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Step into Evenki village to discover the reindeer herders

09-14-2011 11:06 BJT

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Living in the mountainous regions in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, there is a tribe of people who believe in the power of nature.

Their lives are closely associated with reindeers, which serve as their only means of transportation. They are the Evenkis, meaning people living in mountainous forests. Today let's step into an Evenki village, to discover more about their stories and their myths...

Cradled in the most northeast part of Inner Mongolia, Aoluguya is possibly the coldest village in the country. There dwell a tiny group of mysterious people who call themselves Shilu Evenkis, which means the reindeer breeders of the Evenks. For hundreds of years they have only been known as successful reindeer herders, outstanding forest hunters, and shaman believers.

The Shilu Evenkis regard the reindeers as their best companions and an inseparable part of their life, customs, art, and religion. The reindeers adapt to the cold weather very well. Their favorite foods include mushrooms and mosses.

As animal worshipers, the Evenki people feel most free to express themselves by imitating animals. Family members and friends in the neighborhoods often get together for bonfire parties, performing crane, and reindeer in dancing, as well as singing. The Shaman dance, a Chinese national-level intangible cultural heritage, is also prominently featured.

Usually the singing is led by a senior family member, who improvises lyrics and verses according to the party atmosphere.

The Evenki tribe of today still struggles to hold onto their homeland and all the traditions. They have no written characters, so their language is handed down orally through the generations.

In recent years, elementary and middle schools have been established to teach the local children how to read and write. And the first batch of textbooks on the Evenki language will be published soon to cater to the locals' needs.



Editor:Liu Fang |Source: CNTV.CN

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