I have recently returned from a trip to northeastern China where I participated in the 5th World Reindeer Herders’ Congress, a unique cultural and professional event that brings together representatives of reindeer herding peoples from around the circumpolar region. The Congress takes place every 4 years and is organized by the Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH) in cooperation with the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry.
This years’ congress was hosted by the Ewenki people of Aoluguya. The Aoluguya Ewenki are a small minority population in China, currently numbering bout 240 with approximately 60 reindeer herding families. The village of Aoluguya was relocated in 2003 by the regional government from its traditional location in the Greater Kiggan Mountains to its current location just outside of Genhe City in the Hulunbeier district of Inner Mongolia, China.
Some highlights of the event included the drafting of the Aoluguya Declaration, a dialogue between reindeer herding youth, a lasso competition, the election of a new WRH Council President and a massive flood event that cut off road transportation into and out of the area. Over the next few days I will be posting images of the event and comments on my experiences there. Please let me know what you think. All comments are welcome!