Document Type


Journal/Book Title

Cambridge Elements

Publication Date



Cambridge University Press

First Page


Last Page



This essay was greatly inspired by a 15" film titled Tiny Katerina, which shows glimpses of Katerina from two- to four-and-a-half years of age. She lives with her parents and older brother in Northwestern Siberia in the taiga. The Khanty-speaking people live by foraging (berries, for example), fishing and herding reindeer; they are semi-nomadic. In their camp and the vicinity, there is no evidence of electricity or any other public service. These people are very much “off the grid.” From the first, as a wobbly toddler, Katerina is shown being helpful. She carries (and drops and picks up) firewood chopped by her mother into their tent. She ladles food (spilling some) from a large pot over the fire into a tin and feeds the dog. She carries pans with bread dough to her mother to place in the baking oven. When her mother goes gathering in the forest, Katerina has her own toddler-size collecting bucket. She is out in all weather, including deep snow, keeping warm in her animal skin anorak and mittens.