Oroqen - Economy

The Oroqen were hunters who also engaged in some fishing and collecting. Hunting dogs were indispensable. Sturdy and large-hoofed horses obtained from the Manchus and Mongols were the principal transport and source of hunting mobility. Use of shotguns enhanced their hunting activities and later led to their excellent marksmanship. They hunted throughout the year, with different purposes in different seasons: in May and June for antlers, in September for venison and male organs of the deer, and after snowfall for furs.

Collective hunting was normally organized within traditional regional communes called wulilengs. Hunting groups of three to five hunters, called anag, were formed under the leadership of a tatanda, who was usually the most senior member in the group, with rich hunting experience. Meat was divided equally among the participating hunters with portions reserved for the aged, sick, and disabled. The head, internal organs, and bones with little meat were cooked and shared by all wulileng members. Anags were temporary and disbanded at the end of each hunting expedition.

Both genders could hunt and fish, though normally these activities were pursued by men. Young women were trained in tanning, drying meat, collecting, and needlework. The Oroqen are excellent tanners and make handsome leather works. Their embroidery is known for its delicate and exquisite designs. They also make beautiful basins, bowls, boxes, and other containers out of birch bark, with bird, animal, and flower designs. The Oroqen came into contact with the neighboring Daurs, Ewenkis, Mongols, Manchus, and Han quite early. They provided the Qing court with fur, leather, and other forest products as tribute and in return received food grain, cloth, and implements as rewards. Later, their trade with the outside was monopolized by Oroqen officials known as andas. In recent years, under China's social reform and economic development policy, the Oroqen economy has been diversified, agriculture and forest-based industry have changed the previous hunting economy, and the Oroqen are becoming more and more integrated into the regional and national economic system. Cultural changes are profound.

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