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General Facts on the Evenk

appellations | geography/administration | language | demography | ethnological history | social organization | religion | life cycle | body | material culture

APPELLATIONSFurther details
A1 Usual anthropological designation Evenk
A2 Other names and spellings used Evenk, Tungus, Evengkil, Evenki, Elunchun, Ewenke
A3 Self-designation Evengkil
A4 Official name in countries of residence Evenki (Russian Federation), Elunchun (China), Ewenke (China)
A5 Human being (indigenous designation) BËjË (pl. bËjËl)
A6 Man (indigenous designation) Evengki
A7 Woman (indigenous designation) Evengki ahi

B1 Countries of residence Russian Federation, ChinaPresent-day juridical situation
The Ewenke
B2 Continent/Areas Asia
B3 Localisation in these countries Russia: Siberia
B4 Main towns inhabited Yakutsk, KrasnoÔarskVillage and town Evenk
B5 Climate Continental periarctic
B6 Biogeographical landscape Paleoarctic boreal forest (taiga)
B7 Official ethnic regions Evenki national okrug (Russian Federation),
Ewenke autonomous banner (China)
B8 Status of ethnic group Russia : "Small-size Northern People"
China : People
The notion of narod in Russia
The notion of minority nationality in China
B9 Civil status of the individual Russia : full citizenship
China : full citizenship
Present-day juridical situation
B10 Representation in state institutions No
B11 State protection of culture None
B12 Endemic diseases Tuberculosis (recent restart in some regions)
B13 Compulsory medical examination and/or vaccination Yes : both are free of charges
B14 Cultural and political associations Russia : yes
B15 International representation Russia : Participant of WGIP
B16 International programs targeting this population (aid, cultural revival etc.)
B17 Diasporas None

LANGUAGEFurther details
C1 Language name EvenkiThe Evenk language
C2 Linguistic group AltaÔc/ Tungus-Manchu branch / Northern tungus group
C3 Official standard dialect/language Russia : KrasnoÔarsk (1952)
China :
C4 Writing used (contemporary) Russia : Cyrillic (1937)
China : Latin
C5 Writing used (in history) none
C6 UNESCO status of language Endangered
Other websites
Endangered languages in Northeast Asia: report
C7 Number of native speakers of their own language Russia : 10 000 (1989)
China :
C8 Percentage of native speakers of their own language Russia : 30,3% (1989)
C9 Number of indigenous people who learned their own language later in life
C10 Percentage of indigenous people who learned their own language later in life
C11 Predominant language in use Russian (Russian Federation), Chinese (China)
C12 Ratio of people literate in own language 10 to 15%
C13 Education in own language none
C14 Language courses in teaching institutions Primary and secundary schools and university (Russia)
C15 Medias in own language Russia : written & audiovisual
China :
C16 Own contemporary literature (in own language) Russia : written, oral, sung
C17 Own contemporary literature (in other language) Russia : Russian (written, oral, sung)

DEMOGRAPHYFurther details
D1 Reference of census used

Other websites
Demoscope Russia
D2 Population 29900 (1995, Russian Federation), 35 000 (China)
D3 Rough population density (persons/km2)
D4 Birth rate
D5 Mortality rate
D6 Growth rate
D7 Life expectancy
D8 Fertility
D9 Percentage of native population in residential areas
D10 Literacy rate

E1 First European contact Russian (1581-1583)
E2 First western ethnographic description Russia : 17th century (Adam Kamenskij-Dluzhik)
E3 First other ethnographic description
E4 First major ethnographic collection Russia : beginning of the 19th, Russian Geographical Society
E5 Date of establishment of a permanent administration 17th century (Russia)
E6 Date of compulsory schooling
E7 Date of independence or autonomy from colonial power

F1 Main subdivisions in society Rural : in theTaÔga (30% to 80% depending on the areas), Urban : in the towns, since the 1950'sVillage and town Evenk
F2 Seasonal variations in social morphology Winter dispersal, summer gathering ("traditional"/taÔga)Summer, autumn : activity calendar.
Winter, springs : activity calendar
F3 Residential mobility type TaÔga : High frequency long distance full nomadism;
Urban and urbanised areas : sedentary lifestyle
Trails, transport, distances: nomadism
F4 Basic dwelling unit Nuclear familyThe encampment, ukirit
F5 Basic production unit Nomadic group (1 to 3 or more related nuclear families)Hunting techniques
Winter, springs : activity calendar
Summer, autumn : activity calendar.
F6 Basic consumption unit Nuclear familyModes of sharing
F7 Basic appropriation unit Individual (domesticated reindeers and tools)Social organization and kinship
F8 Land ownership None
F9 Kinship terminology type IroquoisSocial organization and kinship
F10 Descent rule PatrilinealSocial organization and kinship
F11 Genealogical memory (in number of generations) 3 to 4 generations (formely 5 or 6)Social organization and kinship
F12 Marriage rule Direct exchange (preferenial). Indirect exchange (alternative)Social organization and kinship
F13 Exogamous unit Clan, evolution toward lineage exogamySocial organization and kinship
F14 Relative status of marriage partners Homogamy
F15 Extension of marriage prohibition 4 to 5 generations patrilineal (theoretical); 2 to 3 generations matrilineal (at nearest)
F16 Polygamy Exceptional levirate polygyny
F17 Residence type after marriage Neolocal ideal; uxorilocal primoresidence, virilocal residence
F18 Relation between descent and residence Harmonic, but closeness to allies required
F19 Pre-marital formal agreement between marriage partners (betrothal) Yes
F20 Marriage arrangements Fully equivalent
F21 Kinship degree or category of contribution to marriage arrangement Bilateral : lineages and clans of the spouses up to G-2; also some allied individuals
F22 Divorce - spouse separation Possible (both sides); increased frequency in the 30 to 40 generation
F23 Social sanction of adultery
F24 Social stratification None
F25 Relevance of age for social status Major; personal seniority prevalent on lineage seniority
F26 Specialists for ritual only
F27 Political leadership Chiefless
F28 Political unit Clan (contemporarily pertinent in Evenki affairs only)
F29 Solidarity unit in armed conflict Non pertinent in modern times
F30 Morality and law agencies Elders, clan

