The Ewenki Nationality

Name: Ewenki, Tungus

Population: 30,200

Localization: Heilongjiang Province in China, also in Russia.

"Known as the last hunting tribe of China, Ewenki people had lived of hunting and raising reindeer deep in the Greater Hingan Mountain for generations"- China Ethnic Groups

Introductory Articles

Twilight of China's Ewenki: "The last quarter of the Moon"

The Last Quarter of the Moon (额尔古纳河右岸) by Chi Zijian is a first-person narrative told from the point of view of an aging Evenki woman in the last decade of the 20th century. She chooses to stay behind when her tribe abandons the forested mountains of Northeast China for "civilized" life among town dwellers. 

“The Last Quarter of the Moon”: Evenki Place Names behind the Hànzì

Chi Zijian’s Last Quarter of the Moon (额尔古纳河右岸, aka Right Bank of the Argun), a novel about how the Evenki have abandoned their shirangju (teepees) in the Greater Khingan Mountain Range (大兴安岭) for permanent housing nearer urban centers since the 1990s, features a large amount of place names that needed to be rendered into a readable form for English-language readers.

Intriguingly, the Evenki narrator cites a handful of the names her people have given to the mountains, rivers and villages that they encounter again and again as they hunt, fish and herd their reindeer in the taiga.

Some etnographical information in the novel "The last Quarter of the Moon"

According to established practice, a new Shaman’s initiation should take place at the urireng of the former Shaman. But Nihau was pregnant again, and Luni was worried that it would be hard for her to travel to Nidu the Shaman’s old urireng, so Ivan invited a Shaman from another clan to come and preside over the Initiation Rite.

Scholars Researches available in the Web

David G. Anderson.- Mobile Architecture and Social Life: The Case of the Conical Skin Lodge in the Putoran Plateau Region

It is difficult if not impossible to understand the architecture of the conical skin lodge without understanding how hunters and herders in this region moved across the land and literally made homes for themselves in this landscape.

Susan Grimaldi and Kun Shi.- Good News regarding the Tungus shaman in Northern China: Field notes from Changchun and Wulajie in Jilin, China. May 2006. Shamanism, vol 19. n.2

F. Georg Heyne.- The Social Significance of the Shaman among the Chinese Reindeer-Evenki

Today, approximately 200 Reindeer-Evenki live in the Greater Khingan Range of northeast
China (Manchuria). Their ancestors, who around the end of the 1820s migrated from Siberia, already were nominally Russian Orthodox Christians before their immigration. Nevertheless, up to this date shamans have been playing an important role in religion and particularly in society.

Frederik Kortlandt.- Are Mongolian and Tungus geneticalle related?

It seems to me that the semantic distribution of these words points to genetic relationship rather than borrowing. In particular, the relatively large number of verbs is difficult to explain under the assumption of borrowing.

Lynda D. McNeil.- Recurrence of Bear Restoration Symbolism: Minusinsk Basin Evenki and Basin-Plateau Ute. Journal of Cognition and Culture 8 (2008) 71–98

This paper compares adaptive strategies of two groups of hunter-gatherers colonizing marginal environments, one in Southern Siberia (Minusinsk Basin) and the other in North America (Great Basin and Colorado Plateau). The biological and cultural survival of Southern Siberian (Evenki) and Basin-Plateau (Numic) hunter-gatherers depended upon developing a complex of social and symbolic strategies.

L. D. McNeil.- Seasonal Revival Rites and Rock art of Minusink basin colonisers (Southern Siberia). Rock Art Research 2005 - Volume 22, Number 1, pp. 3-16.

According to ethnographic accounts (etic) and ancient oral traditions (emic), Tungusic-Manchu speaking (proto) Evenki colonised southern Siberia from the Ob and Yenisey River in the west to the Okhotsk Sea in the east. Made up of numerous small groups (bands), these Evenki adopted
clan names, often related to their territorial rivers.

Richard Noll and Kun Shi. Chuonnasuan (Meng Jin Fu) The Last Shaman of the Oroqen of Northeast China. Journal of Korean Religions, 2004, 6:135-162

Chuonnasuan was born in 1927 near the Huma River among the Kumarchen Oroqen. His mokun or clan was the Manyagir. As is often the case in Siberian shamanism, Oroqen shamanism is based on hereditary transmission. Chuonnasuan’s grandfather and his paternal uncle, the older brother of his father, Minchisuan, were both powerful shamans. We were told that this uncle was so powerful that he cured two cases of TB and that “he could use a spirit to kill a pig.”

Menges, Karl H.- Some Tungus Etymologies.

Tatiana Safonova, István Sántha.- Companionship among the Evenki of Eastern Buryatia: a study of flexible and stable cultural elements. Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Working Papers

During fieldwork among the Evenki of Eastern Buryatia, we experienced many situations of instability, characterised by ever changing mood and absence of commitments. We use the concept of a self-corrective system taken from Gregory Bateson to analyse the flexibility of the Evenki culture.

Shirokogorov, S. M..- Tungus Literary Language.

Anna A. Sirina..- Katanga Evenki in the 20th century and the ordering of their life world

Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov.- Mothering Tradition: gender and governance among Siberian Evenki.

In this paper, I explore the re-invention of ideas about the traditional place of women in a Siberian society as they were culturally produced in the context of the Soviet/Russian indigenous governance. I examine two governance frameworks: the one of 'political economy' of the early- Soviet period, and the other of the late-Soviet 'theory of ethnos'.

Books about the Ewenki

Bibliography about the Ewenki

The Tungus who met Count De Benyowsky in 18th century Siberia: Though Judoma is composed only of six wretched houses, the place is well known, because it is the rendezvous of several Tunguse nations.

Last Quarter of the Moon: Evenki Odyssey Captured in Chinese Novel Set in the Greater Khingan Mountains:

Narrated in the first person by the aged wife of the last chieftain of an Evenki clan, the Right Bank of the Argun—as it is dubbed in Chinese—is a moving tale of the decline of reindeer-herding nomads in the sparsely populated, richly forested mountains that border on Russia.

Some Ewenki folktales in the Web

The Loyal Old Servant: Long, long ago there lived a very rich and powerful nobleman named Batu. At the age of fifty, Batu still did not have a child.

The Wonderful Treasure Horse: In a far away valley, an old hunter--a widower--lived alone in a secluded hut with his beautiful daughter, Dingzhen. Besides his very modest hut, the old hunter owned a wonderful treasure horse and a magic comb.

Photo Exhibitions

Ethnic China photo exhibitions
More Photo exhibitions


Ewenki Nationality music
A guide to download their music

Films and Video

Documentary Films about the Ewenki

Aoluguya... Aoluguya: the last Ewenkis in China wilderness: In the Greater Xing' an Mountain of northern China, there is a group of people who share their lives with the reindeer. The Ewenki people came from Siberia over three hundred years ago.

Available dvds and vcds about the Ewenki
Image of the the Ewenki in the cinema

Art and Handicrafts

The Ewenki in the art
Art Exhibitions


Travel to Ewenki lands

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