Orok - Kinship and Sociopolitical Organization



The clan makeup of the Orok was special: only one of the twelve clans was related to the Ul'cha; the remainder were autochthonous and not close to any other group.

The Orok are divided into several communities, each one uniting a number of small families. Each of the Northern groups nomadized during the winter along several closely spaced mountain rivers and engaged in forest hunting; during the summer (three to four months), all the Orok frequented one and the same bay, year after year, while nearby, members of the community pastured the reindeer and simultaneously worked the rivers and sea. In each such group there were related and unrelated families; mutual aid was characteristic among both, and intermarriage was allowed if the rule of exogamy were observed. As among the peoples of the Amur related to them, the custom existed of forming conjugal unions between different clans, including between Nivkh and Ul'cha and between Southern Orok and Ainu. Reindeer entered into the bride-price of the Northern Orok, whereas clothing and equipment constituted the dowry. The bride was brought on a reindeer sled.

As a whole, the Northern Orok were poor. In 1925 there were 1,011 reindeer among forty-six families; some families were reindeerless, and many had fewer than five head. The wealthiest possessors of reindeer exercised strong influence over the community. The power of elders was great in resolving conflicts, regardless of their material standing.


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