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|Regions with significant populations|
| Russia: 19,071 (2002)
Ukraine: 104 (2001)
|Related ethnic groups|
other Tungusic peoples
The Evens or Eveny (formerly known as the Lamuts a term meaning "ocean people" in Even) (Эвены in Russian) are a people in Siberia and the Russian Far East. They live in some of the regions of the Magadan Oblast and Kamchatka Krai and northern parts of Sakha east of the Lena River. According to the 2002 census, there were 19,071 Evens in Russia. They speak their own Even language, one of the Tungusic languages. The Evens are close to the Evenks by their origins and culture. Officially, they were considered to be of Orthodox faith since the 19th century, but the Evens managed to preserve different forms of non-Christian beliefs, such as shamanism and the like. Traditional Even life is centred upon nomadic pastoralism, of domesticated reindeer, supplemented with hunting, fishing and animal-trapping. There were 104 Evens in Ukraine, 19 of whom speaking Even. (Ukr. Cen. 2001)
The ancestor of the Evens were believed to have migrated from the Transbaikal area to the coastal areas of eastern Siberia. The Ewen herders also rode their reindeer and used dogs for sledge animals. The economy was supplemented by winter hunts to obtain wild game. Hunters sometimes rode reindeer, sometimes moved along on wooden skis.
The traditional lodgings of the Evens were conical tents which were covered with animal skins. In the southern coastal areas, fish skins were used. Settled Evens used a type of earth and log dugout. Sheds were erected near the dwellings in order to house stocks of frozen fish and meat.
The Soviet years marked significant changes for the Evens. The Soviets created a written language for them and did away with illiteracy among the Evens in the 1930s. Many nomadic Evens chose to settle down, joined the kolkhozes and engaged themselves in cattle-breeding and agriculture.
However, the journalist David Remnick mentions in his book Lenin's Tomb that the forcible settlement of the Even, who are essentially nomadic "pastoralists", into towns and villages during the Stalinist era created significant social and psychological problems among them, particularly alcoholism and substance abuse. He also mentions that children of the Evens were taken away from their families to be educated in state schools, mainly with the goal of suppressing the Even language and culture.
- James Forsyth, "A History of the Peoples of Siberia",1992
- Vitebsky, Piers (2005). Reindeer People: Living with Animals and Spirits in Siberia. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-713362-6.
- The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire: The Evens
- Aboriginal Peoples of the Russian North: Links to On-Line Resources
- Notes on the Evens and Evenks