Guardian Traditions- in Old Days of Oroqen

Oroqen is one of the 55 minorities groups in China. They locate in the North China and have the least population among all indigenous groups in China. They are foraging for food. Many of them had engaged in the war with Tsarist Russia (Qing Dynasty) and Japan (World War II). After the founding of new China, Reform in Oroqen has also helped optimize rural industrial and employment structures constantly. They transfer their industrial structure from foraging to farming.

The Oroqens, with a population of 8,196, mainly live in the northeast of Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region in Oroqen Autonomous Banner, Zhalantun, Molidawa Banner and Arong Banner and in the Heilongjiang province in Tahe county, Huma county, Xunke county, Jiayin county and Heihe city. They make their homes in the Greater and Lesser Hinggan Mountains, which form the backbone of the Northeast China and the Heilongjiang River Basin. Its name “Oroqen” is called by the nationality itself, which means “reindeer people”.  They have been using birch bark which is a endangered handicraft to make everything in their life. It can use to make boats, containers, and even home. But the daily use crafts are fading into history right now. The major health issues that Oroqens have are Tuberculosis (TB), Keshan disease or endemic cardiomyopathy, Kaschin-Beck, Alcohol related disorders and Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD).

Ethnocentrism is the belief in the superiority of one’s own ethnic group, and one can understand or judge another culture in terms of one’s own. During my observations, I am really surprised that they used to believe in polygamy. Brothers, uncles or even between father and son, wifes can be transferred. I don’t like this since I think they take possessions of women and I feel like it’s disgusting. For cultural relativism, it is the principle that an individual human’s beliefs and activities should be understood in terms of his or her own culture. Oroqens believe in Shaman. Their religious form expresses as nature worship, totem worship, and ancestor worship. Even though, I don’t think that believe in Shaman has made life easier for them. But I respect their beliefs and it truly works for their cultures.

Ethnographic research is the study of people in their own environment through the use of methods such as participant observation and face-to-face interviewing. Its goal is to see people’s behavior on their terms, not ours. Because the research I conducted uses pictures, stories, and videos that from different perspectives to find how Oroqen people lives and their cultures. For example, I as a participant, to observe the Oroqen culture in the video that talks about sports. I watched the sports that people played in the videos and their interpretations about the significance of playing the traditional sports: memorize the ancestor and help the tone of the body in the winter. Through ethnographic study, I am able to get a better understanding of what is the concept of their culture and avoiding using my culture to judge them.

Within the whole mini-project, I utilized lots of great online resources. For example, I watched lots of Youtube videos about Oroqen, including interviews, musics, travel TV shows. Also, news is very important in the research. CCTV shot lots of news about different cultures in China to promote people learn about others in the country. I remember there are news about traditional sports and handicrafts. Besides, photographs, travelers’ journals, and other anthropologies’ researches are great resources as well. They helped me get a more specific sense of the environment that they live, and surprising traditions that we don’t know about.


Secrets of Oroqen

Picture 1: Oroqen people are reindeer riders who lives in the North China. Some of them live in cold Heilongjiang Province which infectious diseases are very easy to spread out.

Photo take by: March 19 2011

Copyright: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Attribution: Meditation

Topic: Environmental conditions



Picture 2: The last shaman named Chuonnasuan (1927-2000). Oroqen shamanism is now extinct.

Photo Taken on: 1994 July

Copyright: Wiki Creative Commons. This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Richard Noll at English Wikipedia. This applies worldwide.

Topic: Tradition



Picture 3: A reunioned Oroqen family were wearing traditional clothes celebrating their Spring Festival.

Photo Taken on: Feb. 21st 2009

Copyright: CC BY-SA 2.0

Topic: Contemporary


Meditation. (2011, March 19). Nuomin River Farm Team 5, 2011 [Photograph]. Retrieved  from诺敏河农场5队_-_panoramio.jpg

Chen, H. (2009, September 28). Ethnic Oroqen [Photograph]. Retrieved from

Noll, R. (2007, September 1). A Photo of Chuonnasuan, the Last Shaman of the Oroqen People, 2007 [Photograph]. Retrieved from,_the_last_shaman_of_the_Oroqen,_in_July_1994_(Photo_by_Richard_Noll).jpg

The Memory of a Lively Oroqen

As one of the 55 minorities in China, Oreqen located in inner Mongolia and Helongjiang Province. The followings are videos related to their traditions.

Title: Heihe in Heilongjiang 2 (Part 2 of 3): homes of the Oroqen tribes and horseback hunting

Data Published: July 20,2014


This episode of Travelogue explores the unique culture of Oroqen tribes. The presenter Marc Edwards interviewed people in Oroqen about their traditional clothes, hats and joined a horseback hunting expedition.

