The Foundation for Nature Research and Cultural Heritage Research (NINA-NIKU)

Contact: Ole Grøn <>

Project proposal:
The Evenks: Development and implementation of a model for solution of a complex set of problems affecting an aboriginal population in the Northern Transbaykal, Siberia.
Date: April 1999

The change from communism to a market economy has had a marked impact on the Evenkian reindeer-hunters in the Northern Transbaykal. The very conservative Evenks are among the few remaining groups of northern forest hunters. In some ways the quality of their lives has improved, but the new economic situation also represents a threat, e.g. because of increasing mining activities in their traditional hunting grounds. Fieldwork in 1997 and 1998 showed that a reasonable solution must be based on interdisciplinary work involving ethnography, archaeology, ecology, wildlife studies and geology. A five-year project is proposed.

Objectives: 1) To document past and present ideological, material and behavioural aspects of Evenkian culture, especially as these shape their role in the ecology of their homeland; 2) based on this, to contribute to the development of an appropriate administrative system for the area, and to an appropriate land and wildlife management system, and thereby to support Evenks in their endeavours to sustain their culture.

The project has been developed during the period 1995-1998 through field studies and interdisciplinary collaboration between NINA-NIKU, and several research, cultural and administrative institutions in the Transbaykal Region, mainly the Center for Cultural Anthropology and Ecology of the Transbaykal Natives in Chita (Russian project leader: Dr. Oleg Kuznetsov). Representatives of the local Evenk community have been involved in developing the project and support the studies. Besides funding from NINA-NIKU, the project will apply for additional funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Research Council.

Update 29-11-2001