Changes in the Orogen's way of life


The Orogen is a people of Tungus stock living in the northeast of China and southeast Siberia. Traditionally they were nomad hunters, their name means in their language "people of the reindeer", or "people of the mountain" according to other sources.

The origin of the Orogen is not yet clear. "Some scholars say that they rooted from the north Shiwei nation, others think that they originated from the Nuzhen.

They lived a nomad hunting life until the foundation of PRC. In this time they were only 2.000 people. From this time, their population increased until the 8,196 that were reported in year 2000 National Census.

In 1951 the Oroqen Autonomous Banner was established in the northeast of Inner Mongolia. After then their life changed.

Orogen Autonomous County, situated in the East Side of the Daxing'an Mountains, has a total area of 54,657 sq km and a population of 297,400. Of them only 2,100 are Oroqen; a positive discrimination on their favor, as they have the political representation in the National People Congress and National Committee of the Chinese People Political Consultative Conference.

They are mainly distributed in Nuoming, Wulubutie, Guli Townshiop and Tuozaming Village.

In 1958 there were no nomad Oroqen. They still made some hunting expeditions, but the decrease of the game in the 1990s put an end to the traditional way of life of the Oroqen.

In 1996 the Oroqen Autonomous County government banned the hunt of wild animals in order to protect animals in severe danger. Now the Oroqen live mainly on the agriculture. With some of them employed in forest protection, deer breed, husbandry, and tourism.

Some of them still preserve the pillar to the immortals near their house.

The Oroqen language belongs to the Tungus branch, Man-Tungus group of the Altaic family of languages. Nowadays most of the Orogen are bilingual with Chinese local dialects.

To know more:

- Oroqen. Nationalities Press. Beijing. 2001
Du Ruofu and Vincent F. Yip.- Ethnic Groups of China. Science Press.1993

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