Brief Introduction of Ewenki Ethnic Group

The folks who domesticate and use reindeers

The Ewenki ethnic group is one of the minority groups in China, with a population of 26,315 at present. They reside collectively in the Ewenki autonomous district, Hulunbei’er city of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Other habitats include Chenba’erhu District, Erguna Zuo district, Molidawa District , Arong District, Zhalantun City, and Nehe County in Hei Long Jiang province. They usually reside in those sites together with Mongol ethnic minority group, Daur ethnic minority group, Han ethnic group and Oroqen ethnic minority group.

The inhabited areas of Ewenki ethnic group locate in the hilly land area of a branch range of Da Xing’an Mountains. There are immense grasslands, dense virgin forests and innumerous rivers and lakes. People are provided with abundant natural resources as well as the scenic splendor. However, due to the diversity of natural situation, the Ewenki living in different areas lead different lives. Those who inhabit in the Ewenki autonomous district and the Chenba’erhu district lead a stockbreeding life; those who inhabit in Nehe County lead an agricultural life; those who inhabit in Molidawa District, Arong District and Zhalantun City live half on agriculture and half on hunting; and those who inhabit in the Ewenki village of Aoluguya in Erguna Zuo District lead a traditional life of hunting. Since reindeer is used in hunting, they are often referred to as ‘the reindeer-using Ewenki’.

‘Ewenki’ is the name used by the ethnic group themselves, meaning ‘folks living in mountain forests’. In the past, the Ewenki were named respectively as ‘Suolun’, ‘Tonggusi’ and ‘Yakute’, etc., because they live separately. In 1957, the joint name ‘Ewenki’ emerged according to the Ewenki people’s will.

Most of the Ewenki believe in Shamanistic religion, and the inhabitants in pasturing areas have faith in Tibetan Buddhism.

The Ewenki have their own language, which belong to the tunggns language division of tunggns language stocks, in the Altaic linguistic family. There are three dialects — River Hui and Yimin (Buteha), River Moerge (Chenbaerhu) and Aoluguya (Erguna). Mongolian is the language generally used in pasturing areas, and Chinese is the language generally used in agricultural and mountainous areas.