"Chum" (pronounced "choom") is the Russian word for tent and is commonly used in English to describe the nomadic tents of Siberia, including the tent of the Nenets. The Nenets themselves call it M'ya.
The Chum is a brilliant architectural design. It is simple enough to take down, move, and set back up again in one day, yet it is completely comfortable in the worst arctic weather. It's made with local materials that are widely available and acquired for free, and it is totally environmentally friendly.
Similar designs are indigenous to northern Europe (Lavvu) and North America (Tipi) but are now rarely made with the traditional animal skin covering. This leaves the Chum as one of the last survivors in a rapidly disappearing family of ancient traditional skin-covered homes.
The frame of the Chum is built of 30+ poles layed in a specific pattern onto a tripod.
The wooden poles are harvested from the taiga forest. Once these poles are set up, the skins are raised onto it using a combination of lifting poles and ropes.
There are two layers of covers on the Chum, an inner layer and an outer layer. Each layer consists of two individual covers, known as "nyuks".
Each nyuk is made from approximately 30-40 reindeer skins and covers more than half of the Chum's frame, allowing enough overlap at the seams to keep out the arctic chill on the coldest nights.
The nyuk is made of softened reindeer skins with short cropped hair, sewn with reindeer-sinew thread, and tied with rawhide reindeer skin rope. Each tent uses 120 or more skins and can be repaired and passed down for generations.