RELIGIONFurther details
G1 Main religious system ShamanismWinter, springs : activity calendar
Ritual identification of the shaman with a large deer
G2 Religious organizations or institutions In rural or urbanised areas: none
In urban areas: neo-shamanic associations
G3 New or emerging religious systems Baptists and bahaiai missionaries present in towns
G4 Other religious influences in the past Orthodox Christianity, Buddhism in some regions
G5 Seasonal rituals spring (ikËnipkË) and automn (sinkelavun)The ikenipke ritual
"Reindeer-herders' day", uktevun
G6 Main other yearly rituals None
G7 Other than yearly rituals (cyclical or periodical) None
G8 Types of ritualists (religious specialists) Shaman; elder; healer; deviner
G9 Mode of access to ritual functions and responsibilities Shaman : inherited right sanctioned by local groupThe shaman's costume
G10 Specific costume for ritualists (specify) YesThe shaman's costume
G11 Required items for ritual actions drum and costumeThe shaman's drum
The beater
G12 Musical instruments played during religious rituals drumThe shaman's drum
The beater
G13 Types of singing performance in religious rituals Song responsorial round dancesSongs
G14 Types of dance performance in religious rituals Song responsorial round dances
G15 Type of places for religious rituals Transitory; domestic and natural (unbuilt) places

LIFE CYCLEFurther details
H1 Type of ritual prescription for the mother, at birth
H2 Ritual prescription for the father, at birth
H3 Ritualized treatments of the new-born
H4 Ritualized treatment of the remains at birth (after-birth)
H5 Delivery place Russian hospital
H6 Puberty initiation (male) none
H7 Puberty initiation (female) none
H8 Ritual expressions of wedding Reciprocal offering of rings; offering of a fire from the woman's mother to her daughter, who feeds it.
H9 Average age at marriage (male) 17-25 years old
H10 Average age at marriage (female) 15-17 years old
H11 Rites of passage between age classes none
H12 Funeral body disposal Funeral rites
H13 Funeral body position feet pointing toward eastFuneral rites

BODYFurther details
I1 Regular body treatment Physical exercices (ex : stone lifting (men))
I2 Usual resting/sitting position TaÔga : half-kneeling
Towns, Urban : on chairs, European-like
I3 Delivery position Half-sitting (russian biomedecine type); formely and rarely, supported crouching
I4 Permanent bodily alterations Russian style hand tattoo (men), face tattoos in some northern groups
I5 Homosexuality Both types fully prohibited
I6 Pre-marital sexuality (male) Fully allowed
I7 Pre-marital sexuality (female) Fully allowed (formely, proof of fertility valorized for marriage)

J1 Subsistence type TaÔga : Diversified hunting and reindeer herding
Towns, Urban : Salaried jobs, gathering products and artisanal artefacts trade
Hunting techniques
Village and town Evenk
J2 Biogeographical landscape Palearctic boreal forest (taiga): PA0601 and allied regions such as PA0605,0606,0609
J3 Rough population density (persons/km2)
J4 Dwelling type TaÔga : Military tents, hide-, bark- or fabric-covered hut-like tents
Towns : wooden 1-story 4-apartments houses
Urban : apartments
Habitat, dju
J5 Staple food Meat (reindeer)
J6 Gender specialisation of tasks Full (but mastery of the other gender's techniques highly valorized)
J7 Monetary or other exchange system/material Furs; livestock (reindeer); roubles and dollars
J8 Mutually exclusive exhange spheres Yes : General goods and monetary exchange and (game) meat exchangeModes of sharing
J9 Means of transportation Reindeer (riding and sleigh)
Trails, transport, distances: nomadism
J10 Emblematic cultural item for general market None particularly notable
J11 Vital imports Salt, starchy food, tea, medecines, clothes...
J12 Specialisation in interethnic relations Fur trappers, sewing work (chapka, gloves, boots)Metis objects
J13 Principal types of musical instruments Jews' harp and drums (ritual); horn (hunt)Music instruments
The shaman's drum
J14 Main type of dance performance Collective, sung, antiphonic, improvised circle dances
J15 Cultural representations for general public Folkloric dances, on stageThe notion of narod in Russia