The Evenks of the Lower Irtysh valley: a small community on the periphery of the ethnic area

Adaev V.N. (Tyumen, Russian Federation)


                      page 100109


The paper presents the first compilationof information on the history and culture of the Evenks of the Lower Irtysh valley. Comparison of different information sources allowed to argue on reasonable grounds that several Evenk family groups named Likhachev and consist of 2030 individuals migrated from Turukhansky Krai to the Demyanka-river and Turtas-river valleys in the last decades of the 19th century. The migration was caused by the need of finding unoccupied hunting grounds. The migrants were initially characterized by well-preserved traditional culture, they led a nomadic existence and relied primarily on transport reindeer herding and hunting. The easy penetration of this community into the territory, which was already populated by other Siberian ethnic groups, was due to their occupation of vacant areas of watershed swamps. Being small-numbered the Evenk migrants were compelled to look for marriage partners among neighboring ethnic groups from the very beginning of their relocation. By the end of the 20th century, they lost their language and almost all of their traditional ethnic characteristics. However, their ethnic identity persisted, due to a specific set of strong cultural boundaries, the composition of which have been evolved over time.


Key words: Western Siberia, ethnic identity, cultural boundaries, migration, nomads, taiga reindeer husbandry.


DOI: 10.20874/2071-0437-2017-36-1-100-109




V.N. Adaev

Institute of Problems of Development of the North, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Malygin st., 86, Tyumen, 625003, Russian Federation