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The Ewenke

In China, the Ewenke constitute a nationality (in Chinese: zu) that numbers 27,000 individuals (1990 census), divided into three groups, named Solon, Khamnigan and Reindeer Tungus of Manchuria. They live in different parts of the Hulun-Buir plateau in the eastern part of the Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia.
Of the three groups that make up the Ewenke nationality, the Solon are not only by far the most numerous (25,000 in 1990), but also the only native group. The Reindeer Tungus arrived in the region at the start of the 19th century. The Khamnigan, for their part, left Russia after the Revolution, crossing the border in 1918 and settling in the Hulun-Buir region.
The Solon and the Khamnigan traditionally breed big livestock, but they also practice agriculture and various crafts. It is essentially this way of life that distinguishes them from the Elunchun, a set of small groups earning their livelihood from hunting. Although the Reindeer Tungus of Manchuria also hunt, they have been clearly described as herders. The reason for this lies perhaps in their disagreements with their Elunchun neighbors: the Kumarchen, on the one hand, and the Oronchon (Tungus of the Khingan), on the other.
Although most of the Tungus peoples designate themselves as Evenk, its Chinese form did not appear until the 1950s, with the officialization of the nationality that now bears this name. To designate the Evenk of Russia, the Chinese usually employ another transcription: Aiwenji.

Check the following table(s) for further information

Terms in use for various Evenk groups : China (Ewenke)

Terms in use for various Evenk groups : China (Elunchun)

Author(s): Li Ping-Tsung
Date created: 2003-09-09 - Date modified: 2004-04-14

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