Explorers have always preferred Tungus guides (Behring, Georgi, Gmelin, Adler, Middendorf, Maak, Ostrovskij, Kropotkin and many others), as Vasilevich (1969: 1983) stresses. We have an example with V.K. Arseníevís famous account, Dersu Uzuala (1907) which was the basis of Kurosawaís 1975 movie.Author(s): A. Lavrillier / Li Ping-Tsung
It fact it was Tungus, and more precisely Evenk, guides who drew the first maps of Siberia on pieces of birch bark for Russian geographers. It was thanks to these men not only that the geographers were able to travel without getting lost but that they had a matrix for their own maps.
All Russian explorers say that, of all the peoples of Siberia, the Tungus have the best knowledge of the hydrographic system, not only in the territories they are familiar with, but also of those territories in which they have never traveled.
Today, just as they do for their times tables, children of Evenk nomads still memorize the river systems of their own and neighboring regions, even those several thousands of kilometers away.
Most of the place names of eastern Siberia derive from Manchu-Tungus languages, either by their root or by their suffix (Popova 1981: 37).
Date created: 2003-06-30 - Date modified: 2004-04-14