned all religious beliefs from the 1930s to the early 1990s. The land is constantly being exploited for coal mining; such damage to the land is also damaging the people, but the Mongols are resilient. They are on a journey to revive their traditional beliefs and precious land. The case study explores Mongolian nomads’ migration patterns, which have been affected by imposed political systems; examines the spiritual beliefs embedded in the nomads’ culture; and explores conservation movements that involve traditional nomadic knowledge. Keywords nomadism, Mongolian Buddhism, traditional ecological knowledge, environmental concerns, anthropology, ethnoecology