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The encampment, ukirit
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The camp is regarded as a domesticated zone and therefore separate from the rest of the forest. It is always set up at the intersection of several trails leading to hunting zones as well as to the neighbors. Choice of the campsite is a delicate problem: ìHumans do alright anywhere, the Evenk say, but for the reindeer, itís hard to find a good spotî. Here are the principal requirements of a good campsite: the ground must be dry and the spot have a microclimate suitable for reindeer. There must be a river and appropriate pasture close by, since reindeer have their favorite grasses for each time of year. The path of the sun must be taken into consideration because the camp must lie in the shadow of the mountains in summer and be sheltered from the winds in winter, and the snow must not be too deep. Lastly, the hunting possibilities in the vicinity must be considered according to the season.
An encampment has several tents, each of which stands at the center of a fairly large area organized in concentric circles. Around each tent, the food reserves are set up on small mounds directly on the ground or on log structures delken. Around these reserves is a fairly wide zone that enables the inhabitants of the tent to circulate, sit, set their tripod on the campfire and carry out their various tasks. The surrounding trees are used to hang objects or animal remains. Neutral, ìunclaimedî spaces separate the different tent sites.
A camp does not belong to anyone, and everyone is free to pitch his tent there. Alternatively, any spot marked by the footprint of a tent together with the small perimeter around it remains the exclusive property of the person who first camped there. In principle no one else, not even a consanguine, can pitch his tent in this spot without express permission. Therefore every newcomer to a camp must find a fresh spot to set up his tent.
In winter, spring and fall, a reindeer coral kure is set up in the middle of the camp. In summer this is generally limited to reserving a place to set up the smoking fires samgnin. But it also happens in the summer camp that a log enclosure is built and covered with larch boughs: this is called a kaltama.
Three constructions are located at a short distance, between the camp and the forest:
ñ One or several raised larders of various types, noku, lolbo, sajba, which hold the summer things in winter and the winter things in summer, as well as food stores. Their elevated position is meant to keep them out of the reach of bears.
ñ A small raised platform, delken or gulik where the remains of hunted animals are placed: sable, moose, wild reindeer.
ñ a box made of logs and set on four long legs: the grave of a bear (but not every camp has one).
Whoever comes close enough to a camp to be seen must dismount and continue on foot towards the tents.

Author(s): A. Lavrillier
Date created: 2003-09-09 - Date modified: 2004-04-14


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Evenk camp in summer

A child's <i>ikenipke</i>

Raised larder

A <i>gulik</i> (raised funerary plateform) for bears


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