Authority: Travelogue CGTN


Travelogue is an adventure tourism television series produced by China Central Television. Each episode features a host who travels with a camera crew to a new destination in China or around the globe and experiences the sights, sounds, and culture that the location has to offer.
The show often takes the viewers beyond popular tourist destinations in order to give a more authentic and in depth look at local culture. Presenters often participate in the local and traditional culture wherever they go. They address the viewer directly, acting as tourists-turned-tour guides, but are also filmed interacting with locals and discovering interesting locations in (mostly) unrehearsed sequences.

Purpose: News

Copyright: I claim no rights to this video. © CCTV NEWS, all rights reserved.

Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.


Video Here

Title: Ethic Oroqen keeps traditional crafts alive

Data Published: June 22th 2013

Description: The Oroqen people have been using birch bark which is a endangered handicraft to make everything in their life. It can use to make boats, containers, and even home. But the daily use crafts are fading into history right now.

Authority: CCTV

Credibility: China Central Television (formerly Beijing Television), commonly abbreviated as CCTV, is the predominant state television broadcaster in the People’s Republic of China. CCTV has a network of 50 channels broadcasting different programmes and is accessible to more than one billion viewers. As of present, there are 50 television channels, and the broadcaster provides programming in six different languages. Most of its programmes are a mixture of news, documentary, social education, comedy, entertainment, and drama, the majority of which consists of Chinese soap operas and entertainment.

Purpose: News

Copyright: © 2014 China Central Television. All Rights Reserved

Last Reindeer Herder in China – Oroqen and Their Health Issues


The Oroqens, with a population of 8,196, mainly live in the northeast of Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region in Oroqen Autonomous Banner, Zhalantun, Molidawa Banner and Arong Banner and in the Heilongjiang province in Tahe county, Huma county, Xunke county, Jiayin county and Heihe city. They make their homes in the Greater and Lesser Hinggan Mountains, which form the backbone of the Northeast China and the Heilongjiang River Basin.

Its name “Oroqen” is called by the nationality itself. One of my reasons that am interested in this group is because there are two meanings of its name: “the people inhabiting on mountains” and “the people employing reindeer”. I never thought about people in a ethic group can still using shotguns legally in China and become a reindeer herder.

As one of the smallest minorities in China, I haven’t have a lot information about this group and I am very willing to share the information and translated into English because I can’t find any information about the health issues in Oroqen when I google it. I am delighted to be the first one to organize it.

Based on the information on Chinese Website, I have found major health issues that Oroqens have: Tuberculosis (TB), Keshan disease or endemic cardiomyopathy, Kaschin-Beck, Alcohol related disorders and Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD).


The followings are hyperlinks about Oroqen health issues and Medication:

Wiki Keshan disease 

Alcohol Related Disorders (Chinese)

Academic Research Projects on ALL health issues (Chinese)

History and Medication of Oroqen (Chinese)

News about disease prevention on officialT site (Chinese)

Medication (Chinese)



Google Map of Oroqen in China (Very General)

The highlight part on the northeast of China is the inhabit area for Oroqen. It’s very close to both Mongolia and Russia.

General Map of Oroqen in China or Google Map of General Oroqen in China

On this map, you can clearly see that the Oroqens live in between of Heilongjiang Province and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Google Map of “Close up” Oroqen

Daxin’an Mountains is near by the Oroqen.

Local Map from Chinese National Geography (Chinese)

Though it’s a Chinese Map, it’s very easy to understand. As you can see, the green dots are where major inhabit regions of Oroqens and the black dots are cities near by. The orange lines are the boundaries of the provinces. The blue lines are the rivers and on the top right is the Heilong River which is the main source of water to Oroqens.


 If you want to know more about Oroqen:

Cultural China with pictures of aircrafts 

China Organization

Facts and Details (Highly Recommend)

Science Museums of China

China Culture about customs of Oroqen

China Culture about the nationality of Oroqen

Tales From China’s Forest Hunters: Oroqen Folktales (University of Pennsylvania)

Southern Mongolian Human Rights information Center

Language of Oroqen

Public Health and Cultural Survival Issues with Indigenous Resistance

Public Health

According to the Global Health Education Consortium, the basics of public health under a global development are very important. I found some surprising facts in the slide show and I want to share with you.

The impacts are also showing up with the re-emergence of TB. About 20 years ago, the world was on the verge of getting rid of TB. However, with the co-infection with HIV/AIDS, TB is making a remarkable comeback. Over 2 million die from TB every year, and 9 million new cases are seen every year (Slide 16).

