Evenk (Tungus) – The term shaman derives from the Tungus language group, the largest of the northern group of the Manchu-Tungus languages, and the nomadic reindeer herding Evenk (formerly known as the Tungus) comprise the largest indigenous Siberian Tungusspeaking group. The Evenk territory is huge, covering about a million square miles of the taiga in Northern Siberia, from the River Ob in the west to the Okhotsk Sea in the east, and from the Arctic Ocean in the north to Manchuria and Sakhalin in the south. One of the earliest encounters with Evenki shamanism is recorded as Nicolas Witsen’s illustration (a wood-cut from his Noord en Oost Tartarye, 1705) labeled “Priest of the Devil.” Since then, the Evenk have been the subject of many anthropological studies, the most recent being Piers Vitebsky’s The Reindeer People: Living with Animals and Spirits in Siberia (2005).


Historical Dictionary of Shamanism by Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis 2007


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