I suspect that there are many readers who will be just as much take aback by this story as I am. Honestly, have you even considered the possibility that in this day and age there might be people in the U.S. who rely solely on their survival skills and ability to hunt and forage for food in their daily lives? I know I haven’t.
So, photographer Adrain Chesser has followed a small group of American nomads between 2006 and 2012 and has documented their daily routines in a new book — The Return. Mr. Chesser first met the group at a Native American festival in Tennessee. However, even though some of the nomads have adopted their lifestyle, most of them are not descended from tribes.
One of Mr. Chesser’s subjects — White Eagle — told Vice:
Most come in one form or another from the disenfranchised margins of mainstream America. Most are poor, some are queer, some are transgendered, some are hermits, and some are politically radical. … And all are willing pioneers, stepping off into uncertain terrain and searching for something lost generations ago.
The band of nomads drift from Idaho to Nevada, Oregon and California, sleeping as they go under the open sky or in shelters based on the traditional Native American homes. The group tends goats for milk and meat, forages for wild fruits and hunts — sometimes with a bow. Mr. Chesser says that he was inspired for the project at a time when he felt trapped by society:
I knew that I had to follow them out west. My soul needed images of people living wild and free, untethered from society.
Well, these amazing images were the product of his work. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. With a bow in one hand, and animal skins keeping her warm, Mikalia hikes through Deschutes River Canyon in Oregon.
2. The hardships of life on the constant move are often softened by the discovery of fresh produce such as cherries found in California’s Marble Mountain wilderness.
3. One of the new nomads uses a magpie in her hunt for food in Oregon, as the group follow ancient paths and traditions.
4. The vast expanse of land between the scrub land and mountains seems to dwarf one of the nomads.
5. To the east of the bustling lights of Las Vegas, a nomad settles down for the night in just a sleeping bag.
6. The band of like-minded travelers live off the land, hunting and foraging for food.
7. A woman digs at the tough prairie ground in Idaho as she forages for food.
8. An old-fashioned yoke helps balance the load as a woman carries water supplies across a field of meadow flowers.
9. The eclectic band of nomads live in temporary shelters or sleep under the stars as they follow their food sources across the U.S.
10. A young man and woman look peaceful as the wind whips through their hair during a truck ride in Nevada.
11. JP Hartsong, one of the new nomads, surveys his surroundings in Stoneberger Creek, Nevada.
12. The wide open expanses of rugged land across the U.S., like this scene in Nevada, have become home to a new generation of nomads.
13. Far from the glare of street lamps and city light pollution, nightfall descends peacefully on the Virgin river in Nevada.
14. Some of the nomads have created wikiups, based on the traditional Native American shelters.
And here is the video:
Share this amazing story with your friends below — they will be as astonished as you are.