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The last reindeer herders in China: Ewenki people in Auluguya

By Shan Xin  (People's Daily Online)    17:39, July 27, 2017

(The Ewenkis is showing tourists the reindeer)

Auluguya’s Ewenki people attended the Ninth Traditional Games of Ethnic Minorities in Inner Mongolia. When they showed up with their reindeers, the crowd went wild, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Most of the Ewenki people lived a nomadic lifestyle before they moved to Genhe in 2003, about 100 kilometers away from China’s “North Pole” in Mohe County.

Because they herd reindeers, Ewenki people don't have a fixed address. They usually make simple tents with pine wood, which they call "Zuoluozi.” The umbrella-shaped surface of Zuoluozi is made from birch bark in the summer months and deerskin in the winter months.

There are only 308 Ewenki hunters in China, with about 1,200 reindeers. Reindeers used to be the only means of transport for the Ewenki people and are called “forest boats.”


“The reindeer is my closest partner as well as the spirit of the forest,” said Gu Gejun, a traditional Ewenki hunter. In recent years, Gu and others like him have been encouraged to live on tourism instead of hunting.

“We are making souvenirs based on our reindeer culture,” said Gu. The handicrafts made of birch bark or reindeer antlers attract a lot of tourists. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Shan Xin, Bianji)

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