Ewenki - Orientation

Identification. The Ewenki are one of the fifty-five officially recognized minority nationalities of the People's Republic of China. Also known as "Tungus," "Yakut," and "Sulun," they are mainly found in the Ewenki Autonomous Banner, Chen Barag Banner, Butha Banner, Arun Banner, Ergun Left Banner, Morin Dawa Daur Autonomous Banner, etc. of the Hulun Buir League in the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, and in Nahe County of Heilongjiang Province. The description below focuses on the traditional way of life, as changes since 1949 have been major.

Location. Most of their territory is in the forest and on the grassland on the western slope of the Greater Hinggan Mountains, an area also inhabited by Mongols, Daur, Han, and Oroqen. Under the influence of the Siberian winds, the climate is severe, with a long snowy winter and virtually no summer.

Demography. The Ewenki population, according to the 1990 census, is 26,315.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Ewenki language, comprising three dialects, belongs to the Tungus Branch of the Manchu-Tungus Family of Altaic languages. It has no script. Nomadic Ewenki also speak and write in the Mongolian language, while farming Ewenki and those living near the mountains also speak and write in Han Chinese.

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