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Mongolia’s Nomads Face Changing Culture

BY Talea Miller  September 21, 2010 at 1:10 PM EDT
Eastern Mongolia A nomadic Mongolian woman brings in her family's belonging before a storm. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Eastern Mongolia
A nomadic Mongolian woman brings in her family’s belonging before a storm. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Mongolian economic history is rooted in agriculture and livestock herding. The country’s nomads raise and herd livestock and usually move approximately every three months in order to adapt to often unforgiving weather.

Even the global credit crunch has impacted Mongolia’s nomad population. A 2009 Wall Street Journal story explored how a drop in demand for cashmere among recession-hit shoppers caused financial woes for some farmers, including loan defaults.

Getty photographer Aletheia Casey recently documented Mongolian nomadic life and the cultural pressures that are changing some of those traditions. Hear more from Casey in the slide show above.



Getty photographer Aletheia Casey describes her recent experiences documenting Mongolian nomadic life.


Seasonal flooding A young boy wheels his bike through heavy flood waters near Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Seasonal flooding
A young boy wheels his bike through heavy flood waters near Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Motorbikes Men repair their motorbike near Ulaanbaatar. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images.

Motorbikes
Men repair their motorbike near Ulaanbaatar. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images.

Nadaam festival A man warms up for the yearly Nadaam festival, which highlights athletics and horse riding. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Nadaam festival
A man warms up for the yearly Nadaam festival, which highlights athletics and horse riding. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Watching the sky A man watches the weather after feeding his livestock. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Watching the sky
A man watches the weather after feeding his livestock. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Hearding A nomadic family's plot of land. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Hearding
A nomadic family’s plot of land. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Nomadic home A family's Ger, which is a portable tent-like home, near Ulaanbaatar. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Nomadic home
A family’s Ger, which is a portable tent-like home, near Ulaanbaatar. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Taking a rest A nomadic man rests after grazing his family's sheep and cows. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Taking a rest
A nomadic man rests after grazing his family’s sheep and cows. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Playground A concrete playground near Ulaanbaatar. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Playground
A concrete playground near Ulaanbaatar. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Nomadic lifestyle A man poses in front of his home near Ulaanbaatar. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Nomadic lifestyle
A man poses in front of his home near Ulaanbaatar. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Farming A family milks their cows at dusk. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Farming
A family milks their cows at dusk. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Fueling up A family make a fuel stop on the way to their family's Ger. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Fueling up
A family make a fuel stop on the way to their family’s Ger. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Laundry Boots dry on top of a family's Ger. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Laundry
Boots dry on top of a family’s Ger. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Dinner time A family cooks their meal on an outdoor stove. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Dinner time
A family cooks their meal on an outdoor stove. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Cold weather A nomadic girl takes a break from milking the family's cows. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images

Cold weather
A nomadic girl takes a break from milking the family’s cows. Photo by Aletheia Casey/Getty Images