In truth, I didn’t recognize Tuberculosis has come back since 2000. It’s surprised that TB has a co-infection with HIV/AIDS, which may be a message to warn us infectious disease would have change to re-emerge as others spread out. TB has appeared for a long period of time and had a decline rate of new cases from 2000. However, as data above, it comes back with 9 million new cases and 2 million death. It’s hard to believe the power of co-infection and it should be taken serious consideration of how to overcome it.

Life expectancy is around 80 in many countries around the world and climbing. Decline in global child mortality from 192 (1950s) to 79 per 1000 live births by 2004 (Slide 21). Fall in life expectancy in Russia since 1990, leading to 1.5 million premature deaths. Life expectancy in Sub-Saharan Africa is lower than 20 years ago; child mortality rates climbing in 15 countries (Slide 22).

It’s hard to imagine that the life expectancy has truly reached to 80 years old and people live much longer with appropriate medical treatment that we didn’t have before.  And children have better chance of surviving which we may have to give the credit to vaccines. In contrast, there are some specific region get a decrease in life expectancy and child mortality. Reasons may various. War, economic, political, and so forth. It’s such a shame that given so equipped and completed medical system, the death rate is increasing.

A number of things may contribute to poor health than disease and poor health care. A few of the examples include poverty, nutrition, education, water and sanitation. However, other considerations may include inequality, war, bad government, trade and globalization. A number of things may determine good or poor health and it requires significant thought to determine what to prioritize first in trying to improve the health of a population (Slide 23).

According to the report, determinants of health concludes poverty, nutrition, education, water and sanitation. What shocked me is the interrelationship between the factors. As it discussed in slides, poverty is the significant definitive factor among them and it causes the other three others to happen. I didn’t think about that they do have relationships and if we can solve the problems on the most determined one, others will become easier to deal with. It’s hard to believe that health care is not the priority to those countries and there are bad government even don’t deal with that. Inequality and bad government are in the considerations!

Health Issues


Publication Date: March 2017

This issue happens around the East African countries. There are many projects go on in to expanse of oil and gas pipelines. However, these large-scale projects draw some negative impacts on environment. Take The Lamu Port Project as a example. This intended to provide transportation of logistics and oil transport among Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. There is one crucial area called Lamu County in Kenya are home to thousands of people. They have been inhabited here for centuries but are now pushing off their homelands without any benefits. Besides, it also threats the Tana River. Another example on contamination is that there is a construction of a megadam in Laikipia along the Ewuaso Ngiro River. As the only sources of the water for this region,  it has turned into a smelly black sludge, and found that the levels of suspended Biochemical Oxygen Demand are above the National Environmental Management standards. There even are some death of several livestock in the river. People have no fresh water to drink and children has drown in industrial wastewater without protection.


Publication Date: March 20, 2016

This is a letter from the members of the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America (SALSA) to Brazil President Dilma Rousseff in 2016. They addressed different threats to indigenous peoples in Brazil. One of them is Preventable and treatable diseases which is related to public health issues. Particularly, Xavante people suffered high infant mortality, and nearly 30% of the population suffered a diabetes epidemic. It resulted of diet transformations as well as the bad lifestyle account for environmental destruction and state policies.


Publication Date: February 11, 2005

Since lack of agricultural production,  high levels of malnutrition happened to Guarani-Kaiowá in Matto Grosso, Brazil. There were 11,000 people live on only 3.5 thousand hectares of land. Over 15 indigenous people died for malnutrition in 2004, and two children had already died in the beginning of 2005. Therefore, the Ministry of Social Development (MDS) began delivering thousands of food baskets containing milk, oil, rice, beans, sugar, and coffee to people live in Matto Grosso in next six months. And they hope to reform the land agriculture with other agencies as soon as they can.


It is a hard for me to write this blog post, but I am very delighted that I finish it. There are some challenges through the whole assignment.

  1. There are lots of unfamiliar words according to the disease lists. I have to look up every new words in dictionary to make sure I understand what kind of disease is that, what’s the way of getting the disease and how the data reflects about this disease.
  2. With large amount of information on the website, you have to have a eagle’s eye to identify the useful information and paraphrase it into your own words. Sometimes, you find a good topic that you wanted to write about, but it lacks of information that you need to complete the assignment. I think it practices the skills of filtering and addressing information.

But I appreciated my successes as well.

  1. I have experienced on learning the information from graphs on the slides. It is really helpful understanding the topics and is crucial to explain the data. I found that there are more knowledges I can gain from the graph by looking at title, color, remarks etc.
  2. It’s very useful if you can find key words to look up in the search engine. And I also use F3 on the website to search for a specific word. It did save time and located the information that I want.