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