ISSN 2227-2380 (Print)

List of issues > «Geoarchaeology, Ethnology, and Anthropology Series». 2017. Vol. 21

Deer Farming of Evenks of Buryatia: History and Modernity

O. V. Buraeva
The economic activities of the Evenks were wholly connected with the habitat, with the taiga, and had a hunting-fishing type. Due to the presence of huge free territories, the Evenks had the opportunity to develop significant hunting grounds, reindeer pastures on which they engaged in hunting and reindeer husbandry. Deer farming played a significant role for Evenk-Orochons in the recent past. The deer helped the hunter in the fishery and was useful in everyday life. Over the centuries using deer in production activities and in everyday life, the Evenks have developed the necessary skills of handling this animal, in its preservation and reproduction. The article considers the history of the development of deer farming of Evenks of Buryatia on a large period (19–21st centuries), its role and importance in the commercial life of the Evenks-Orochons, mountain Tungus. The study of the development of deer farming in Buryatia has revealed a number of stages of the crisis state, conditioned both by objective and subjective factors. The first stage of the crisis of the traditional economy is connected with the epidemic of anthrax that struck the herds of deer in the late 19th – early 20th century. The second stage of the crisis of reindeer husbandry and hunting is connected with organizational measures that began during the period of collectivization (1930–1970s). The formation of collective farms deprived the indigenous population of the rights to own hunting grounds and reindeer pastures. Further destruction of reindeer husbandry was associated with the recognition of its low efficiency in comparison with cattle breeding and the enlargement of rural settlements. The third stage is connected with the exploration and development of minerals, the construction of the Baikal-Amur Mainline, and the expansion of the industrial development of this region. The article analyzes the successes, problems faced by reindeer herders in different periods of history. The author traces how the structure of economy of the Evenks was changing from the tribal community to the elementary production units, collective farms, state farms, “gospromkhoz”, family-tribal communities. Today deer farming is important not only as the basis of the Evenks survival, but also creates the scope of application of historically established labor skills of the indigenous population of the region. The preservation of reindeer herding is the basis of preservation of small ethnic group – the Evenks.
Buryatia, Evenks, Orochons, Mountain Tunguses, deer farming

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