During the Ėven summer festival (Topolinoe)

Traditional Ėven dress (Topolinoe)

Traditionally, Ėvens are nomadic hunters and reindeer pastoralists. Reindeer, both domesticated and wild, play an important role in their culture and ethnic self-identification. Reindeer herding, however, has become highly endangered throughout the Russian North, which has had extremely negative effects on the Ėvens’ self-perception and social relations. While reindeer are still widely used as means of transport in Sebjan-Küöl and Topolinoe, both harnessed to sleds and as saddle and pack animals, in Kamchatka reindeer have been largely replaced by horses.

Moving to a new reindeer herding camp (Central Kamchatka)

Harnessed reindeer
Harnessed reindeer (Sebjan Küöl)

Reindeer caravan
Reindeer caravan in Topolinoe region

In Central Kamchatka, reindeer herding does not provide a means of living for most Ėven families any longer, but salmon fishing in forest fishing camps has become an important field of subsistence. Both the methods and fishing terminology were borrowed from the Itelmen.

Fishing camp
Fishing camp (Kamchatka)

Preserving salmon by smoking and drying (Kamchatka)

Xristina Michailovna Zakharova with traditional head decoration (Topolinoe)