Notes on Blood Revenge among the Reindeer Evenki of Manchuria (Northeast China)

Type de publication  Journal Article
Auteur(s)  Georg, H.F.
Volume  66
Titre de la revue  Asian folklore studies
Année  2007
Pages  165-178
Mots-clés  Social-structure; Legal-norm; Vendetta-; Manchuria-; Shaman-woman; Evenk-; Northeast-; China-; Eastern-Asia; Reindeer-breeder; Political-change; Ritual-; History-

Of the approximately two hundred Reindeer Evenki still remaining today in the People's Republic of China about thirty individuals insist on continuing their traditional lifestyle as nomadic hunters and reindeer breeders in their homeland, an area in the northern Great Hinggan mountains. The rapid decay of their age-old Tungusic forest culture began in 2003, when the small ethnic group and its reindeer were forced under administrative pressure to resettle about two hundred and fifty kilometers further south in the outskirts of Genhe City. With their resettlement the Manchurian Reindeer Evenki have arrived at the end of a long trail that began when their ancestors, coming from Siberia, crossed the Amur around 1825. Despite the many political changes that had occurred in Manchuria, they were able to live as free nomads up to the 1950s in the almost untouched wilderness of the Great Amur Bend. There they preserved their worldview, their shamanism, and also their ancient social norms almost without change. The ritual rules of blood revenge described in this article, too, represent an original relic of the traditional juridical norms related to their clan system. The events described, which happened more than fifty years ago, document for the first time these rituals. Among contemporary Reindeer Evenki they still represent a regrettable period in their historical experience.