Shamanism and Song
The Nenets, being a nomadic tribal people, have developed a shamanistic religious culture based on a high reverence for nature. Aligning their survival to that of the reindeer, the tribe gives back to ecosystem as a whole instead of just taking and depleting the natural resources that are afforded to them in the tundra.
The collection of shamans for the tribe are called Tadibya, and there are three levels of shamanistic ability. The first level is called Sambana; these are the shamans who focus on communication with the dead (both human and animal) as well as hold rituals that pertain to different aspects of death.
The second level is that of Yanyani, and these are the shamans who are responsible for communing with the land and elements to ensure that a balance is kept. Third, there are the Vidutana who incorporate the other two levels in addition to being the main shamanic tribal presence for the everyday life or “upper world".
Altogether there are the lower world, middle world, and the upper world. Each world has different levels in which to excel and all are under the direction of four main god archetypes. The first two represent the duality of the male and female dynamic and are called Ya’Minya and Mikola Mutratna. The second two represent the underworld (Nga) and heaven (Num).
In order for one to become a shaman, they must first be trained by an elder shaman. This process requires exposure to the elements so that the person becoming a shaman will feel the difference between their body and their spirit. It is the spirit world of all living things past and present that the shamans focus on. This process relies heavily on oral tradition as does much of the Nenets culture.
The main way in which the Nenets culture survives generation to generation is through song. Song is the main structure of their tribal history and is used both to teach younger members about their people and to carry on tribal traditions.
The wording used for their tribe shamans and songs comes from their main dialect of n'enytsia vada, which is a second branch language of the Uralic language family.