former autonomous okrug (district), Krasnoyarsk kray (territory) in north-central Russia, on the Central Siberian Plateau. In 2007 it merged with Taymyr autonomous district and Krasnoyarsk; the latter remained the name of the territory. In the northwestern part of Evenk, the Putoran Mountains rise to 5,581 feet (1,701 metres) in Mount Kamen. Apart from higher areas with tundra vegetation, the area is covered by coniferous forest of larch. Permafrost underlies the poor soils. The climate is severe, with long, cold winters. This huge area, which is larger than the U.S. state of Texas, has only a handful of villages and one urban settlement, Tura. The area is inhabited primarily by Russians but also by Evenk, who live by reindeer herding, hunting, and fishing. Usually only the herders move with the reindeer, the bulk of the population having been settled. The timber resources and mineral deposits are scarcely exploited. Travel is by river in summer and by trails and by air in winter. Area 296,400 square miles (767,600 square km). Pop. (2005 est.) 17,400.▪ peoplethe most numerous and widely scattered of the many small nationalities of northern Siberia (Asian Russia).The Evenk numbered about 70,000 in the early 21st century. A few thousand live in Mongolia, and the remainder are almost equally divided between Russia and China. They are separable into two distinct cultures: hunters and reindeer breeders are scattered in the vast area of the taiga (boreal forest) from the Ob-Irtysh watershed eastward to the Sea of Okhotsk coast and Sakhalin, and from the Amur River basin in the south northward to the Arctic Ocean; horse and cattle pastoralists or sedentary farmers reside in Transbaikalia and northeastern China and Mongolia. Many of the Evenk are bilingual, and the Evenk language is not the native language of more than half of the ethnic Evenk.The Evenk traditionally were organized in clans tracing their descent along paternal lines. The members of a clan had a communal fire and invoked common ancestor spirits in their prayers. Each clan was led by an assembly of elders, including the clan shaman (shamanism) (whose duties included healing the sick, traveling in the spirit world, and prophesying). Notably, the word shaman is itself an Evenk word.After the Russian Revolution the Russian Evenk were organized into collective farms, and in 1930 the Evenk national (now autonomous) okrug (district) was created. Most nomadic Evenk were settled, and their subsistence economy was supplemented by such activities as fur farming, agriculture, and industrial and government occupations.
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