“Win, Place, Show” by Brian Donahoe

First Place Winner, 2009 AAA Photo Contest. Kharkuta, Sakhalin Island, Russian Federation. August 29, 2009. Grisha Mikheev, Ul’ta reindeer herder, spurs his reindeer on to victory in the reindeer race, part of the festivities in celebration of the Day of the Reindeer Herders. The Ul’ta (also referred to as Orochon), are an officially recognized “indigenous small-numbered people” of the Russian Federation. Their principal traditional economic activity, reindeer herding, hangs in a precarious balance, threatened by official state policies that favor the development of the oil and gas industry on Sakhalin Island and lead to the destruction of reindeer pastures, but at the same time dependent upon subsidies provided by the oil and gas industry. Photo courtesy Brian Donahoe (Max Planck Institute)

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Taken on August 29, 2009