Nomadism means a mobile way of life. Nomadism among Uralic peoples usually takes the form of reindeer pastoralism. Reindeer pastoralists make their living by means of reindeer husbandry and move from place to place depending on where there is food for reindeer.

Reindeer nomads do not have fixed dwellings. Instead, they often live in homes that are easy to transport from one place to another. Reindeer nomads do, however, often have specific locations within or close to which they spend a certain portion of the year. Those places may also be locations for so-called winter and summer villages where there are some fixed buildings either for living in for a few months or for storing extra items.

Nomads often travel as individual family units or in groups of a few families. Reindeer nomadism has traditionally been carried out by the Saami as well as peoples living in Siberia. Today, the number of people following this traditional lifestyle is fairly small. Reindeer nomadism is still carried out by some Khantys, Mansis and Samoyeds. Reindeer nomadism is also carried out by many Siberian peoples that are not speakers of Uralic languages. It is therefore quite possible for reindeer nomad villages to be multilingual and include reindeer nomads belonging to many different ethnic groups.

It is among these people following the nomadic lifestyle that a group’s own language as well as old traditions are best preserved. If they wish, a nomadic family may take their children out of school after year four and raise their children to continue their traditional way of life.