Orok - Economy



The main occupations of the Orok were fishing and forest- and marine-mammal hunting, which provided them their basic foods; they used the furs and skins of the animals and fish for clothing and footwear. They exchanged the products of fur hunting for cloth, metallic instruments, and agricultural products.

The Southern Orok have abandoned their characteristic reindeer herding. Contacts with neighbors—the Nivkh and Ainu, as well as the Ul'cha and Nanai families that came over to Sakhalin from the mainland—and not infrequent jaunts to the Amur area were evident in all spheres of Orok culture. Reverse influences, however, are also noted.

Equipment similar to that of the Ul'cha and Nanai was employed in hunting and fishing: nets, harpoons, bows, spears, and snares. Hollowed-out boats were of the Nivkh type. In general, the material culture of the Orok had a characteristic lower-Amur appearance: they used Amur-specific boots of the skin of fish and sea mammals, men's frocks of freshwater seal (Russian: nerpa ) fur, "left-flap" robes, and so forth. The terminology that predominated was similar to that of the Ul'cha.

The Orok were distiguished from all other peoples of the lower Amur and Sakhalin by the practice of reindeer breeding for transport: they used reindeer under packs or saddles and they harnessed them to sleds. The system of reindeer herding and many objects associated with this branch of the economy (for example, the construction of the sled) had no analogy among other reindeer-herding peoples of Siberia and the North. The same can be said about their summer dwellings. Alongside the conical dwelling—a type of Evenki tent, but covered with fish skin—the Orok used conical lean-tos with two sloping sides.

Among the Southern Orok, the types of dwellings were not distinct. This group used dogs for transport and sleds of the Amur type.


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