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  •     Ewenki Minority

            
    Editor:luby       Organization:GuangXi Shelton China Travel Inof Co. Ltd.   Edited Date:2008-4-11 16:41:44  

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    People & Culture

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    Introduction

                 


      Primeval forests cover the Great Hinggan Range in Chinas northeast. In the depths of the forests live the Ewenki people, who make a living by hunting and rear reindeer. They are the last of the hunting people in China today. Due to ecological changes, hunting has given way to raising reindeer as a major part of their life. Their reindeer culture has lasted for several thousand years. Most of the Ewenki people, 30,000 in total, live in the Ewenki Autonomous Banner in todays Inner Mongolia, some living Heilongjiang Province with other peoples, such as the Han, the Mongolian and the Daur.
    Ewenki means people living in deep mountains and forests. About 300 years ago, the Ewenki people came from Russia and settled down in Greater Hinggan Range, making a living by hunting. Because the reindeer are a huge part of their life, they are also called reindeer people.
    How long have they kept reindeer? No one knows for sure. But their aged people believe it is as old as their history. Reindeer have big horns with many branches. They walk easily in marshes or snow and feed on moss in forests. Most is a lowest plant growing year-round on the west side of the mountains, where it is cold and damp. The slow growth of the moss and fragility of forest ecology make it difficult for the Ewenki people to keep reindeer in a large group.
    The Ewenki language belongs to the Tungus-Manchu branch of the Altaic phylum. Interestingly it has no written characters. In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the Ewenki group learned to write in Manchu form whilst today they can master Mongolian and Chinese languages.
    Most of Ewenki people are disciples of Shamanism. Meanwhile, they also believe that there are gods controlling their life. The god of mountain, in their eyes, is a long bearded senior man. When hunters meet with mountains, caves, or odd rocks, they will think these are the domicile of god and their preys are the blessing of god. Rituals are preformed without noise and the meat of prey is given in worship to the gods. They also admire the god of fire. Every 23rd day of the last lunar month, they will worship him after sunset.

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